Favre dons the enemy colors.

A lot has been said about what Brett Favre will mean to the Minnesota Vikings. Certainly, I think it’s fair to say the Vikings are now the favorite to win the division.

Some pundits have tapped them as the favorite to win the Super Bowl.

But hold the phone. The Vikings were going to be in the conversation to win the NFC North regardless of Favre. They have the best running back in the league in Adrian Peterson. They also have a solid, and at times dominant defense. Those two factors alone put the Vikings in the conversation as the best of the NFC North.

While the Chicago Bears also belong in the conversation, I still like the Green Bay Packers chances. The reason, other than the Packers own improvement, is Brett Favre.

Favre initially said he would remain retired this season because he didn’t think his body could withstand the rigors of a full NFL season. The evidence says Favre is right.

Favre has experienced a fade over his last eight games each of the past two seasons, after starting very strong in each campaign.

Here are Favre’s 2008 stats with the New York Jets.

Situation G QBRat Comp Att Pct Yds Y/G Y/A TD Int
Games 1-8 8 87.8 180 263 68.4 1812 226.5 6.9 15 12
Games 9-16 8 74.2 163 259 62.9 1660 207.5 6.4 7 10

Here are Favre’s 2007 stats with the Packers

Situation G QBRat Comp Att Pct Yds Y/G Y/A TD Int
Games 1-8 8 93.3 205 308 66.6 2406 300.8 7.8 13 8
Games 9-16 8 98.8 151 227 66.5 1749 218.6 7.7 15 7

First things first. Favre’s body broke down in the second half of the 2008 campaign, when a torn biceps tendon in his throwing shoulder affected his performance. However, as CBS Sports’ Clark Judge pointed out, that’s what happens to old quarterbacks.

Secondly, Favre’s final season with the Packers looks fairly even. That is, until you look at two things. First, Favre threw for 657 fewer yards in the second half of the 2007 season than he did in the first half.

Second, is the breakdown of Favre’s final nine games, where you’ll see a noticeable drop off in production after Dec. 1.

Situation G QBRat Comp Att Pct Yds Y/G Y/A TD Int
November 5 106.8 115 165 69.7 1366 273.2 8.3 11 4
December 4 85.5 60 96 62.5 743 185.8 7.7 6 5

Packers fans will remember that trend carrying into the playoffs as well, when Favre’s last pass was an interception that set up the New York Giants’ winning drive in the NFC Championship game.

Teams that make it to the Super Bowl typically ride hot quarterbacks – see Arizona and Pittsburgh last year, the Giants and Patriots in 2008, etc. Brett Favre doesn’t have enough left in the tank to be that guy. The NFL is just too competitive these days, and I don’t care how well the Vikings defense and Adrian Peterson is playing at the end of the season, the Vikings need Favre to take them to the Super Bowl.

You can mark this down: it won’t happen.

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