Moss' return to Minnesota stole the thunder right away from the Major League Baseball playoffs, and has this week's Monday night game between the Jets and Vikings looking a lot more like a must-see. One thing we can expect is a re-energized Brett Favre, who you've got to figure will be at his primetime best with his new deep threat. And, oh yeah, the Jets will have their hands full with Adrian Peterson, as well.
Offensively, the battle on the field will be just as intriguing, as Mark Sanchez will have to navigate a talented Minnesota defense and elude one of the league's elite pass rushers in Jared Allen if he wants to continue what has been a solid four-week stretch. Sanchez still hasn't thrown a pick this year, and is showing that he can, indeed, be a franchise quarterback
The same improvement has been evident in the Jets' running backs. LaDanian Tomlinson has to be considered one of the feel-good stories of the season, and his resurgence has probably exceeded what New York expected when they acquired the former Charger during the offseason. Shonn Greene seems to be coming along, too, and the Jet backfield looks to finally be ready to validate the decision to release Thomas Jones and trade Leon Washington.
Minnesota isn't the only team getting a boost at wide receiver this weekend. Santonio Holmes will make his long-awaited debut for the Jets, and the Super Bowl XLIII MVP will most certainly make an already talented group even deeper. Sanchez won't be at a shortage of targets to throw to with Holmes, Braylon Edwards, Jerricho Cotchery and Dustin Keller stretching the field.
Three Keys to a Jets Win
1. Be LT Give Tomlinson the ball while he's hot. Clearly, he is back to his old, playmaking self, and there's no reason to cut him off while he's playing this well. Put the ball in Greene's hands, too, but LT needs to be the go-to guy.
2. Stretch the field
Holmes, Edwards and Cotchery shouldn't have too much trouble keeping Minnesota honest. If they can run deep routes effectively and keep the Vikes' secondary on its heels, LT can be a huge factor in the passing game, as well.
3. Don't let the Moss grow on Revis Island
At the end of the day, this may be the matchup that decides this game in a single play. Moss is out to prove something, and Revis is still nursing his hamstring. With all due respect to Revis, this could be a tough evening.
Three Keys to a Vikings Win
1. Stay true to AP
Even though this game will likely turn into an air show at some point, Minnesota's ability to establish the run will be what allows it to take over the game. Peterson is just as much a gamebreaker as anyone in the NFL. The Jets defense is a top five unit. Something's got to give.
2. Keep the pressure on
Pat and Mike Williams, Ray Edwards and Allen are good enough to pressure Sanchez without any help, and that could be monumentally important given the need to pay adequate attention to the Jets' receivers. If these four can have a big week, the Vikes are in great shape.
Favre and Moss might be the prototype combo for a deep passing attack. The quarterback with the canon. The wide out with the long strides, blazing speed and ridiculous reach. If you're the Vikings, why wait to see what this duo can do?
The Jets are playing great football, but Minnesota is desperate and Moss will no doubt provide a spark. This should be a good one in the first half, but I see it getting away from New York in the third, a la Favre to Moss.