By Drew Buono
Jets Staff Writer
January 5th, 2007

The New York Jets are calm and poised heading into their game this Sunday against the AFC East division champion New England Patriots. While the players were having fun and joking around in the locker room, Head Coach Eric Mangini stayed on target and kept his concern on beating the Patriots.

Mangini again made reference to New England’s offensive threat, QB Tom Brady, calling him “poised during two-minute situations” and very good at handling clock management. He not only has to worry about the king of the playoffs, (Brady is 10-1 in the postseason) but also the Patriots defense who are very good against the run and create many problems in the redzone.

Mangini said that some of the most important statistics to look for from the opposition is, points scored and points allowed. The Patriots are seventh in points scored and second in points allowed, but this is the postseason and the Jets are looking at the future and not the past. The goal of the Jets this season was to change for the better and week after week they have been steadily getting better, but their was one dramatic point where everything seemed to start clicking.

The dramatic change for the Jets this season, came during their bye week. At 4-4, the team had a lot of soul searching to do after their close loss to Cleveland. Mangini told reporters that during the bye, “I met with the offense and defense collectively as a group.” After the meetings and the viewings of the game film, the coaches and the team were ready to put everything together on the field and they did. They’ve gone 6-2 since the bye, have won three games in a row heading into the playoffs and have given up the second fewest points in the NFL.

The talk though heading into Sunday, will of course be about the match-up between Mangini and Patriots Head Coach Bill Belichick. The team though knows what they have to do and are preparing themselves for whatever New England will throw at them.

RB Cedric Houston, who did not play in either of the two regular season meetings between the two teams, is ready and able to go on Sunday. “We know what they do and we know what we have to do. The coaches have a good game plan for Sunday and it’s our job to execute it,” said Houston. With the teams already meeting twice this season, Houston said it was important, “to throw some wrinkles in our schemes to throw them off.”

OL Pete Kendall is not concerned about the prior match-ups and says that, “who ever plays best will win on Sunday.” His teammate though, WR Laveranues Coles, feels differently on the third meeting. “It doesn’t make it easier to play a team three times, because each time you get something different from the opposition,” said Coles. Mangini likes the familiarity of playing the same opponent so many times in a season because, “there’s more exposure and more familiarity in playing an opponent that your familiar with.”

The Jets are one of the hottest teams in football going into the playoffs, but then again the Patriots are one of the hottest teams in the playoffs over the last couple of seasons. The Jets have a real good chance because they have momentum and they already won in New England, which is huge for a road team playing in the postseason.


- The Jets family welcomed two new additions this week. OL Anthony Clement become a father on Tuesday to Caleb Clement and WR Chris Baker welcomed a baby boy this morning named Chris Baker Jr.

- LB Matt Chatham was back at practice today after missing most of the week due to the death of his father-in-law. He is expected to play on Sunday.

- RB Kevan Barlow, like some of the Jets players will have to wait to see if his number will be called on for Sunday. Barlow, who has been bothered all season by a leg injury had one of his best games against the Patriots at Foxboro and could be a major factor again if he is healthy enough to play.

- Again Mangini was open about talking and saying the words New England, referring to them when talking about his defense whom he compared to the defense last year in New England. Mangini said, “statistically our defense is the similar to New England’s from last year, we started out poor and improved in the second half.”


New York Jets
-FB B.J. Askew (Foot): Questionable
-RB Kevan Barlow (Thigh): Questionable
-CB David Barrett (Hip): Questionable
-WR Laveranues Coles (Jaw): Questionable
-CB Andre Dyson (Knee): Questionable
-FB James Hodgins (Knee): Questionable
-C Nick Mangold (Thigh): Questionable
-OL Brandon Moore (Ankle): Questionable
-S Kerry Rhodes (Knee): Questionable
-DL Dewayne Robertson (Knee): Questionable
-LB Matt Chatham (Foot): Probable
-RB Cedric Houston (Calf): Probable
-QB Chad Pennington (Calf): Probable
-DB Eric Smith (Foot): Probable
-DE Bryan Thomas (Shoulder): Probable

Game time is at 1:00PM on Sunday, nationally-televised on CBS with local radio coverage on 1050 ESPN radio and WCRN 104.3 on Long Island. Be sure to check back to after the game for a complete recap.