Is this the mother of all Monday Nighters? It was already the premier matchup of the week and then Randy Moss got thrown into the mix. We thought the best way to sweeten the pot would be to get bloggers from each team to help breakdown the Vikings-Jets game.
New York Jets breakdown
Matt Birch, of the excellent blog Gang Green Nation, knows the Jets like KFC knows fried chicken. Here's what's on his mind entering Monday's kickoff.
Darrelle Revis, Calvin Pace and Santonio Holmes are all expected to play Monday night. Which player’s presence is the most important to the Jets?
While Revis is arguably the cornerstone of the Jets’ defense, I think wideout Santonio Holmes will have the biggest impact of the three on Monday night. Holmes adds a big-play element to an offense I already think is one of the best in the Jets' history. Holmes' presence will help keep defenses honest and open it up for our running game.
Not only that, special teams coach Mike Westhoff has hinted Holmes will return a few punts on Monday. As a rookie in 2006, Holmes averaged 10.2 yards on 20 returns.
The Jets offensive line and Minnesota’s run defense are considered among the best in the league. Mark Sanchez has played three great games since that Week 1 stinker against the Ravens. Do you expect the Jets to rely even more on Sanchez’s arm against the Vikings stout run defense or do you think Brian Schottenheimer will try and pound the ground?
Schotty will return to the ground-and-pound and will run to set up the pass. We will always be a ball control team, looking to control the clock and the tempo of the game.
The Jets operate with more balance offensively this season, which makes it tough for opposing defensive coordinators to defend against. New York is rushing 32.8 times per game while passing 26.2.
Which matchup do you think the Jets have to win to get past Minnesota?
Adrian Peterson vs. Jets’ defensive front.
Peterson is a game-changer. He’s the type of guy that can be the perfect counter to a blitz-heavy, 3-4 defense like the one DC Mike Pettine employs. The Jets must wrap him up early and not allow him to run free in the open field.
If the Jets can keep Peterson at bay and put Minnesota in strictly passing downs, I like their chances. The Jets lead the league in turnover margin at +2.0/game, and if they can put the ‘gunslinger’ in strictly passing downs and keep the pressure on him, it will bode well for them.
Final score prediction: Jets 24, Vikings 17
Minnesota Vikings breakdown
Dan Zinski runs the ship at TheVikingAge.com, the best Viking blog on the web. He gives us the inside scoop on the Purple People Eaters.
We’re sure you’ve been asked a kajillion times already, but tell us how large of a role you think Randy Moss will play in the Vikings’ game plan vs. the Jets?
Minny head coach Brad Childress might want to ease Moss into the offense but I'm certain Brett Favre has other ideas. I think it would be smart to go after Revis early and see how that hammy is feeling. When all is said and done, I still think the game will come down to whether the Jets can slow down Adrian Peterson.
I love how everyone talks about Favre and Moss and keeps forgetting we have, like, the best running back in the league on our team.
Do you like the idea that Moss is still playing for a new deal instead of signing him to an extension after the trade?
From the Vikings' side it was smart, and from Moss's side it was smart. For all we know, Tarvaris Jackson could be the quarterback next year, and if you're Moss, do you really want to sign up for that? I really don't think either side was interested in a long-term thing - it's all about this year for the Vikings, and clearly, Moss is primarily concerned with convincing someone he's worth one last big contract.
And hey, if Moss doesn't want to play here beyond this year, you still have Sidney Rice who presumably will return to full health at some point.
Lost in all the Brett Favre and now Randy Moss talk is how well Minnesota’s defense is playing. Is this year’s unit better than last year’s?
It's hard to say if it's better this year than last because I don't think it's been tested much this year. The Saints look like they're not as explosive and neither the Dolphins or Lions really scare you much on offense.
The secondary is probably a little stronger because Antoine Winfield is back from his foot problem and Husain Abdullah has established himself as a decent safety after the ineffective Jamarca Sanford/Tyrell Johnson shuffle of last year. Also, Kevin Williams is playing out of his mind right now.
But, like I said, I don't think they've faced an offense yet that was really clicking. The Jets should be a better test.
Which matchup do you expect Minnesota to exploit against the Jets?
Jared Allen vs. D'Brickashaw Ferguson could be a major thing, only because I think Jared is getting a little irritated that he hasn't recorded a sack yet. He's also annoyed by the NFL telling him to stop his calf-roping bit.
Final score prediction: Vikings 24, Jets 21