Favre Highlighs a Season of Surprises

Josh "Jewce" Cohen

It’s three weeks into the NFL season and I am only sure of two things: the Patriots will make a run at Don Shula’s ’72 Dolphins and the battle for the first pick in next year’s draft will be decided between the Bills, who are averaging a meager eight points a game, and the Vick-less Falcons, who may end the season with as many losses as months that Vick will serve in prison (12-16). Other than these two assurances, this season has been a bit of a head-scratcher so far. When I checked the standings last night, it felt more like 1997 than 2007. The Packers are undefeated? The Cowboys and Niners are leading their respective divisions? At least one thing has remained constant: the Browns still suck. With these questions and others in mind, I turn to the four topics that I feel most need to be addressed.

Brett Favre

It was a mere six months ago that critics were questioning Favre’s decision to return to the Packers for the upcoming season. Besides the fact that the Packers had not made the playoffs since 2004, Favre has looked his age in recent years. His completion percentage has decreased each of the last four seasons and his touchdown-to-interception ratio over the past two seasons is less than one. With all that said, Favre is putting up MVP-caliber numbers this season and has led the Packers, a team with a rookie starting running back and an extremely young and inexperienced defense, to a 3-0 start. More impressive than that are the teams that the Packers have beat, along with the numbers that Brett has put up. Green Bay has beaten Philly, the Giants and San Diego, three playoff teams from last year, and they have done so convincingly. As a Giants fan, I was embarrassed watching Favre throw for 286 and three touchdowns as he ran around like a 24-year-old kid two weeks ago. Favre is playing inspired ball, but the Pack will go only as far as his 37-year-old shoulders can carry them. This is a heartwarming story; let’s see how long the fun lasts.

LT & LJ

In the words of my roommate and hero Simon Jarcho, “What happened?” LaDainian Tomlinson and Larry Johnson, two of the biggest stars in the league, combined for over 3,600 rushing yards and 45 touchdowns last year. Fantasy owners drooled at the opportunity to pick either of them in their drafts, yet they’ve both contributed absolute nothing so far this year. The dynamic duo has a combined 270 rushing yards and one touchdown so far this year, fewer than the likes of LaMont Jordan, Travis Henry and Derrick Ward individually! LJ and LT rank 30th and

33rd, respectively, in rushing yards this season and their teams have a combined record of 1-5. These two backs are the focal point of their teams’ offensive approach. Chiefs QB Damon Huard is ineffective while Chargers signal-caller Philip Rivers is leading a stagnant offense that looks lost without the leadership of their future Hall of Fame running back. I’m still figuring out where the issues stem from, but if the Chiefs or Chargers have any dreams of smelling the playoffs, they are going to need better rushing performances from their franchise running backs.

Randy Moss

Remember the Randy Moss that combined for just 102 receptions over the last two seasons? Remember the Moss that openly admitted to dogging it on plays that weren’t designed to come his way? Well, apparently Randy doesn’t remember those days because he has found the Fountain of Youth to give the Patriots receiving corps the deep threat that it sorely lacked. The 10-year vet out of Marshall is providing throwback performances, reminiscent of the days when his absurd catches as a Viking made you wish DVR’s existed. Over the first three games this season, Moss is second in the league in receiving yards with 403, and has five touchdown catches. The previous two seasons he combined for 11. Now that he has a legitimate QB in Tom Brady, and an “if you’re not cheating you’re not trying” coach in Bill Belichick, it would not surprise me if Moss leads the Pats to another ring.

America’s Team

The Cowboys are damn good. It hurts me so much to type that sentence, but it is impossible to hide from the facts any longer. Tony Romo is third in the NFL in QB rating, passing touchdowns and passing yards. Julius Jones and Marion Barber represent one of the best 1-2 running back combinations in the game and T.O is being vintage T.O. The Cowboys have scored 116 points in three games, 38.6 per game for those mathematically challenged, and we haven’t even talked about their defense yet! At 3-0 Dallas has already beaten up on the Giants and Bears, two of last year’s playoff teams, and they haven’t broken a sweat in either game. This is a painful prediction, but Romo and the ‘Boys are going to be running away with the NFC East if they continue the all-around assault they have displayed so far.

The plotlines will thicken and the drama will intensify as this season continues. Get ready for big-time match-ups this week as teams look to get back into the hunt, and we’re only coming up on Week 4. Thank God it’s football season.