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EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) — Odell Beckham Jr. promises that no matter what cleats he wears against the undefeated Panthers on Sunday, his matchup with cornerback Josh Norman could be one for the books.
It would have been apropos had the Giants wide receiver reprised Monday night's Miami footwear that carried the image of The Joker as a counter to Norman's "Batman" nickname.
But Beckham said Thursday he wanted nothing to do with playing the name game against Carolina (13-0).
"I don't need no Batman or anything else," said Beckham, who wears a pair of specially designed cleats every game, thus leaving him with an interesting collection at career's end. "I'll be able to look back and remember special moments, like when did I wear these? It's a lot of fun."
Sunday's choice could potentially stick out from the others, especially if the current receiving leader in Pro Bowl voting has a big game against the Panthers' shutdown cornerback.
Norman has four interceptions this year, two of which he has returned for touchdowns. But just as impressive is the way he has neutralized some of the top receivers in the league.
"He does a great job just attacking the ball and making it difficult," Beckham said. "It should be a very interesting game."
Houston's DeAndre Hopkins, Dallas' Dez Bryant, and Atlanta's Julio Jones have 215 catches among them for 2,969 yards and 19 touchdowns. Against Norman, however, they have a mere seven receptions for 63 yards and no touchdowns.
It amounts to a matchup of Beckham's speed against Norman's smarts and aggressiveness.
"Josh is a heck of a player in his own right," Carolina tight end Greg Olsen said. "He doesn't back down from anybody."
Nor will the Giants (6-7) as they try to stay in the NFC East lead, according to offensive coordinator Ben McAdoo.
"We're going to play our game," McAdoo said. "We're not going to shy away from anybody. We're not going to back down from any challenges."
They may move Beckham around to get a more favorable individual matchup, however. Although Norman generally covers the opponent's best receiver, he has not ventured into the slot this year. Beckham, whose latest effort included seven catches for 166 yards and two touchdowns — he also took three intravenous infusions to stave off a combination of dehydration and illness — often lines up there.
Beckham leads the league with 12 receiving touchdowns. He has six straight 100-plus-yard receiving games.
He has also drawn breathless comparisons to Jerry Rice from none other than Panthers coach Ron Rivera.
Still, Rivera was not ready to favor Beckham in the one-on-one battle.
"It's going to be a marqee matchup," Rivera said. "This is one of those matchups you hope to see, and I think it's going to be a good one for this game."
However it goes, the receiver won't be filling The Joker's cleats when he faces down Batman.
The new game plan calls for something different, on the field as well as on Beckham's feet.
NOTES: Defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo warned that the slew of missed tackles against Miami will haunt the Giants if not remedied immediately. "That was a little disappointing," Spagnuolo said. "When you're grinding away trying to get to the playoffs, if your team's not tackling well, your chances go way down.". DE Owa Odighizuwa practiced for the first time since going on short-term injured reserve on Nov. 5 with foot and hamstring injuries. The rookie pass rusher took work with the scout team and said he moved well. Though Odighizuwa won't be eligible for reactivation until the regular-season finale against Philadelphia on Jan. 3, he said he felt he could play immediately. "I'd definitely be able to play and participate and contribute in some way," he said. "I'm happy about that. Today was probably the best my foot's felt all year.".WR-KR Dwayne Harris missed practice with a sore shoulder.
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