Once the game starts this Sunday, all that will matter between the Patriots and Jets is the scoreboard. One team will win, the other will lose. The pregame hype and inflammatory quotes fade to dust, forgotten immediately upon opening kickoff. That's the weight of the playoffs. Pregame antics can overshadow a regular season contest before it occurs. But they become, rightfully, a curious sideshow in the face of these stakes.

A whole roster of players, who dedicate their lives and bodies in the pursuit of success on the field, will either advance or taste uncompromising, irredeemable defeat. The coaches will either...

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