So here I find myself again (albeit much earlier in the season than last year) in disbelief over the instant crowning of the Minnesota Vikings as not only NFC North champs, but tops of the entire conference. It's a forgone conclusion, right? I mean, we all know Favre is coming...and we remember what heights he brought the Jets to last year when everyone was foaming at the mouth to crown them. Seriously?
Now, let me get something straight. This is more about our seemingly uncontrollable urge to declare a team is going here or there. Lately it seems though, Favre is being billed as the Messiah for the Vikings and thus, they have been crowned Rulers of the Galaxy. Some would have you believe that despite all of the other changes they've made, that Favre will be the final part of the puzzle...as if they couldn't improve on last season's results without him.
I know, I know...you'll say, "but the Vikings went to the playoffs last year! They have Adrian Peterson! They have a great defense (including two possibly suspended men with the same last name)!"
And you're right. Although I'm not quite as ready as some to call the Jets team of last year "much shorter on talent" simply based upon the fact that Brett played poorly there last year and we're all excited about this year! Doing that, to me, seems like what everyone is getting caught up in.
Lavernues Coles is a great receiver. I'm not partial, I could care less about the guy, but I had him on my fantasy roster a few years straight and the guy simply produces. Every single game is not a 100+ yard effort with a touchdown or two to accompany...but just because we want 40 points out of a guy in fantasy, let's not lose our perception of what a great receiver is.
I guess you could put Bernard Berrian in the same class as Coles...sure, if you want to fine...it's kinda close.
Thomas Jones and Leon Washington might not quite be Adrian Peterson (who is not God people, he's just really good) and Chester Taylor...ok...I'll give you that one.
The Jets' defense was just not good last year, although they weren't near the bottom by any stretch. Though Minnesota beat the Jets in defensive team stats in a lot of categories, consider this:
The Jets forced the most fumbles last year in the league with 29 (Vikes had 22). They tied for ninth in the league in interceptions with 14 (Minnesota had 12). And their points per game (PPG) allowed was only 1.5 higher than the Vikings.
Sure they allowed more rushing, passing, and total yards per game than Minnesota. They threw a league-high 23 interceptions, 22 of which were thrown by Favre! If the opposition has the ball nearly 1.5 extra possession per game...your defensive stats are going to suffer.
Still they managed to get takeaways...more chances for their offense to right the ship. But Favre "is who we thought he was" (to quote Denny Green) and slung the ball around all over the place, usually to the other team. I know Favre had the injury and I'm sure that greatly contributed. Who's to say he won't get hurt again? I mean, he is an older player who plays with high energy (that while is great to watch, can also put him in a position to get hurt).
Guys, gals...my point here is that the Vikings are not a wildly different team than the Jets talent-wise, so let's dispel that myth. No, I'm not saying they're the same team. Yes I know coaching is different, playbooks are different, but can we stop saying that Minnesota is going to fix Favre...which is what we're really saying if you look closely enough!
Based on Favre's past performance, he will make risky throws no matter what or he just wouldn't play the game anymore! Do you think he wants to come back to play a game management role in a run-dominated offense? What part of his career was that ever his role? What visions are conjured up in your mind when thinking about Brett Favre? Is it calmly handing the ball off and making short dump-off passes? We probably wouldn't love to watch him so much if he didn't play the way he does!
Look, I love to watch the guy play. When things go his way, it's some of the best darn football in the world to see. I hope fate smiles on him this year, but stop trying to justify a Super Bowl bid already, will ya?
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