FLORHAM PARK, NJ – After 102 meetings between the New York Jets and the New England Patriots, there is very little that has separated the two as their head-to-head record shows (51-50-1, Jets).
With both teams at 9-2, the best record in football, their 103rd meeting will decide a whole lot more than a .500 all-time record.
As we all know, the game will most likely decide the AFC East, home-field advantage and Super Bowl supremacy. With the Jets already with a half game lead, thanks to the Week 2 thrashing in New York, they could seal their fate with another win in New England.
However, as the saying goes, it’s easier said than done.
You will have to go back ten years to see the last time the Jets swept the regular season from New England – Bill Belichick’s first season as head coach and, seemingly, Drew Bledsoe’s last full season a Patriot starter.
The first game occurred on September 11, 2000 at the Meadowlands Stadium. After being held to only a touchdown through three and a half quarters, trailing 19-7, the Jets turned the burners on to score 13 unanswered points from Wayne Chrebet to pull out the 20-19 victory. Vinny Testaverde threw for 281 yards and three scores in the come-from-behind win.
The Jets then whooped up on the Patriots at Foxboro Stadium on October 15th, 34-17. Curtis Martin ran wild against his former team, rushing for 143 yards and three TDs.
And then September 23, 2001 would remain a day that Jets and Patriots fans would remember forever. The Jets won the battle, a defensive 10-3 victory, in which Mo Lewis laid a vicious hit on Bledsoe, shearing a blood vessel in his chest and changing the course of history, but the Patriots would win the eventual war.
In comes a lanky, unheralded quarterback by the name of Tom Brady, just one year removed from playing at the University of Michigan. He didn’t do much in that game (5-10, 46 yards), but would go on to do much bigger things.
And since then, the Jets haven’t been able to defeat Brady and the Patriots in consecutive games, let alone a season sweep.
The Jets have won consecutive games against the Patriots: a 34-31 OT winner, perhaps Brett Favre’s signature game as a Jet, and a 16-9 win in which the Jets shut out the Pats in the second half and score 13 unanswered points. Both wins came at New England, however the overtime game featured Matt Cassel at quarterback, while Brady was out with a season-ending knee injury.
While they have proven they can beat Belichick and the Patriots at home, they still must prove they can beat Brady at home, who has rattled off 25 straight regular-season home victories.
A win on the road Monday night would prove just that. The Jets have been very bad guests in 2010, as they have yet to be beaten by their hosts. But the masterful Belichick rarely loses when he’s given extra time to prepare for an opponent, especially one who has bested him in recent history.
Jets coach Rex Ryan holds a 2-1 career record against Belichick, backing up his claim that he will not be kissing Belichick’s rings any time soon.
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