Once more, with feeling
Well, well, well. Look what we have setting up for next Sunday.
Thanks to a three seed vs. six seed match-up on wild-card Saturday, the New England Patriots already know who they are playing. The Patriots match-up in their first playoffs game just happens to be against an old friend in the division and that’s using the term “friend” very lightly. The New York Jets are coming to town next Sunday in what is sure to be one of the most hyped up, most anticipated, most talked about play-off games in recent memory.
Think about it this way. Jets coach Rex “Jabba the” Ryan, who is known for his talk during the week leading up to games, called his meeting with Peyton Manning and the Indianapolis Colts “personal” because he had yet to beat Peyton Manning in a game in which Peyton Manning played the whole game. Despite that talk, he still couldn’t miss a chance to talk shit to the New England Patriots and most notably Tom Brady when he said that Tom doesn’t study film as well as Peyton Manning did. For something that was so personal, he couldn’t miss a chance to get a shot in at the team from his own division. It’s certainly more personal for Rex Ryan to beat the Patriots then it is to beat the Indianapolis Colts and Peyton Manning. Remember, this was the same guy that said he wasn’t coming to kiss Bill Belichick’s rings.
Well now he has his chance to shut up the naysayers who say he can’t beat the Patriots when it really matters. Last time, with the division on the line, the Patriots beat the Jets 45-3 at Gillette Stadium in an absolutely dominating performance. Rex Ryan is no doubt going to stress this to his team this week to make sure it doesn’t turn out the same way. He’s going to make sure they remember how embarrassing the performance was on National television. He will remind them about how they got torn apart by Tom Brady and his group of midgets. He will stress how the New England Patriots made him look like an idiot for cutting Danny Woodhead and he will drill into the head of his quarterback Mark Sanchez that the Patriots defense made him their bitch during that game. Certainly, the Jets aren’t going to prepare for this game the same way that they prepared for that Monday night game, even if they do the same amount of shit-talking.
But if anyone thinks the New England Patriots are going to get ready for this game the same way are kidding themselves. The Patriots always stress the idea of “One game at a time” and that every week is different. Bill Belichick is going to make sure his team knows that the Jets aren’t just going to roll over and take it again. Belichick is going to stress that the Jets regained some of their defensive poweress and running mojo Saturday night against the Colts, even if Mark Sanchez looked shaky again. Belichick will remind the offense that Rex Ryan is smart enough to adjust to the highly efficient Patriots offense and that they may have to play better than they did in December because Ryan has seen it. He will drill that it is the playoffs and that one stupid mistake or not playing to the best of their ability could be the difference between the next round and playing in the pro-bowl. The Patriots will know this is not the same game they played earlier this season or the same team that they saw in December. It’s January, it’s the playoffs. It’s a whole different animal.
So buckle up everyone. Get ready for a week of hype, a week of soundbites from both sides of the match-up, a week of nothing but Patriots vs. Jets talk on each of the sports media outlets, and a week of Rex Ryan feet jokes. It’s Patriots vs. Jets, round three, and this time the winner gets the right to play in the AFC Championship game.
You almost wouldn’t have it any other way.