If nothing else, those New York Jets sure are great at filling newspaper columns, talk radio shows and the blogosphere with material to gossip and argue about before big games. Between Rex Ryan saying this Sunday's AFC Divisional Playoff battle between his team and the Patriots is "personal" (just as it was "personal" last week in last week's Wild Card playoff win against Peyton Manning and his Indianapolis Colts) and being a Joe Namath wannabe in pronouncing that the Jets will win the game, and Antonio Cromartie calling Tom Brady an "a**hole" out of the blue, it's clear that the word modesty is not in that team's vocabulary.
On the other hand, aside from Wes Welker's subtle (and hilarious) mocking of Jets coach Rex Ryan's foot fetishes in a recent press conference, the New England Patriots have pretty much stayed away from any hint of trash talk and bulletin board material (as they always do) and instead focused on the task at hand: beating the hell out of the Jets again.
The two AFC East rivals split the 2010 regular season matchups, with the Jets beating the Pats in week two 28-14 and Pats returning the favor in December with a shellacking 45-3 victory. But, the Patriots are undefeated against the Jets in their short playoff history, going 2-0 against them (December 1985 and January 2007) coming into Sunday's game.
The Patriots are clearly playing its best football of the year, while the Jets, led by second year quarterback Mark Sanchez (who is dealing with a bad arm), have regressed a bit since the early part of the season. The one thing they have going for them is that Rex Ryan is already the most successful head coach in Jets playoff history, with four victories between last postseason and the current one.
The Patriots, especially on defense, are a relatively young bunch, and having been blown out of last year's playoffs in round one by Baltimore and absent from the previous postseason (2008-2009) due to Brady's year-long injury, that also means the Jets collectively have the edge on them in recent postseason experience and success. Then again, the Patriots have Bill Belichick and Tom Brady, both of whom can decorate their hands with multiple Super Bowl rings.