Normally I would brazenly say …. Bring it on. Forget Tavaris Jackson, I want the Pats to face the gimp. The same gimp who has thrown 10 interceptions this season and the one who probably should have been benched for “cause” this week.
Healthy or not, Brett Favre has been “Delhomish” in 2010. Actually, according to the guys at Football Outsiders, he’s been worse than Jake Delhomme and that is about as excoriating an indictment as you will find. Just how bad has Favre been? Well, according to FO math, which takes much more into account than “passer rating,” Favre is 39th out of 41 in one major category and 38th out of 41 in another. In case you’re curious, the two names below Favre are Max Hall and Jimmy Claussen.
So based on the numbers, why wouldn’t you want to face Favre? Forget the ankle. Based on performance alone, the book says you should pick the easy mark over the unknown quantity that is Tavaris Jackson. Throw in the fact that the league’s turnover machine is walking around on a flat tire and the decision seems like a layup.
Not so fast.
Here is why I am a bit leery of facing Favre. Call me paranoid, but the following storyline haunts me: “Favre MIRACULOUSLY overcomes amputated foot and resuscitates Vikings moribund season.” And only slightly less threatening is this possibility: “Moss Haunts Former Team on Halloween Night.” If I hear Peter King paraphrase either tonight, I might not be so jovial when the “trick or treaters” come knocking.
I know the numbers say “don’t worry.” But my gut tells me that the Pats defense provides Favre with the opportunity that he desperately seeks. And that is the chance to once again be serenaded as the heroic warrior that can’t be felled. This is what Favre lives for. That giant ego needs fuel and what better way to gas up then to lay a three TD game on the Pats with a broken ankle?
And let’s be honest. Despite winning three straight, the Pats defense, particularly its pass defense, is not exactly impenetrable. Sure, there have been some signs of improvement. But they still play awfully conservatively and they still are susceptible to being gouged. That Favre will be immobile will help. In fact, it might help a lot. But they still have to deal with Adrian Peterson. Moss is no picnic. And both Percy Harvin and the tight end could cause havoc. So while it’s comforting that Favre will be the one throwing, I am not exactly brimming with confidence. And if this is the week that Favre doesn’t decide to throw three “funballs,” the Pats may find themselves in a tricky spot.
Favre aside, I also don’t have a ton of confidence in the New England offense right now. Mind you, we are just a week removed from a first half where the Pats were pitiful with the ball. Granted, the Pats have played some pretty good defenses of late and Minny should be a step down, but until I see Brady & Co. get into a better rhythm, it is hard to get too ambitious with the predictions.
So is this a loss? Well, the Pats are playing at home and they almost never lose at home (Twelve straight wins). And they are playing the NFC, which is about as automatic as the NFL gets. In fact, outside of last year’s loss to the Saints, I don’t think the Pats have lost to an NFC team, outside of the Super Bowl, since September 18th, 2005. That makes them 18-1 in their last 19 against the lesser conference. So does it make any sense that a gimpy Brett Favre is going to confound these metrics?
Not really but I am still worried about that “Favre is King” storyline. As much as I would like to wake up tomorrow and hear Mike & Mike lament the Fall of Favre, I am worried I will get the nauseating opposite. Worse yet, the thought of Peter King fellating Favre tonight will weigh on me on all afternoon. Call me needlessly squeamish, but this afternoon feels like more trick than treat.