This Sunday’s game in Foxboro apparently isn’t as big of a deal for Patriots head coach Bill Belichick as it is for Jets head coach Rex Ryan.
Starting on Monday, Ryan made it clear this is a big game for his Jets. Not only are both teams 3-3 and tied along with Buffalo and Miami atop the AFC East, this is the Jets’ historic rival just a handful of hours up I-95.
It is ho-hum stuff from Belichick but therein lies the difference between the two teams.
“Of course, all the division games are important,” Belichick said. “But we can only play one game at a time and it’s the next game, so it’s a big game.”
The Jets come into the game very much the underdog. Last year, they were swept by the Patriots and beaten by an average of 15 points. Since the Jets last won the AFC East in 2002, the Patriots have taken the division an astounding eight times.
Ryan is predicting a “slugfest all the way,” but Belichick isn’t buying the rivalry angle being played up.
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“The only thing that matters is this week’s game and that’s all we’re focused on. We’re not really that concerned about what did or didn’t happen some other year or some other game,” Belichick said. “A lot of different players are playing and Jets have a new offensive coordinator from the last time we played them. So, I don’t think that really has much bearing on the game.”