Luckily for football fans, tonight isn't just another Thursday night. It's a Thursday night with a pretty incredible football game between division rivals with the same record and the same question in their respective heads -- are we really any good?
The Patriots play host to the Jets in a game that will decide who is the better team in the AFC East, and probably who is the better career quarterback. Here are five notes before the big game tonight.
1. It's on NFL Network -- Yep, that means a lot of you won't get it. The biggest problem with the NFL Network coverage is if it was nationwide and readily available it would pretty awesome, with some decent guys in the booth and the studio. The problem is, according to the NFL Network, some networks are handcuffing you from your football coverage! Damn the man! The good news is you can watch the game here, which will only be acceptable if you have the awesome FanHouse chat open in another window. Come on, you know you wanna...
2. Which Favre Will We Get? -- Nope, I'm not talking about Dylan, this is all about Brett Favre. In nine games this season the gunslinger/arm cannon/walking hall of famer/president-elect/cancer curer has tossed the most interceptions in the league (12) but also has the fifth-most touchdowns (16), so basically it's just like every other year. I really don't know if this comparison is valid, but I think Favre might be the Kobe Bryant of the NFL (or vice-versa, whichever you prefer). The point is this: Favre seems to force it more when things aren't going his way even though the rest of his offense is pretty darn talented. Kobe, who has the most talented basketball team since I've been alive, almost looks annoyed when he isn't headlining a win. If Favre can just allow things to happen with this offense instead of forcing them, the Jets will win tonight and probably end up winning the division. The problem is, firing uncatchable passes in holes smaller than my chances with Erin Andrews comes about as naturally to No. 4 as talks of retiring.
3. Meet Your New England Stars -- Last year it was simple. You had Tom Brady throwing touchdown passes to Randy Moss and Wes Welker, with Laurence Maroney picking up the slack at running back. Now, you have Matt Cassel behind center, who never started a game in college, and BenJarvus Green-Ellis making things happen with his legs even though he was undrafted out of Mississippi. Cassel struggled against the Jets in his first NFL start, but has put up some respectable numbers of late and is taking the Kerry Collins approach to quarterbacking: "Do just enough to win, not too much to lose." That has been made easier with the addition of Green-Ellis, who has had a touchdown in each of the four games in the offense and surpassed 100 yards for the first time last week at home against Buffalo.
4. What To Do Without Adalius? -- The Patriots will be without Adalius Thomas, who broke his forearm against the Bills and could miss the rest of the year. New England's sack leader has 34 tackles this season, which means rookie Jerod Mayo will be asked to do even more than his team-leading 65 tackles. This is a huge blow to a Patriots defense ranked 12th in the league and facing running back Thomas Jones (who has twice rushed for three touchdowns in '08). Also, less pressure from the linebackers gives Favre more time to actually make positive things happen, which can't make the Boston folks happy.
5. Will This Weather Really Be That Big of a Deal? -- It is supposed to be windy, rainy and cold, which means the ground games will be the main focus. When you have Jones, the AFC rushing leader, going against Green Ellis, a guy with five career NFL appearances, you have to give the edge to, gulp, the Jets. Also, since you probably don't have the amazing ability to sit around and watch sports all day long, you need to understand something -- I've heard the words "terrible, bad, disgusting, miserable and barely playable" today when describing the weather. If frogs don't fall from the sky tonight I'm going to be disappointed.
Five Game Notes Before the Patriots and Jets Meet in New England originally appeared on NFL FanHouse on Thu, 13 Nov 2008 17:34:00 EST . Please see our terms for use of feeds.