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A different team, a whole new ball game

The Patriots are listed as nine-point favorites in Sunday’s AFC divisional playoff game. And after that 45-3 shellacking the Jets took the last time they traveled to New England, some fans would take a nine-point loss.

The Patriots are listed as nine-point favorites in Sunday’s AFC divisional playoff game. And after that 45-3 shellacking the Jets took the last time they traveled to New England, some fans would take a nine-point loss.

The Jets, though, made it a point this week to define themselves as a changed team since Week 13. Here are three reasons why they’ll beat the Pats:

1. Flying high

The Jets couldn’t be any more confident after last week’s win over Peyton Manning and the Colts.

Gang Green has won three of four, including an impressive and gritty win at Pittsburgh and a blowout over Buffalo to close out the regular season.

“Right now, it’s a brand new season for us and every week is a fresh chance,” tight end Dustin Keller said.

The Jets took a similar approach last year en route to riding their sixth seed all the way to the AFC championship. It’s a formula that works for this team and can be used again.

2. Mo and motivation

Jets coach Rex Ryan has momentum from finally beating Manning. What better time to finally beat Belichick in the playoffs?

“It’s about him against me and that’s what it’s going to come down to. When you look at it, both teams are very even,” Ryan said earlier this week. “This is going to be about me raising my level against Bill Belichick.”

The Jets have vowed to simplify a defensive scheme that was too cumbersome in Week 13 and will go with their ground game to try and keep the Patriots offense off the field. If they control the clock this time, maybe Tom Brady won’t light them up for 326 yards and four TDs.

3. Pound the rock

If the Jets win, all credit will go to Ryan and his successful trash talking. Truth is, the game has to be won on the legs of LaDainian Tomlinson, who ran for 82 yards and two scores last week.

“It’s our fault whatever happens,” Tomlinson said. “Win or lose.”

 
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