Favre needs Rice, can't handle the rush

The New Orleans Saints held off the Minnesota Vikings 14-9 on Thursday in a rematch of last season's NFC Championship Game. In the first half, the Vikings called 17 run plays and 15 pass plays and scored nine points, while the Saints called just THREE run plays against 22 pass plays, and put just seven on the board.

It was a much different story in the second half, when the Saints shut the Vikings out 7-0. Minnesota ran only six times and called 13 passes, while the Saints called 22 run plays, compared to just 15 passes.

We can go Next Level to find out where the Vikings struggled, and what may be areas of concern going forward:

Brett Favre by Number of Pass Rushers
Thursday vs Saints

• Last season, Brett Favre had a 96.9 passer rating and just one interception when opposing teams sent five or more pass rushers. When the Saints rushed five or more defenders on Thursday, Favre completed only 23 percent of his passes, including an 0-for-6 stretch after the Saints went up 14-9.

• After being one of the most effective play-action passers in 2009 (10 TD, 0 Int, 71 comp pct), Favre did not throw a single play-action pass Thursday against the Saints. The Vikings ran play-action once, but the play resulted in a sack.

Vikings Receivers Thursday vs Saints

• With Sidney Rice out of the lineup, it was obvious how much he means to Favre and the offense. Vikings wide receivers Bernard Berrian, Greg Camarillo, Percy Harvin and Greg Lewis were targeted 12 times combined, but managed only four catches and two first downs. Harvin was especially disappointing, catching just one of five passes thrown his way (including a dropped pass).