Ed Barkowitz: Is Favre playing his way to another MVP season?

Posted: December 04, 2009

RODNEY HARRISON brought it up, so let's take a look.

NBC's rookie commentator - who is terrific, by the way - made the point that Vikings quarterback Brett Favre is playing just as well as his did when he was winning MVPs in the 1990s playing for Green Bay.

From his team's standpoint, there is no question. Those Packers never were 10-1 in 1995 through '97, the three seasons Favre was the NFL's best player. They were 8-1 in 1996 when they went on to win the Super Bowl, so he still has work to do with the Vikes.

From a fantasy standpoint, Favre is not as good as he was during that part of his career. He's better.

"I just don't feel like I have to do it all," he said this week. "Maybe that's being a little bit older and a little bit wiser, where in '95, '96, and '97, I probably knew that, but it was hard to restrain. I always felt like I could make every play."

The only number of his that is down is a direct result of that restraint - Favre has thrown only three interceptions. Thirty-six times, coming into this season, he'd thrown at least three interceptions in a game. Thirty-six!

Favre, the NFL's offensive player of the month for November, also has shown remarkable durability. On Sunday in Arizona, he will play in his 283rd consecutive game and break Hall of Fame Vikings defensive end Jim Marshall's NFL record. It's a remarkable achievement, especially for a quarterback who often is on the business end of angry 300-pound linemen. Favre downplayed that notion, however.

"To be mentioned and to be up there with [Marshall] is pretty impressive," Favre said. "It's hard to do. I think that his position is harder, because you are hit every time. There are some times where I can hand off and watch."

Remarkably, Favre is throwing just about the same number of passes per game as he did in those MVP years. (From 1995-97, he averaged 33.9 attempts, compared with 32.5 this season.) He provided an example of the wisdom he possesses now, as opposed to when he won his second MVP as a 27-year-old.

"At 40 years old, to me it's a lot easier to question, 'Do I think I can get the edge on this bootleg?' I knew I could in '96 [even if] it wasn't always the case," he said. "I sure thought I knew it all. I think I'm using discretion better."

Three up

* Laurence Maroney, Patriots running back: Maroney's on a six-game scoring streak, but he also has lost fumbles in each of the last three. He better not drop one against the Dolphins, who have forced an NFL-low four fumbles.

* Jeremy Maclin, Eagles wide receiver: Consider him a good No. 2 if DeSean Jackson doesn't play. I like him over such guys as Mike Sims-Walker and Greg Jennings.

* Chris Redman, Falcons quarterback: He'd be more attractive if Atlanta's offensive line wasn't so banged up. Attention, Peyton Manning owners, the Falcons play at Tampa Bay in Week 17.

Three down

* Peyton Manning, Colts quarterback: Indy is close to clinching the AFC's No. 1 seed and, unlike in years past, picking up Jim Sorgi might not be the move. Sorgi has been hurt this year, and rookie Curtis Painter is likely to see some time when the Colts wrap things up.

* Steve Smith, Panthers wide receiver: Your eyes did not deceive you. Smith registered one catch Sunday for 5 yards. What in the name of Chansi Stuckey happened to this guy? Maybe Matt Moore starting in place of Jake Delhomme will help. It can't hurt, right?

* Ben Roethlisberger, Steelers quarterback: Unplug Big Ben for one more week to see that all his cobwebs have cleared. Even though the Raiders are dismal, this isn't a great matchup anyhow. Oakland's given up only 10 touchdown passes this year.

So long, Jamal

It looks as if Jamal Lewis' career has ended. The Browns placed Lewis on injured reserve after he suffered a concussion Sunday, and the 30-year-old running back said earlier this year this season would be his last.

Best of luck on behalf of all of those who benefited from the 2003 season, when he had 2,066 yards - including 295 in a game against the Browns. It's a shame that injuries and that little drug-conspiracy stretch wrecked the middle of his career.

CJ watch

We mothballed the "AP watch" a few weeks ago when it became clear Minnesota's Adrian Peterson would not come close to his goal of rushing for 2,000 yards.

Well, we're sort of resurrecting it because of the unbelievable roll Tennessee's Chris Johnson is on. Johnson needs to average about 121 yards over the last five games to join the 2K club. Jamal Lewis, by the way, was the last running back to get to 2,000. Here's a look at where Johnson stands:

Season yards. . . 1,396

Avg. per game. . . 126.9

Avg. needed for 2,000. . . 120.8

Avg. last 6 games. . . 154.7

This week. . . at Colts

Colts avg. allowed. . . 108.9

Ed Barkowitz, who is guest bartending at Downey's on South Street for Toys for Tots on Thursday from 8-11 p.m., has been writing about fantasy football in the Daily News since 2001. He has never had a Mojito and doesn't know how to make them, either.

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fantasyfootball@phillynews.com

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