So the Vikes grabbed the Slouch just in time for our Monday night showdown. Undoubtedly they're a better team with him than they would have been otherwise without him. But he will not be what decides this game. The team that wins the trenches will win the match.
So far this season the Vikings offense has been anemic. Favre has been injured and rusty and out of sync with his receivers. Their o-line has allowed 15 hits to their QB in only 3 games. The only thing thats kept them competitive so far has been the play of their all-world running back, Adrian Peterson. Even the blocking for him has been suspect at times. He didn't exactly tear up the Saints, gaining about 85 yards on 21 carries. He controlled the game against the Dolphins with a 28 carry, 145 yard effort. But he broke a bunch of runs in that game that mere mortals would simply be unable to do. Poor tackling no doubt played its part, but Peterson made some runs that were nothing short of spectacular in that game. Its hard to rely on the spectacular on a regular basis, especially when facing a good run defense. And although AP was able to scamper for 160 on 23 carries against Detroit, those stats are somewhat deceiving in that 80 yards came on one long, spectacular run. Detroit actually had him under control for most of that game. Aside from that 80 yarder, he rushed 22 times for 80 yards, a paltry 3.6 yards per carry.
The Jets currently have one of the best run defenses in the league, allowing only 75 yards per game and 3.2 yards per carry. We have a good chance to control the line of scrimmage and keeping Peterson under control, provided he doesn't break off a spectacular long run. We have to swarm him and punish him and strip him. Pouha and DeVito have to keep up their dominant interior D-line play and keep AP's running lanes limited. If we can get to him before he gets going, we'll be in good shape. Its also worth noting that AP, a notorious fumbler, has yet to put one on the ground this year. Seems like he's due.
If our D-line holds up, and we keep AP under control, Moss will make very little difference. We've handled him many times before while he was playing with an offense every bit as potent as the current Vikings. We know how to take him out of the game while dealing with other weapons. And Brady is a much more threatening QB than Favre. If we can put the Vikes in 3rd and long on a regular basis, their O-line just isn't good enough to keep our blitzes from getting to Favre. But the key is undoubtedly controlling the trenches and limiting AP.
On offense, we have to control the Vikes defensive front 4. If they can control our running game and get hits on Sanchez, it'll be tough to score against their stingy D. We have to stay dedicatedto the run game no matter how tough it may be early on, and it will be tough. But if we can wear them down and get our running game going, they will part like the Red Sea. It may be best to complete some quick passes early to keep their D-line off balance and get Sanchez into rhythm. They're not known for having a strong secondary, and it should be exploited if it can be, but we shouldn't abandon the run if it doesn't get cranking initially. But if our o-line can control their d-line right off the bat, we're going to score a bunch of points.
No doubt Favre and Moss will be ready to play on prime time. But it will be the line play that will determine the winner in this one.