The Fight in Foxborough: Jets and Pats Duel In December

Posted: December 6, 2010 in NFL

By Phil Bausk

When talking about Bill Belichick and the New England Patriots, Rex Ryan was his candid, brash self,“As much as I respect and admire Bill Belichick, I came here to kick his ass, and that’s the truth. That’s just the way it is.”

Upon hearing of Ryan’s aggressive statement, Belichick replied in classic B Squared fashion,“I’m not really worried about anybody else. I’m just trying to get this team ready to play.”

Since Ryan took over for the Jets in 2009, he has given the team a swagger that previous New York Jets squads were missing. His  “do whatever it takes, say whatever I want” attitude has impacted his players positively, and has helped  turn the Jets into a legitimate contender. His confidence that he has shown, whether it be from day one of training camp, to right up until their playoff game against the Colts last season, is consistent and unwavering.

Rex Ryan reminds me a lot of Roger Rabbit. You can’t get him to shut his mouth, he constantly seems like he is up to something, and odds are he is guilty of whatever he is being accused of (I Know Roger Rabbit was innocent in his movie, but I am sure he has done awful things that only people in Toonland can comprehend).

But where both Ryan and the Rabbit are truly similar is that both of them always come through. While Ryan has not won a Superbowl, he has sent this Jets team to the top of the standings quicker than anyone could imagine.  Roger Rabbit, on the other hand, assisted in proving his innocence, and defeating Christopher Lloyd to then going on to living happily ever after with the smoking hot Jessica Rabbit (“I’m not bad. I’m just drawn that way”).

In about 5 hours, the polar opposite of Rex Ryan will be staring at him from across the field in Bill Belichick. While B Squared has had his fair share of colorful statements (Ahem! Freddie Mitchell, Check the comments) , he generally shows a passive, ice cold demeanor (Like that of Dolph Lundgren) that his star Quarterback Tom Brady, undoubtedly inherited from Belichick.

These two teams, the Jets and the Pats, embody the character traits that their Head Coaches ooze on a day to day basis. This is what we are going to see in tonight’s match up. Two teams, two very different philosophies both on and off the field, and just one goal in mind, beating the other in a prime time setting.

The Jets bring one of the best defenses in football this season to Gillette Stadium, while the Pats will be protecting their home field with the league’s top ranked offense.   While there are a lot of different match ups and story lines to take a look at, two in particular jump out.

Firstly, how will the Patriots defense be able to stop the Jets running attack. While Jets QB Mark Sanchez has made strides in his 2nd season, the offense will still rely on its powerful running game to keep Brady and the offense off of the field. The Pats run defense has given up 110 yards per game (ypg) so far this season, in addition to 9 Touchdowns and 72 first downs. This means on 3rd and short situations, the Jets are going to try and run the ball as the Patriots have had trouble stopping 3rd and short running plays. I expect the Jets to hold the ball for a large percentage of  this game, limiting the amount of touches Brady and friends are going to have.

On the other side of the ball, will the Jets be able to stop the Patriots short passing game. Since the Randy Moss trade, the Patriots have used an offense similar to their early 2000′ s offense, which led them to multiple Superbowl titles. It is this style of offense where Brady seems most comfortable, and it shows with his consistency in the last few weeks. The Jets, who have no problem stuffing the run, will have to  focus on this aspect of the Pats offense, as the Pats may use short passes to substitute for running plays. Expect to see a lot of Ex-Jet Danny Woodhead, a Hard Knocks hero, in the middle of the field, as well as both TEs, Aaron Hernandez Rob Gronkowski.

These are the kinds of games that us football fans get excited for. Two teams that truly hate each other, two coaches that definitely hate each other, and two fan bases who argue about baseball 9 months of the year, getting their chance to try and grab a leg up in the Boston-New York Rivalry.

Now I have lived in NY my entire life and I love it. I love living in Manhattan, going out to Long Island, and heck, I even like going upstate sometimes (Westchester is NOT upstate!). But I do not get it when I hear New Yorkers trash talk, not just the Boston sports teams, but the city itself. I mean C’mon?!?!?!?! The city is filled with history, something New Yorkers should appreciate and if they can’t, they should have to spend a weekend on Staten Island to see what hell is really like.  Its the same weather as New York, with cleaner streets, great food, and college students galore for us 23-year olds to go hang out with and go make fun of their accents to their faces. And you know what, they play along with it because they know what they sound like.

The bottom line is that these cities do not like each other. Not only do their passionate and loyal sports fans hate each other, but the normal, everyday citizens of each city do not respect each other. I am sure the Jets and the Pats are aware of what they are playing for in tonight’s game and will play 60 minutes of tenacious football. The hate between the teams and the cities bring out the best in sports, both at the bar and on the sidelines. Whoever thought that so much hate could make people forget about how cold weather ruins everything (Well, except for football).

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Comments
  1. Adam says:

    Great post Phil! A few notes:
    1) In the past few games Sanchez has thrown an INT in each one, the Patriots are among the leaders in TO differential. Combine that with the fact that Rex loves to run in the cold weather and you are 100% right, the Jets will try to focus all their energy on running the ball. Knowing that, I look for Jerod Mayo and Patrick Chung to have a monster game stopping the run.

    2) Always worth noting that since 2008, when given 8+ days to rpepare, Belichick is 5-0. Since 2001 (meaning since Brady took over as QB), they are 25-4. They have had 11 days for this game.

    3) Check out this interesting article that breaks down how the Pats’ offense this year, is statistically as efficient as the record setting 2007 offense: http://insider.espn.go.com/nfl/insider/news/story?id=5882718&action=login&appRedirect=http%3A%2F%2Finsider.espn.go.com%2Fnfl%2Finsider%2Fnews%2Fstory%3Fid%3D5882718

    4) Check out the article on ESPNBoston.com by Jackie MacMullan about how Rex and BB are actually VERY similar!

    5) What’s your prediction for the game? After this article I expected a prediction. I say 27-21 Pats!

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