Certainly no shortage of storylines heading into this rather large Monday Night affair, huh? Consider the following:
1. Brett Favre returns to face his former Jets team for the first time. Under normal circumstances this would be fairly noteworthy, given how badly Favre’s tenure in New York ended. But there are special, um, “circumstances” now — in case you haven’t heard, Favre has blown up the internet with a scandal involving ex-Jets sideline reporter Jenn Sterger and some (allegedly) inappropriate conduct. We won’t link you to any of it, but feel free to use the Google machine (or just check out Deadspin.com).
2. Jets WR Santonio Holmes will make his New York debut on Monday night. Holmes, who had been serving a four-game suspension for breaking the NFL’s drug policy, is a huge bonus for the Jets offense — he developed an immediate chemistry with QB Mark Sanchez in the preseason, leading all New York receivers in receptions and yards. It could be argued that Holmes will be the missing part that puts the Jets over the top — with Sanchez doing a wonderful job of sharing the ball amongst his receiving targets (Braylon Edwards, Dustin Keller, Jerricho Cotchery and LaDainian Tomlinson all have 11 catches or more), Holmes’ big-play ability could make the Jets very tough to stop on offense.
3. It sounds as though the New York defense will get a major boost with the returns of LB Calvin Pace and CB Darrelle Revis. Pace is widely regarded as the Jets’ best pass-rusher while Revis’ contributions need no real introduction — “Revis Island” is well-known amongst all NFL WRs, as it’s the place where Revis (arguably the best cover man in football) puts a blanket on his opponent for 60 minutes.
4. Finally, the biggest story of ’em all — Randy Moss returns to the Vikings. After a stunning midweek trade that saw the New England Patriots ship Moss back to the team that originally drafted him, the talk surrounding this game has focused on how revitalized Moss will be with Favre throwing him the football. It was just a few years ago that Favre, then with the Packers, famously lobbied for Green Bay to trade for Moss (who ultimately was shipped to New England). He’s always wanted an athletic, physically-imposing WR to gel with his “I’ll throw it up, you go get it” passing mentality and in Moss, Favre may have found his man.
As for the betting perspective: Because of the enormity of the Moss deal (and the fact it happened mid-week), the line for this game has been all over the place in recent days. Right now, the Jets are -4.0 at home for Monday night, but be sure to pay attention as that line could change again given all the variables for this contest. (For example: Revis and Pace are expected to play, but neither have been given a definitive green light).
XLIII: Gabriel Morency previews the weekend’s sporting action