Personal for Pats-Jets
CLICK TO REACT
A previous version of this post incorrectly characterized the offense for which New England Patriots Coach Bill Belichick was fined by the NFL. The corrected version appears below.
Rex Ryan vs. Bill Belichick hardly seems like a match made in playoff football heaven, considering the last time these two AFC East teams met, Belichick's New England Patriots beat up on Ryan's N.Y. Jets by a 45-3 margin on a not so memorable Monday night on Dec. 6.
The Patriots, arguably the best team in the league this season, are favored by nine points Sunday, seemingly a safe bet. But nothing is safe in the playoffs, as the defending champion New Orleans Saints (of course the team I picked to win it all again) found out last weekend in Seattle, and the guess here is that the Jets are going to make it far closer than their previous engagement.
It's hard to choose anyone to root for in this most compelling matchup of the weekend. Belichick is a certified cheater, having been fined a huge chunk of change three years ago by the NFL for improperly using videotaping equipment to steal the play signals of the New York Jets' coaches during the team's season opener. Belichick should have been suspended for that transgression, maybe even for a full season, but sadly, it never happened.
This year, it's the Jets who have played fast and loose with the rules, particularly the incident that involved a team strength coach strategically (and probably purposely positioned) tripping an opposing player with an outstretched knee. The offending assistant was suspended for the rest of the year (his name wasn't Belichick, don't you know), and Ryan denied any knowledge of his plan, even if hardly anyone believes it, just as no one believed Belichick during the Spygate scandal.
This week, Ryan has once again made himself the focal point of all attention, saying that it's "personal" between him and Belichick, particularly since he was so badly out-coached in the last meeting of the teams. He took a mild shot at usually untouchable Tom Brady, who decided to attend a play -- "Lombardi" -- with his wife Saturday night instead of staying home and watching the Jets beat the Colts, though he did get back for the second half.
Peyton Manning would have watched the whole football game, Ryan opined on Monday, adding a tad more fuel to this burning rivalry.
Said Brady, "to me it's a lot more hype than substance...All the hype, build-up, but you got to go play."
Earlier this year, Brady, somewhat out of character, said he hated the Jets. This week, New York tight end Dustin Keller went on Sirius Radio and said if there was one team he hated, it was the Patriots.
That's clearly not the same sort of boring pablum coming out of the other six teams still alive for the Lombardi Trophy. I'll watch all four games, of course, but in my man cave, Jets-Patriots gets top billing for sure.
January 11, 2011; 4:27 PM ET
New England Patriots
New York Jets
Save & Share:
Previous: Rodgers-Ryan must-see | Next: What's the most intriguing divisional playoff matchup?
Please email us to report offensive comments.
Posted by: sprats | January 11, 2011 5:48 PM
Posted by: DJBT | January 11, 2011 6:24 PM
Posted by: Protagonist1984 | January 11, 2011 7:18 PM
Posted by: kjgunner | January 11, 2011 11:18 PM
Posted by: SternSkip1313 | January 12, 2011 12:45 AM
Posted by: tunescribe | January 12, 2011 1:09 AM
Posted by: jes41 | January 12, 2011 12:44 PM
Posted by: fishtales | January 12, 2011 12:44 PM
Posted by: Asinistra | January 12, 2011 1:00 PM
Posted by: clergymen19 | January 12, 2011 1:46 PM
Posted by: RRS1 | January 12, 2011 2:13 PM
Posted by: clergymen19 | January 12, 2011 2:15 PM
Posted by: Leofwine | January 12, 2011 6:34 PM
Posted by: dmoore11 | January 15, 2011 12:03 PM