As he spoke with the media in anticipation of Sunday's matchup, the Jets quarterback was respectful of the tradition in New England but unwilling to grovel to Bill Belichick's squad.
"We want to be tough," Sanchez said, "and we want to be as physical as possible and [coach Rex Ryan] didn't want us bowing down to anyone. … That's the kind of mentality that every team should have, and it's obvious on Sundays because teams come after you and that's what we want, especially in a divisional game like this."
Sanchez fared extremely well in his first career start against the Texans last weekend — he was 18-for-31 for 272 yards, a touchdown and an interception — but that was the Texans. He has never faced a Bill Belichick-coached team before, and he knows it. False confidence should not be an issue come Sunday.
"[Belichick] is a renowned defensive coach, him and Coach [Dean] Pees, they are great at scheming," Sanchez said. "They know how to give quarterbacks fits and disrupt game plans so we need to be prepared for the best. They have a great situation going over there. They've been tough for a long time since I've known them. So it's going to be a fun matchup for us and an exciting matchup — a big challenge and we're excited about it."
When asked whether Sunday's game could serve as a measuring stick for the Jets, Sanchez said, "I don't know about that. I think we want to feel like this is an internal measuring stick, each week. … I don't feel like we have to measure up against one particular team. It's about us, competing every day and making each other better and trying to put on a show every Sunday."
Sanchez, a Southern Cal alum, is plenty familiar with rivalries — the Trojans don't exactly have friendly relationships with Notre Dame, UCLA, Cal, and the list goes on. But is he ready for Patriots-Jets?
"I think [the rivalry] is one of those things I'll come to know here very shortly," he said. "This is a big time divisional opponent, and [I'll] just keep learning on the fly like I did last week. … These games carry a lot of weight in this league and it's my job to get that sense of this rivalry and understand that I need to be at my best, just like every game."
So who's the best in the AFC? Perhaps we'll find out come Sunday.