FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – Stop the chatter. It’s time for the sound that really matters.
The opening whistle.
“I think all the stuff that will be said up to that point won’t make a difference,” Deion Branch said.
The New England Patriots wide receiver heard the volleys from the New York Jets leading up to Sunday’s divisional playoff game. That pumped up the volume on a rivalry between teams that split their two regular-season meetings but differ dramatically in pregame vocabulary.
“People can say and do what they want,” Jets linebacker Jason Taylor said. “I don’t think it has much bearing as to what happens on the field.”
But can the Jets take what the Patriots dish out on the field – the passing of Brady and an improving young defense that gave the Patriots an NFL-best 14-2 record, eight wins to close the regular season and a league-leading 32.4 points per game?
New York will have to do a much better job than it did six weeks ago in its first visit to Gillette Stadium this season. The Patriots won 45-3 as Brady threw four touchdown passes. Ryan implied that Brady pointed at the Jets sideline or looked there after scoring, saying Brady “took a shot at me by his antics on the field.”
The Patriots did it again this season, winning the AFC East for the eighth time in 10 years and second in a row. But last season they lost to the Baltimore Ravens in the wild-card round, 33-14 in Foxborough, while the Jets went on to the AFC championship game where they lost to Indianapolis 30-17.
Last Sunday, they ended the Colts season with a 17-16 win on Nick Folk’s 32-yard field goal on the final play.
And now the Jets can avenge their 42-point blowout by the Patriots and move just one more win away from the second Super Bowl in franchise history.
The first appearance – a 16-7 upset of the Baltimore Colts behind another big talker, Joe Namath – came in 1969 in only the third Super Bowl.