The New York Jets’ verbal salvos at Tom Brady may be no match for history in this week’s playoff game against the New England Patriots.
The Jets lost 45-3 last month in Foxborough, Massachusetts, and no National Football League team has ever won a postseason game against an opponent that beat it so soundly during the regular season.
That hasn’t stopped the Jets from trash-talking in advance of their Jan. 16 meeting, with cornerback Antonio Cromartie using a profanity to describe Brady, the Patriots’ Pro Bowl quarterback. Jets coach Rex Ryan also expressed distaste for Brady and the division-rival Patriots, who are Super Bowl favorites after logging an NFL-best 14-2 record this season.
“Is there dislike between us and Brady, and Brady against the Jets and all that? Of course there is,” Ryan said this week on a media conference call. “We respect New England, but we don’t fear them.”
The two previous teams with playoff games against an opponent they lost to by 42 points or more during the regular season went 0-2 and were outscored 68-17, according to the Elias Sports Bureau, the official statistician of the NFL.
The 1969 Minnesota Vikings beat the Cleveland Browns 51-3 and then 27-7 two months later to advance to the Super Bowl. The 1991 Washington Redskins defeated the Detroit Lions 45-0 in their season opener and 41-10 in the National Football Conference championship game.
Las Vegas oddsmakers have the Jets as 8 1/2- to 9-point underdogs against the Patriots, who are 12-1 since a Week 2 road loss to New York.
All four of this weekend’s playoff games are rematches from the regular season, the sixth time that has happened since 1970 and the first since the 2008 season, according to footballreportersonline.com.
With a spot in the American Football Conference championship game on the line, Brady and coach Bill Belichick said the Patriots won’t derive extra motivation from their rivals’ comments. The Jets beat Indianapolis 17-16 in their playoff opener last week, avenging a road loss to the Colts in last year’s AFC title game.
“We’re spending our time getting ready to play,” Brady, who’s led the Patriots to three Super Bowl titles, told reporters this week. “I don’t think we’re spending our time figuring out what we can do to combat what people say about us. We’re just going to do our talking on the field. That’s what we’ve always chosen to do.”
Brady, criticized by Cromartie and several other New York players for pointing at opponents after touchdowns, has a 14-4 record as a starter against the Jets. Brady threw for 326 yards and four touchdowns against New York last month, while the Jets’ Mark Sanchez had 164 passing yards and three interceptions.
Brady is 8-1 at home in the postseason, including a 2006 first-round victory over the Jets. His home winning percentage is tied with Jim Kelly for the second-highest in NFL postseason history behind Kurt Warner, who was 7-0.
Bill Cowher, who coached the Pittsburgh Steelers to the Super Bowl title in 2006, said that while Brady and the Patriots may publicly brush off the Jets’ comments, it’s likely a different story within the locker room.
“Bill Belichick will take this personally,” Cowher, now an NFL analyst for CBS sports, said on a conference call. “He’ll make his players take it personal. I wouldn’t wake that sleeping giant. I think (the Jets) may have done that. What’s it going to take to beat them? If a couple of (the Patriots) get caught in a snowstorm where they don’t show up to the game, maybe that would be the only way.”
The Patriots and Jets are 51-51-1 in their all-time series. New England is 15-6 against the Jets since 2001, the season they won their first Super Bowl under Belichick.
For the Jets to win this time, Ryan will have to avoid mistakes he made in last month’s 42-point rout, said Phil Simms, the former New York Giants quarterback who will help broadcast the game for CBS.
“He did get outcoached in New England,” Simms said on the conference call two days ago. “Some of the things they were trying to do against the Patriots, they deserved to lose. That 45-3 is sitting right there looking at you. Maybe (the public comments) are his way of saying, ‘Hey, I’ve got to get fired up and put in the right schemes to compete.’”
NFL Divisional Playoff Odds Favorite Line Underdog ====================================================== New England Patriots -8 1/2 New York Jets Pittsburgh Steelers -3 1/2 Baltimore Ravens Chicago Bears -10 Seattle Seahawks Atlanta Falcons -2 Green Bay Packers ====================================================== Courtesy Las Vegas Sports Consultants