Is this really the Jets' Super Bowl? Kris Jenkins has already said that his team is preparing for it that way. Rex Ryan said back in June that he's not going to kiss Bill Bellichick's rings. Yesterday, he sent a voicemail to Jets' season ticket holders to try to rally the fanbase heading into Sunday's game. In it he implores fans not just to be the 12th man, but the 13th as well.
Need any more proof that this game means a lot to the Jets? Just listen to Kerry Rhodes, as he says what he intends to do to New England Sunday.
"You go out from the first quarter on, from the first play on, and try to embarrass them," Rhodes said. "Not just go out there and try to win, try to embarrass them. Try to make them feel bad when they leave here. We don't want to just beat them. We want to send a message to them, 'We're not backing down from you and we expect to win this game, and it's not going to be luck, it's not going to be a mistake."
Tom Brady responded with "Talk is cheap" during his presser, but clearly, the Jets are doing everything they can to build this game up. And honestly, they really don't need to. The Patriots have beaten the Jets eight straight times in the Meadowlands, and the fans definitely noticed that. Plus, do we really need another reason to root against Bill Bellichick and Brady?
For the second straight year, this is a chance for the Jets to make a huge statement in their home opener. Last year, the Jets had a new star quarterback in Brett Favre, a much improved defense bolstered by Kris Jenkins, and the Patriots looked vulnerable after losing Tom Brady in the opener. If the Jets could have won that game, it would have been a statement that they were claiming the AFC East. Instead, they took a step back, and Miami ended up taking the Patriots' throne.
This year the Jets again are looking to make a big statement. With a brand new quarterback in Mark Sanchez and a much improved defense (sound familiar?), the Jets look to beat a Patriots team that are ripe to be beaten after nearly losing their home opener to Buffalo. The primary reason for a Jets fan to have hope this time will be different was because the Jets clearly have the better defensive unit heading into this one. The Patriots are better at head coach and quarterback, as Rex Ryan said, but other than that, the Jets probably have the advantage. The Patriots' defense struggled to stop the Bills' offense when it had to, and they'll be playing without rising star linebacker Jerod Mayo.
But it was Brady that Rhodes took his next shot at. When told that the Bills knocked Tom Brady down six times, Rhodes had this response.
"We will hit him more than six times, I promise you that."
Music to my ears! Eric Mangini's gameplan in 2006 when the Jets beat the Patriots in the mud in Gillette Stadium helped make me a believer in him. If the Jets can knock Brady around any way like they did that day in 2006 at home, the Meadowlands will go crazy, and Ryan will have the tri-state area in the palm of his hand. Now all the Jets need to do is play half as well as they can talk.