The return of Brett Favre to the Minnesota Vikings affects more teams then just the Minnesota Vikings. His presence alone changes a division, a conference and potentially a Super Bowl champion.
I'm sure there are many teams and fans that were hoping the ageless one would retire for good this time (Green Bay Packer fans and players) for several reasons, including the threat his presence poses to the other elite teams of the NFL.
The following is a list of teams that are most affected by the return of Brett Favre to the Minnesota Vikings.
The last time Dallas played in Minnesota, they left with their tails between their legs after suffering an embarrassing 34-3 defeat at the hands of Brett Favre and the Minnesota Vikings. In 2010, the Dallas Cowboys once again have Super Bowl aspirations but in order for that goal to be fulfilled, the Cowboys will first need to face the team in week 6 that dismantled them in the 2009 playoffs. Dallas is out for revenge on Brett Favre and the Vikings after that late garbage time touchdown that Favre threw and I honestly believe that they were hoping for a Brett Favre return so that they can try to get that bitter taste out of their mouths.
The problem is that a Tavaris Jackson led Vikings team is much easier for the Cowboys to handle then a Brett Favre led Vikings team. Favre in the 2009 playoffs scorched the Dallas defense for 234 yards and 4 touchdowns. Favre has never lost to the Cowboys outside of Dallas and in 2010, the Cowboys must attempt to do just that: beat Brett Favre away from Cowboys Stadium.
The Cowboys are ranked 5th on this list because a loss to the Vikings wouldn’t cripple their playoff hopes as much as the other teams on the list. Dallas could very easily be 4-0 going into this match-up and they get the Giants and Jaguars following this week 6 match-up so things shouldn’t crumble with a loss here. Even though this win might not be a must win in the standing, it is a must win if the Cowboys are going to get over the embarrassment of 2009.
Both the Jets and the Patriots have to play the Vikings in 2010 and both get the Vikings at their home stadiums, but the Patriots are the team that is more adversely affected by Brett Favre’s arrival because of the fact that they play a much more difficult schedule then the Jets (#6 compared to #16) and could have used some relief in the form of Tavaris Jackson starting for the Vikings.
New England is in for a battle with the Jets to maintain supremacy in the AFC East and a loss to the Vikings in week 8 could be the beginning of the end for this proud franchise. Prior to the Vikings game, the Patriots must face the Baltimore Ravens and San Diego Chargers then after the Vikings, the Patriots get the Pittsburgh Steelers and Indianapolis Colts in 2 of the next 3 weeks. That leaves the potential for 5 losses in a 6 game stretch which could end all hope for the Patriots to claim the AFC East title. Without Favre, the Patriots would have felt a lot more comfortable sandwiching the Vikings and Browns games with the Ravens, Chargers, Steelers and Colts games. As it stands, the entire road could be disastrous.
The Giants have a serious chip on their shoulders after last year’s poor 8-8 showing. Going from a Super Bowl victory in 2007, to a 12-4 regular season record in 2008, to an 8-8 regular season record in 2009. This put the G-Men in rebuilding mode. Through the draft and free agency, did they ever rebuild adding Keith Bulluck, Antrell Rolle, Jason Pierre-Paul, Lindval Joseph and getting back a healthy Kenny Phillips, Chris Canty, Justin Tuck and Aaron Ross.
Going into 2010, the Giants face the 7th hardest schedule in the NFL and the subtraction of Brett Favre from the Vikings could have really helped ease some of the stress of their very difficult schedule. Instead, the Giants must try to defeat a Brett Favre led Minnesota Vikings team that beat them by a score of 44-7 to end their 2009 season.
In 2010, the Giants must take on the Vikings in week 13, in the midst of what could be a playoff push for both teams. Add to is that the Giants must play the Eagles and Packers the two weeks prior to the Vikings and this game becomes extremely important if the Giants want to stand any chance of improving on their 8-8 2009 campaign.
There are several reasons why Brett Favre’s presence in the NFC North affects the Packers more then any other team:
First off, home field advantage is probably more important to the Packers then any other team in the NFC when it comes to the playoffs because of the obvious advantage that the Packers possess by playing outdoors in the frozen tundra. In order to attain home field advantage throughout the NFC playoffs, the Packers must first beat out the Minnesota Vikings who beat them twice in 2009. With Favre back at the helm instead of Tavaris Jackson, that task just got a whole lot more difficult.
The second reason and probably the most obvious disadvantage over the rest of the teams on this list is that Green Bay must play Brett Favre and the Vikings twice during and regular season compared to only once for the rest of the teams on this list. Now, this might not seem like a huge deal being that the Packers have a good chance of at least splitting the season series with the Vikings but there are other factors at play, most notably, the risk of injury that comes with playing against the Vikings fierce defensive line. Aaron Rodgers was sacked an amazing 14 times in 2 games versus the Vikings in 2009. The more Rodgers gets hit, the more likely he won’t get up and if 2010 is anything like 2009, the chances of injury to the Packers most important offensive weapon is never higher then when he plays the Vikings.
Lastly, the return of Favre means that the Packers actually have to compete for the NFC North title and a playoff spot. I know that sounds a little harsh to the Lions and Bears but let’s be realistic, without Favre on the Vikings, the Packers might as well punch their tickets to the postseason right now. With Favre, however, the Packers are going to be in a year long fight just to make the playoffs. Can the Pack still be an 11-5 team again even with Favre in the fold? They sure can but they can also drop to 10-6 or 9-7 and miss out of the playoffs. Teams like the Giants, Eagles, Panthers, Falcons and 49ers may have something to say about Green Bay entering the playoffs this year and the only guarantee for Green Bay to get in to the playoffs is to win the NFC North which just got more difficult.
Nobody gave the Vikings a chance to win the NFC North without Brett Favre on the team. I mean, let’s be realistic, the fact that the Vikings sent three players to Mississippi to talk Favre into coming back for one more season shows that not even they believe that they can compete with the elite teams in the NFL with Tavaris Jackson at quarterback.
This season was shaping up to be a complete disappointment for all NFC North fans minus Packer fans. Without Brett Favre, the Vikings are a 9-7 team at best and in all honesty, they probably are not even that. I count 7-9 losses without Favre including the Saints, Jets, Cowboys, Packers twice, Patriots, Giants and Eagles. With Favre, I see at least 4 wins in those games and probably 5 or 6.
Also, with Favre returning, the young receivers like Sidney Rice and Percy Harvin can continue to blossom into superstars in the NFL. Prior to the 2009 season, the Sidney Rice’s career receiving stats consisted of 46 catches for 537 yards and 8 touchdowns in two years. In one season with Brett Favre at the helm, Rice went for 83 receptions for 1312 yards and 8 touchdowns. In other words, a receiver that was dangerously close to being labeled a bust with Tavaris Jackson throwing him the ball became a star with Brett Favre firing passes his way.
Rookie receiver Percy Harvin, who’s receiving skills were a question mark coming into the 2009 season, was able to flourish under the Minnesota Vikings offense led by Brett Favre. Harvin caught 60 passes for 790 yards and 6 touchdowns in his rookie campaign. The return of Favre should only increase those stats being that he only started 8 games in 2009.
Lastly, Brett Favre saved Brad Childress’ job in 2009 and with another solid showing in 2010, he should save Childress’ job for a few years to come. That’s what all this desperation is about from Childress. It’s about securing his own job because he knows that without Brett Favre and no quarterback of the future on the roster as of yet, his job could easily go from secure to in doubt with one poor season and no backup plan.