By Eddie Castro
The Jets and Patriots rekindle their rivalry once again on Monday Night Football, making this meeting the most anticipated game of the week. With both teams atop the AFC East division with a record of 9-2, this game will indeed decide who will win the division, and how both teams will blend in the playoffs. A rivalry so intense, many people put it in the same category as football’s modern day Yankees/Red Sox. It seems that every time these two teams get together, they bring the best out of each other. Come this Monday, the fire in this matchup will emerge as probably one of the best games of 2010, possibly in this rivalry. The Jets are coming off another comeback win against the Cincinnati Bengals Thanksgiving night.
Both teams have not been shy about how they feel about each other through the media this year. From Patriots quarterback Tom Brady’s infamous “I hate the Jets” statement, to Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez sarcastically expressing his “Love” for Tom Brady. For Sanchez and the Jets, playing in New England will not be an easy task for the 2nd-year quarterback from USC, and history does not bare well on their side. We’ve all seen the debacle of Sanchez’s woes in cold weather last year. It may be too early for weather reports right now until Monday’s game, but it is expected to be in the 30’s, along with snow showers come game time. Another stat to throw out there is Tom Brady has a 24-game winning streak at home, ironically the last loss the Pats had at home was in 2006 in a match-up against the then-Chad Pennington’s Jets. This game also includes two great coaches in the masterminds of Patriots head coach Bill Belichick and Jets coach Rex Ryan. Each coach will try to play the better “chess” game in breaking down each other’s schemes. What may benefit the Jets is that they will walk into Gillette Stadium with a record of 5-0 on the road this year and 3-0 in their division, having defeated the Miami Dolphins in week 3, the Buffalo Bills in week 4, and the Patriots in week 2 at home.
This game will be much different as well as appealing to all fans. Since their week 2 meeting in New York, much has changed. The Patriots will not have Randy Moss (traded to Vikings, now with Titans), which is a concern in how the Patriots receivers matchup with the Jets dominating cornerback duo of Antonio Cromartie and a now-healthy Darrelle Revis. As the weeks went by, Mark Sanchez has finally found more targets in his offensive game. The last meeting vs the Patriots their defense seemed to have no answer for tight end Dustin Keller as the Jets won their first game of the season in a 28-14 victory. The Achillies’ heel for the Jets has been their inability to sack quarterbacks. Tom Brady moves so much out of the pocket it seems that absolutely nothing bothers him. With first place up for grabs, it seems the Jets need this game a little bit more than the Pats. It’s not every year a Jets team can say they completed a 2-game season sweep of their arch-nemesis. For both teams, a win will bring confidence and perhaps a first-round bye in the playoffs as well as much-needed home-field advantage. A loss will consist of how both teams will end the rest of the season. This could be the game that emerges Mark Sanchez as “elite” if he can battle through the cold weather and defeat the Patriots twice in one season. It will be only the fourth time in Monday Night Football history two teams with a record of 9-2 or better play. Sanchez, you said it, now repeat your words in Foxboro this Monday night will be “Go Time.”
Sports notes; (Monday Night Football) The Jets travel to Massachusetts to play the New England Patriots with perhaps first place clearly on the line. Monday, 8:30pm on ESPN CH.36
CH.207 Direct TV. (Baseball) Catch Yankees Hot Stove report on Thursday night to see whether the Rivera and Jeter negotiations are heating up. (Basketball) One of the most hostile games of the year as LeBron James returns to Cleveland for the first time in a Heat uniform to battle the Cavaliers. Thursday night,at 8:00PM on TNT CH.37