Reporting Peter Schwartz
By Peter Schwartz
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The speculation ended with a short tweet that spoke volumes.
“What’s up everyone. News here. I’m playing against our former teammate tomar, going to be a battle!”
The words of Jets cornerback Darrelle Revis on his Twitter account Sunday as he announced that he would return on Monday night against Brett Favre and the Vikings.
Revis has been out since suffering a strained left hamstring in week two against the Patriots. He left the game that day after giving up a touchdown pass to then Patriots receiver Randy Moss just before halftime.
Moss is now a Viking after being dealt last week so the rematch between Revis and the controversial wide receiver will take place a lot earlier than expected.
“It was weird but cool for them,” said Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez after hearing about the Moss trade.
“We’ll sick Revis on him again,” joked Sanchez.
Week five in the NFL comes to an end with a marquee match-up for the entire nation to see.
For the Jets, it’s another opportunity to show the football world what they are all about.
“This is going to be a huge challenge for us,” said head coach Rex Ryan. “It’s a great test because there are no weaknesses with this team. None whatsoever. I say it’s a championship caliber game. There’s no easy opponent, (especially) when you’re facing that kind of team.”
Among the many other storylines surrounding this game will be the return of Brett Favre to the Meadowlands. Favre could make history on Monday night. His next touchdown pass will be the 500th of his storied career. The future hall of famer spent the 2008 season with Gang Green but things didn’t end as well as they started. After an 8-3 start, Favre and the Jets faltered down the stretch, finished 9-7, and did not make the playoffs.
What kind of reception will Favre get?
Given the circumstances, probably not a warm one.
“I don’t know,” Favre told reporters last week. “It was one year and I think, I would hope like with any place I’ve played, the people appreciate the effort I’ve given. Trust me, I take a lot of the blame, as a quarterback should. We probably get way to much glory. I did all that I could do and I hope that they appreciate that. That doesn’t mean they have to like me. I know I’m coming in (as) an opponent. From a future standpoint, it worked out well (for) them.”
That’s for sure!
After the late season collapse, head coach Eric Mangini was fired and subsequently replaced by Ryan. Shortly before the draft, the Jets reached out to Favre to see if there would be any interest in returning.
On draft day, however, the Jets traded up with the Browns and selected Sanchez with the fifth overall selection. The Jets then released Favre who came out of retirement to sign with the Vikings.
Despite the results, Favre has fond memories of his time with the Jets.
“It was a great experience,” said Favre. “I wish it would have ended better. The start was amazing, probably more so than anyone could have envisioned. I had a lot of good friends. I played with a lot of good players. It was really just a very good experience for me. Again, I wish it would have ended differently. I think the world of Mike Tannenbaum and Woody (Johnson) for giving me that opportunity. Mike and I are still good friends and talk on occasion. It was a really good experience. My only regret is it didn’t end better.”
Judging by the recent news surrounding Favre, his one season with the Jets turned out incomplete in more ways than one.
So Favre will hear the boos while Sanchez will march out of the tunnel to a thunderous ovation.
The match-up of a second year up and coming signal caller against a legend is an intriguing one. However, “The Sanchize” points out that this is not a one on one confrontation with Favre.
“I feel honored to share the field with him, but I’m not playing against Brett,” said Sanchez. I’m playing against (Jared) Allen, Kevin and Pat (Williams), and all those guys.”
While Favre gets to unwrap his early Christmas present in Moss, his counterpart also gets a new toy to play with on Monday night.
Sanchez has been outstanding this season with eight touchdown passes and no interceptions and has been able to get all of his weapons involved including Dustin Keller, Braylon Edwards, and LaDainian Tomlinson.
On Monday, he’ll have another option as wide receiver Santonio Holmes returns from his four game suspension.
“I can’t even express how I will feel right now, come game day,” said Holmes this past week. “The way the guys are rolling, I just want to come in, fill in, play my part and move on to the next week.”
The Jets offense will certainly have their hands full with a talented Vikings defense that also includes cornerback Antoine Winfield.
“We definitely have to look at their secondary,” said Holmes. It’s going to be something that we, myself, Mark (Sanchez) and Coach Schotty (Brian Schottenheimer), we have to really focus on what we’re going to do against their secondary. I’m not saying me, excluding the other receivers, Jerricho, Braylon and, of course, Dustin Keller, but it’s something that we have to exploit on their defense in order to hrow the ball and move the ball down-the-field. You know how good their front four is.”
No matter how you slice it, this should be a fascinating game to watch.
“I think it’s a really good match-up,” said Keller. Offensively, right now, we’re throwing the ball really well, and obviously, we run it pretty well at the same time. I think their offense is very similar to ours. They can throw it, but they have a great running back at the same time. Both of us have really strong defenses so it’s going to be a nice match-up. It’s going to be a big game, definitely.”
The Jets defense will certainly have their work cut out for themselves with Favre, Moss, and the rest of the Vikings offense. Perhaps the biggest concern for Gang Green defensive coordinator Mike Pettine this week is running back Adrian Peterson.
“AP” is just 124 yards shy of becoming the fifth player in NFL history to reach 5,000 yards in his first fifty career games.
The Jets lead the all-time series against the Vikings 7-1. The Jets have one six straight against Minnesota and are 4-0 against the Vikings at home. The last meeting was on December 17th, 2006 when the Jets beat the Vikings 26-13 at the Metrodome. Chad Pennington threw for 339 yards that day.
This will be the second Monday night meeting between the Jets and Vikings. Back on October 15th, 1979, the Jets knocked off the Vikings 14-7 at Shea Stadium.
READY FOR PRIME TIME
This will be the second of three appearances that the Jets will make this season on Monday Night Football. They opened the campaign with a 10-9 loss to the Ravens and will visit the Patriots on December 6th.
The Jets are 17-24 overall on Monday night in their history, 10-8 at home.
Add in their win in Miami and their Thanksgiving night contest with the Bengals, and the Jets are going to have a minimum of five prime time games this season.
I have a hunch that one or two might be flexed to Sunday night later in the season.
Ok, it’s prediction time! Jets 24 Vikings 17
I’d like to dedicate this blog to the memory of my grandmother Betty Katz who passed away this past Friday at the age of 98. A great-grandmother of twelve, she was a wonderful, caring person who always had a smile on her face. I love her very much and she will be missed.