Favre familiar with Jets' schedule
When Manny Ramirez went to the Los Angeles Dodgers last week, one of the biggest questions was how he would adjust to the National League. He had never played in Dodger Stadium. Most opposing pitchers were strangers to him. He didn't know how the umpires called balls and strikes.
There won't be that level of unfamiliarity for Brett Favre, not even though he spent his entire career in the NFC and the past 16 seasons with the Green Bay Packers before his early morning trade to the New York Jets.
The biggest transition will involve the Jets' playbook because he'll recognize much of what he sees coming at him from the other side of the line.
Favre shouldn't panic when he looks at the Jets' 2008 schedule. The Packers played the AFC East two seasons ago. Last year they faced the NFC West, this year's AFC East inter-conference adversary.
Favre has seen all but one of the Jets' 13 opponents within the past three years, going 10-5 against them.
Here's a look at how the upcoming season will break down from Favre's perspective:
Sept. 7 at Miami Dolphins: Favre has a chance to ease into the schedule with a game against the NFL's worst team. The Dolphins represented half of the Jets' meager win total last year. Favre beat the Dolphins, 34-24, in Miami Gardens two years ago.
Sept. 14 vs. New England Patriots: The training wheels come off in Week 2. Favre had a tough go the last time he saw the Patriots, a 35-0 defeat at Lambeau Field on Nov. 19, 2006. The Patriots knocked Favre out of the game with an elbow injury late in the first half.
Sept. 22 at San Diego Chargers: The schedule doesn't let up in Week 3 with a long trip to play another legitimate Super Bowl candidate. Favre posted a 31-24 victory over the Chargers last year at Lambeau. Favre completed 28 of 45 passes for 369 yards and tied Dan Marino's career touchdown record.
Sept. 28 vs. Arizona Cardinals: Favre has played the Cardinals only twice in the past five years. He oversaw a relaxed 31-14 victory two seasons ago. This matchup looks like a respite for Favre after two weeks of facing the AFC's elite, but there are no guarantees for a quarterback trying to master a foreign playbook.
Oct. 12 vs. Cincinnati Bengals: Favre might have this game already circled. The Jets will be coming off a bye, and the Bengals' defense has a proven track record of getting shredded. They ranked 27th in yards allowed and 26th in passing yards last year. Favre has played the Bengals once in the past five years, a 21-14 loss in Paul Brown Stadium.
Oct. 19 at Oakland Raiders: Favre could feast on the rebuilding Raiders, who didn't give up an outrageous amount of passing yards because they were easy enough to trample on the ground. Favre is 2-0 against the Raiders since 2003, including a 38-7 victory last year in which he completed 15 of 23 passes for 266 yards and two TDs.
Oct. 26 vs. Kansas City Chiefs: Favre's success last year against the AFC West included a 33-22 victory over the Chiefs, giving him at least one "W" over 31 NFL teams. The Chiefs aren't expected to be significantly better this year. They have renovated their secondary, so if the Jets' line can fend off Gunther Cunningham's blitzing defense, Favre could have a big day.
Nov. 2 at Buffalo Bills: Favre was a 24-10 loser when he went into Ralph Wilson Stadium two seasons ago. The Bills' upgraded defense could pose problems for a lot of quarterbacks this year, but this could be the first time Favre feels in his element. He was 43-6 at Lambeau Field when the kickoff temperature was 34 degrees or colder. Early November's too soon to guarantee bad weather in Orchard Park, N.Y., but this might be the Jets' first blustery game of the year.
Nov. 9 vs. St. Louis Rams: This is one of those games the Jets have to win. They'll be playing at home amid an eight-game stretch that includes five on the road. The Rams were among the NFL dregs last year. Favre had an efficient 227-yard performance to beat them, 33-14, and surpass Marino in career yards.
Nov. 13 at New England Patriots: Favre has played in Gillette Stadium just once, but his 2002 visit went down as the first Patriots defeat in their new digs.
Nov. 23 at Tennessee Titans: The Titans are Favre's most unfamiliar opponent on the schedule. He has played them only once since 2004 and came out on the wrong end of a 48-27 decision. The Titans generate relentless pressure and have a capable secondary. Favre could have trouble in Nashville.
Nov. 30 vs. Denver Broncos: Favre is a combined 11-1 over the past five seasons against the Jets' final five opponents. He defeated the Broncos last year, 19-13, but he needed overtime to do it, connecting with Greg Jennings on an 82-yard bomb one play into sudden death. The Broncos had the NFL's third-worst rushing defense last year.
Dec. 7 at San Francisco 49ers: Favre should be plenty secure in the Jets' offense as they enter the final month of the season, and that's important because this could be a crucial game for their playoff hopes. He has topped the 49ers three straight games, most recently a 30-19 win in 2006.
Dec. 14 vs. Buffalo Bills: Here is a matchup that could make or break either team's season. The Bills clearly were the second-best team in the AFC East last year and were projected to hold that position in 2008 until Favre entered the scene.
Dec. 21 at Seattle Seahawks: Favre has ruined many afternoons for Seahawks fans. He helped the Packers score an average of 31.4 points in going 4-1 against Seattle since 2003, including a pair of playoff victories. There could be almost as much on the line for the Jets with two games left in the season.
Dec. 28 vs. Miami Dolphins: Unless they pull off one of the greatest turnarounds in football history, the Dolphins should be playing out the string when they visit the Meadowlands three days after Christmas.