Pats Look to Extend Road Winning Streak Against Jets The New England Patriots and New York Jets are about to play for the 100th time, and in the fashion of a true rivalry, they’ve been dead even through the first 99 contests. The Patriots are 49-49-1 against the Jets, including 24-25 on the road. New England has won 13 of its last 16 meetings with the Jets, and the Pats have won eight consecutive road contests in the series.

WHEN AND WHERE
Sunday, Sept. 20, 2009, 1 p.m.
Giants Stadium, East Rutherford, N.J.

RECORDS
Patriots 1-0 (1-0 AFC East)
Jets 1-0 (0-0 AFC East)

SKINNY

Despite head coach Eric Mangini’s departure from New York, there is still plenty of rocket fuel to stoke the fire between the Jets and Patriots. New coach Rex Ryan’s excitable personality has really rubbed off on his players, and they’ve started a one-way war of words through the media as a result.

There’s no Spygate revenge story or reporters on hand specifically to cover the postgame handshakes, but the shouts from the Meadowlands have echoed all the way up Route 95 to the walls of Gillette Stadium. The Patriots have no issues admitting they hear all of the talk coming from the Jets, and running back Kevin Faulk even noted it gets brought up during team meetings.

“It’s said one time, and that’s it,” Faulk said. “Coach [Bill Belichick] brings it up, and that’s it. He lets us know, ‘Hey, look, this is what’s said. Don’t worry about it. We’ve got to be able to execute on the field. It’s not anything we’re concerned about.’”

Surely, as Patriots quarterback Tom Brady said, talk is cheap, and the only way to validate six days worth of claims is through one day of actual substance.

PROJECTED STARTERS

Patriots

Offense
Quarterback: Tom Brady
Wide Receiver: Randy Moss
Wide Receiver: Wes Welker
Wide Receiver: Joey Galloway
Running Back: Fred Taylor
Tight End: Ben Watson
Left Tackle: Matt Light
Left Guard: Logan Mankins
Center: Dan Koppen
Right Guard: Stephen Neal
Right Tackle: Nick Kaczur

Defense
Left Defensive End: Ty Warren
Defensive Tackle: Vince Wilfork
Defensive Tackle: Ron Brace
Right Defensive End: Jarvis Green
Left Outside Linebacker: Pierre Woods
Middle Linebacker: Gary Guyton
Right Outside Linebacker: Adalius Thomas
Left Cornerback: Shawn Springs
Right Cornerback: Leigh Bodden
Strong Safety: Brandon Meriweather
Free Safety: James Sanders

Specialists
Kicker: Stephen Gostkowski
Punter: Chris Hanson
Long Snapper: Jake Ingram

Jets
Offense
Quarterback: Mark Sanchez
Wide Receiver: Jerricho Cotchery
Wide Receiver: Chansi Stuckey
Running Back: Thomas Jones
Fullback: Tony Richardson
Tight End: Dustin Keller
Left Tackle: D’Brickashaw Ferguson
Left Guard: Alan Faneca
Center: Nick Mangold
Right Guard: Brandon Moore
Right Tackle: Damien Woody

Defense
Left Defensive End: Mike DeVito
Nose Tackle: Kris Jenkins
Right Defensive End: Marques Douglas
Left Outside Linebacker: Bryan Thomas
Left Inside Linebacker: Bart Scott
Right Inside Linebacker: David Harris
Right Outside Linebacker: Vernon Gholston
Left Cornerback: Darrelle Revis
Right Cornerback: Lito Sheppard
Strong Safety: Jim Leonhard
Free Safety: Kerry Rhodes

Specialists
Kicker: Jay Feely
Punter: Steve Weatherford
Long Snapper: James Dearth

STAT SHEET

Patriots

This is the Patriots’ last regular-season game at the Meadowlands, as a new stadium is opening in 2010 for the Jets and Giants.

The Patriots have held the Jets to 17 or fewer points in seven of their last eight games in New Jersey.

The Patriots have won 399 games.

Wes Welker caught 12 passes against the Bills, and he’s the only player in Patriots history with three career games with at least 12 receptions.

Tom Brady is 12-2 as a starter against the Jets. He has thrown for 3,052 yards, 17 touchdowns and six interceptions in those games. Brady has never thrown more than one interception in a game against the Jets.

Randy Moss recorded his 60th career 100-yard game Monday against the Buffalo Bills, moving him into second place all-time in that category. Jerry Rice has an NFL-record 76 100-yard games. The Patriots are 14-0 when Moss has 100 receiving yards in a game.

The Patriots are 18-0 in regular-season games when Brady and Moss are each in the starting lineup.

Brady, who has thrown 199 career touchdown passes, has won 21 consecutive regular-season games.

Brady recorded his 24th career 300-yard game against the Bills, and the Patriots are 22-2 in those games. Drew Bledsoe has a franchise-record 26 300-yard games.

Adalius Thomas is one of five active linebackers with at least 50 career sacks. (Mike Vrabel is another.)

Jets

Mark Sanchez passed for 272 yards Sunday. It was the second highest passing total for a rookie quarterback on opening day in NFL history (Peyton Manning had 302 yards in his debut), and it’s the highest total for a rookie who won on opening day.

The Jets, who returned their entire starting offensive line this season, didn’t allow a sack against the Texans.

Cornerback Darrelle Revis held Houston Texans wide receiver Andre Johnson to four catches for 35 yards Sunday.

Thomas Jones rushed for 106 of his 107 yards in the second half against Houston.

Linebacker Bart Scott had a team-high four quarterback hits Sunday.

Linebacker David Harris had a team-high 12 tackles Sunday.

Cornerback Lito Sheppard has never intercepted a Tom Brady pass, despite Brady saying Wednesday, “I’ve thrown plenty of interceptions to him in the past.” Sheppard does have 19 career picks.

Jay Feely has made 15 consecutive field-goal attempts.

BLACK AND BLUE

Patriots
(From Thursday’s practice report)

Linebacker Jerod Mayo did not practice with a right knee inury and will not play.

Quarterback Tom Brady (right shoulder) fully participated and will play.

Center Dan Connolly (back) had limited participation.

Right guard Stephen Neal (back) had limited participation.

Wide receiver Julian Edelman (ankle) had limited participation.

Linebacker Rob Ninkovich (calf) had limited participation.

Defensive lineman Myron Pryor (calf) had limited participation

Wide receiver Matthew Slater (left elbow) had limited participation.

Linebacker Adalius Thomas (foot) had limited participation.

Wide receiver Wes Welker (knee) had limited participation.

Cornerback Terrence Wheatley (knee) had limited participation.

Jets
(From Thursday’s injury report)

Quarterback Eric Ainge (illness) did not practice.

Quarterback Kellen Clemens (right elbow) fully participated.

Running back Shonn Greene (rib) fully participated.

Defensive lineman Mike DeVito (hamstring) fully participated.

Linebacker Bryan Thomas (ankle) fully participated.

Linebacker Jamaal Westerman (quadriceps) fully participated.

Defensive tackle Kris Jenkins (back) had limited participation.

Defensive lineman Sione Pouha (ankle) had limited participation.

Offensive lineman Damien Woody (illness) had limited participation.

Wide receiver Wallace Wright (hamstring) had limited participation.

THIS DATE IN PATRIOTS HISTORY
In 2007, thousands of fans attend a ceremony outside The Hall at Patriot Place to re-induct 12 members into the Patriots Hall of Fame. Former tight end Ben Coates was also inducted into the team’s Hall of Fame.

OVERHEARD
“Well, we’re going release him after this game. No, you guys don’t take to that one too kindly, I don’t think. But no, we think he’s got a chance to be a good quarterback. Our scouting department had a very high grade on O’Connell when he came out, and we just thought it was an opportunity to pick up a good football player, and that’s what we did, regardless of the position.”
— Jets head coach Rex Ryan’s joking response when asked about his long-term plans for quarterback Kevin O’Connell, who was released by the Patriots during the preseason. After the Detroit Lions claimed O’Connell, they traded him to the Jets, who have three young quarterbacks ahead of him on the depth chart.

PRESS BOX

Patriots

Patriots must adjust without Mayo.

The ProJo goes up close with Bill Belichick

Patriots, Jets take on personality of their head coaches

Jets

Rex Ryan's rowdiness riles up the Jets.

Kerry Rhodes says Jets want to embarrass Patriots.

Hall of Famer Joe Namath changes his opinion about Sanchez

NFL

Kurt Warner looks to meet high expectations in Arizona.

Adrian Peterson pulls a stolen car prank on teammate Sidney Rice.

Tough coaching paying off for Jets, 49ers.

OUTLOOK

As a whole, the Patriots are a deeper, more well-rounded team than the Jets, but the matchups may tell a different story. Each team is stacked on one side of the ball, and that will present some interesting battles when the Patriots’ offense hits the field against the Jets’ defense.

For the Patriots to offset the Jets’ intense blitzing schemes — they’ll bring it as ruthlessly as any team in the league, and they prefer to blitz by overloading one side of the ball — they’ve got to execute fluid pass protection to allow Tom Brady to get into a rhythm. Sunday’s success is as much about homework as it is anything else.

The Patriots will put in plenty of work in team meetings in order to understand the Jets’ tendencies. (As a hypothetical example, the Patriots will know that, on a third-and-long, Rex Ryan’s defenses have blitzed 80 percent of the time, and it will come from the right side of the defense 65 percent of the time.) On the field, Patriots tight end Michael Matthews said players will keep an eye on the Jets’ safeties and linebackers. If they start rolling to a certain side of the field, it’s easier to identify the type of blitz the Jets are about to bring. From there, Brady and center Dan Koppen will make their calls, and it’s up to each player to execute their assignment.

Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez has received praise for leading the Jets to a season-opening victory against the Houston Texans, and by statistical measure, he is credited with the victory, not the Jets’ defense. Sanchez was efficient, completing 18-of-31 passes for 272 yards, one touchdown and one interception, but he got away with a few ugly mistakes early in the game. The Texans couldn’t capitalize on some errant throws that should have led to turnovers, so Sanchez has to be smarter against the Patriots, whose defense is much more difficult to handle than Houston’s.

Expect the Patriots’ defense to sell out at the line of scrimmage, really ganging up to stop the dangerous running attack of Thomas Jones and Leon Washington, while attempting to take away the short passing game.  

This will be a low-scoring game that shouldn’t be decided by any more than one possession.