I have kept my composure all day. Didn't lose my confidence that there will be another tally in the "W" column tonight for one minute. In my opinion, the Vikings are simply overmatched. Plain and simple. Before I hop into the analysis, let me leave a little foreward about my method of breaking down football games.
I don't like it when so-called professional analyze games by comparing quarterback to quarterback, running back to running back, etc. Brett Favre and Mark Sanchez aren't lining up across from each other. With that in mind, here's how these squads will match up tonight:
Ground 'N Pound:
The New York Ground 'N Pound offense might hit a roadblock tonight. Minnesota has a fairly tough front seven that has allowed an average of just 87.3 yards a game. Of course, they haven't taken on guys in the backfield like LaDainian Tomlinson or Shonn Greene yet. LaDainian is going old school on the league, as he is looking more and more like the LT of 2007 in each game.
Expect triple digit yards from the run offense, but don't expect them to touch 150 total. With the pass game slowly opening up, the offense is becoming much more balanced. They'll establish the run game early with a lot of LT. Greene will hit them when they're tired late in the game. A few Brad Smith trick plays might see big yardage as well.
Sanchez's New Toy:
In this post, I expected to be saying something along the lines of, "Santonio's timing couldn't be more perfect as the Jets need immense help with a lagging pass offense so far this season". Instead, I'll go with, "An already electric pass offense will be bolstered by the addition of Super Bowl MVP wide receiver Santonio Holmes." Everything sounds better when Sanchez is playing well.
The Jets will throw and they will throw often. (How weird is that?) Sanchez is the ONLYstarting quarterback in the league that has not thrown an interception. Before last week, he was among Michael Vick and Peyton Manning. Vick has not played a full four games, and Peyton got picked off in his last two games. He hasn't fumbled either; a mistake-free four games that included impressive consistency from the sophomore.
Add on the tall, athletic, explosive, yet somewhat clumsy, Braylon Edwards. Toss in Jerricho Cotchery, a "role player" that gets the job done every week. This strong receiving corps has sped up Sanchez's development process. At the same time, Minnesota's secondary isn't something to scoff at. Antoine Winfield, Cedric Griffin, Madieu Williams, and Husain Abdullah make up the unit.
Expect around 200 yards for Sanchez with at least one score. I wouldn't be surprised if he threw his first pick tonight. Then again, I wouldn't be surprised if he didn't. On to the Vikes...
Adrian "All Day" Peterson has been mistake-free through three games, an improvement on his typical abundance of fumbles. Instead of coughing the ball away, he's picking up a lot of yardage and putting points on the board. Back to normal. Unfortunately, he is facing one of the best rush defenses in the league.
Even without Kris Jenkins, they have ate up every running back to come their way so far. Ray Rice, Ben Jarvis Green-Ellis, Ronnie Brown, Ricky Williams, C.J. Spiller, and Fred Jackson. Obviously none of these backs come close to Peterson's talent, but it's a known fact that running backs cry themselves to sleep because of Bart Scott, Shaun Ellis, David Harris, and Sione Pouha.
Expect around 100 yards for Peterson, a possible touchdown score, and a possible fumble. There should be opportunities to strip the ball with Peterson's style and heads-up players like David Harris and Bart Scott will be waiting. A goal line carry would get him that touchdown, with very few big gainers on the ground against Gang Green.
Randy Moss Reunion:
Two big themes in tonight's game lie in the Minnesota's pass offense. Brett Favre is coming back to a stadium that he called home just two seasons ago. On top of that, allegations that Favre sexually harassed three women (allegations that include some pretty graphic images of Favre's alleged you-know-what) have conveniently arisen just in time for the game. An NFL investigation is currently taking place.
Randy Moss was recently traded in case you didn't hear. For the first time in six years, Moss will be lining up for the Minnesota Vikings. A lot of things have changed in Minnesota since he left, including the addition of Favre. The veteran QB is hurting with his personal favorite Sidney Rice down with an injury. Percy Harvin's migraine issues don't help the situation either. Revis Island is back in action too.
The Vikes' receivers will be facing a healthy Darrelle Revis who is returning from a hamstring injury. Antonio Cromartie has filled in well as the starter, so I expect him to thrive when his task is to cover the second best target. Kyle Wilson will probably move to the slot tonight; he should get some opportunities to make big plays if he starts turning his head around when defending a pass. Two talented safeties, Brodney Pool and Jim Leonhard, round out the secondary.
Favre is motivated. And on national television. Not a great combination for the Jets. Expect around 200 yards with two touchdowns and at least one interception from him tonight. He wants this win bad, and he is going to make some Favre-esque risks that may or may not work out in his favor. Most likely the latter.
New York Jets - 24
Minnesota Vikings - 20
It'll be close until the end, but the Jets will lead most of the way in this intense Monday Night Football matchup. This is a don't-miss game!