By Justin Paley
Jets Staff Writer
December 23rd, 2004
As the Jets continue to prepare for the New England Patriots, they remain confident. The Jets are 10-4 and can clinch a playoff spot by defeating the Patriots at the Meadowlands on Sunday.

As the Jets continue to prepare for the New England Patriots, they remain confident. The Jets are 10-4 and can clinch a playoff spot by defeating the Patriots at the Meadowlands on Sunday.

While the Jets can clinch a playoff spot by winning either one of their remaining games, RB Curtis Martin said the Jets want to get the job done this Sunday.

“Ideally you want to take care of business right now,” Martin said. “You know the saying ‘why put off until tomorrow what you can do today?’ We have the opportunity right before us.”

The Jets have not beaten the Patriots in their last three games and QB Chad Pennington knows it will be another challenge on Sunday.

“It is always a big challenge for me to play New England because they know how to test you,” Pennington said. “They know how to test your protection schemes, they know how to test your route schemes, your concepts. They understand all of that, so it is definitely a challenge for me.”

Jets head coach Herman Edwards talked about why the Patriots defense is able to be so effective.

“What they do is they play to players strength,” Edwards said. “That’s what they do. That’s what all teams try to do. Play to a player’s strength and when there’s a weakness, help them.”

The Jets are 6-1 at home this season with their only loss to Baltimore. Martin has recognized the fan support.

“We learned to appreciate our home field advantage because I think we created one this year,” Martin said. “The fans have been terrific this year.”

“Well there is a conscious thought that we want to protect our home field,” Pennington said. “We have played very well at home. We think it is important to protect your home field advantage and play well for the fans. The fans have been great all year and we want to play well for them.”

How Martin performs on Sunday will certainly be key for the Jets. Martin has rushed for 1,511 yards and 12 touchdowns this season. Those numbers earned Martin the fourth Pro Bowl selection of his career and today he talked about the honor.

“The Pro Bowl is always a special thing, especially to be in my 10th year and make the Pro Bowl and having the season that I am having,” Martin said. “I appreciate the offensive linemen and all those who are helping me out this season. Gratifying is the word I can use to describe it.”

Martin will have to do a better job this time than he did in the 13-7 loss at New England on October 24 when he rushed for 70 yards on 20 carries.

Jets C Kevin Mawae earned his sixth consecutive Pro Bowl selection yesterday and talked about what the Jets need to do on Sunday when they get into the red zone.

“When we get down there, we need the six,” Mawae said. “We can’t settle for three.”

Pennington said the Jets are feeling very good heading into Sunday.

“Right now our confidence is high,” Pennington said. “We believe in ourselves. I think this is a team that loves playing together and plays for each other. We have done a great job of doing that.”

MISCELANEOUS TIDBITS: Jets LB Eric Barton was outstanding in last week’s win over Seattle, making 11 tackles, one sack, one fumble recovery and an interception. Barton was asked if he plans to have an encore performance against Seattle. “I hope (I have) another big one,” Barton said. “Who knows, I just want to do whatever I need to do to help the team win this game. If it takes me making zero tackles and just being where I need to be, then that is fine too.”

-Martin, Mawae, and DE John Abraham were the three Jets selected to the Pro Bowl. It was surprising FB Jerald Sowell was not picked as he is second on the Jets with 41 receptions and has done a nice job blocking for Martin. Edwards talked about Sowell being left off the team. “Always good players who get left off the Pro Bowl,” Edwards said. “That’s been going on since I was a player. I just think to us Jerald has been a solid player. Doesn’t’ make a lot of flashy plays but does a lot of little things in our offense to make it go. Very, very consistent. One of the better fullbacks in the league. I think players in the league respect him and so do coaches.”

INJURY REPORT: DE John Abraham has already been ruled out for Sunday’s game. LB Victor Hobson (ankle), who has been sidelined with a high ankle sprain, is listed as probable this week and Edwards said he practiced today anticipates he will play. G Pete Kendall is listed as probable with a knee injury and did practice today. DT Dewayne Robertson is not on the official injury report but has a “head cold” according to Edwards and did practice today and is expected to play on Sunday.

-DE John Abraham (knee): Out
-LB Victor Hobson (ankle): Probable
-G Pete Kendall (Knee): Probable

The Jets host their final home game of the season this Sunday as the New England Patriots come to the Meadowlands. Check back to Jets often throughout the week for all the latest information leading up to the Jets/Patriots clash.

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