With both the Patriots and Jets going into Sunday’s game at 3-3 and tied atop the AFC East standings, just a few years ago this game would be the talk of both huge media markets, and a must-see-game on television, especially with Jets coach Rex Ryan running the show. But, things just aren’t that way this time around — it’s just another regular season game.
There isn’t much of a rivalry between the teams anymore. The Patriots have won three straight division titles (the three year’s Ryan has been head coach), and also nine of the last ten. While the two teams come in with the same record, there is no denying the two are not in the same category. The Patriots have one of, if not the best offense in football, while the Jets are still searching for an identity and have a quarterback in Mark Sanchez who has a completion rating of 49.7 this season. The continuous story line with the Jets this year has been when Tim Tebow will take over as quarterback and making matters worse, the team has been depleted by injuries. The Jets are a mess, and have no business beating the Patriots on Sunday.
Even if the Jets weren’t playing good football on the field, there was always Ryan running his mouth, but even that has gone away. When he first came to the Jets, Ryan was always good for a bulletin board post for the Patriots, like in 2009 when he said, ”I never came here to kiss Bill Belichick’s, you know, rings. I came to win. Let’s just put it that way. So we’ll see what happens. I’m certainly not intimidated by New England or anybody else. . . .” Then came him guaranteeing wins and Super Bowl’s, none of which have come true. Ryan’s act just isn’t working anymore and he knows it. Both the New York and Boston media baited him in his press conferences this week to say something sound bite worthy, but he wasn’t going for it. Even the man who once fueled the rivalry, wants no part in it right now.
Simply, the Patriots aren’t on the same level as the other teams as the rest of the AFC East, even with all four teams with 3-3 records. It’s not as much the Patriots getting better, more of the rest of the division getting worse. No one has been able to challenge the Patriots in the division, as it seems the Patriots have wrapped up division titles in early-mid December every year. Sunday’s game had the ability to be one of the most hyped Patriots-Jets games in recent years with both teams looking to seize control of the division, but with the Jets inconsistent and at times poor play, along with Ryan’s new, subdued attitude it should be just another regular season division game.
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