Commentary

Favre vs. Brees tough to top

NFC title game provides big stage for potentially classic quarterback duel

Originally Published: January 19, 2010
By Matt Williamson | Scouts Inc.
It really doesn't get much better than this from a quarterbacking standpoint. Drew Brees has been an elite regular-season passer, but he now has a tremendous opportunity to get mentioned with Peyton Manning and Tom Brady as the best quarterbacks on the planet right now.

[+] EnlargeDrew Brees
Jamie Squire/Getty Images Drew Brees' quick release should help New Orleans combat the Vikings' pass rush.

More importantly, Brees also has a golden opportunity to get himself a Super Bowl ring. However, the 40-year-old Brett Favre still has something to say about those accolades and is playing at a very high level himself. Like I said, it really doesn't get much better than this.

Brees vs. the Vikings' defense: Brees has an awful lot of weapons at his disposal, and no other team in the league uses as wide a variety of personnel groupings and formations as New Orleans. Coach Sean Payton and Brees are very much on the same page, and Payton has a great understanding of how to best use the talented personnel at hand. Brees doesn't play favorites and will distribute the ball extremely well.

Although Minnesota is tremendous along the defensive line, its secondary is a true liability. Also, middle linebacker Jasper Brinkley, who has replaced the injured E.J. Henderson, is a run-thumper who struggles in coverage.

Expect Brees to target the middle of the field plenty on early downs on crossing routes and quick-hitting plays at Brinkley's expense. As he showed this past Saturday, Reggie Bush can be a true difference-maker in many facets. He will split out wide Sunday and has a massive advantage against any of the Vikings' linebackers.

The Vikings did sack Tony Romo six times in the divisional round and tormented him the entire game, but Brees gets the ball out incredibly quickly, and displays great composure and poise. He doesn't force the action and seems to always be in balance. He is content to check down and let his running backs and tight ends use their legs, but also is exceptionally accurate and throws the ball with excellent touch. Brees moved the ball at will against a depleted Cardinals secondary and might do the same in the NFC Championship Game against the Vikings' average cover men.

To read about how Brett Favre matches up with the Saints' defense, you must be an ESPN Insider.