On Monday night, on a cold, windy evening on the frozen tundra of Gillette Stadium, two AFC East behemoths will stand toe-to-toe in a battle for supremacy.
What? Too much hyperbole?
Fine, but when the Jets visit the Patriots on Monday night, it could very well be the game of the year, as the two 9-2 teams add another memorable chapter to their rivalry. The winner will be in the driver's seat in the AFC East, and the loser could end the year with a 13-3 record and still have to play a road game in the playoffs.
There's certainly quite a bit at stake in this one game.
Still, it is just one regular-season game, and Tom Brady stressed on Thursday that it's not the Super Bowl.
Yet, the winner of this one game will have the easier path to earning a bye for the first week of the playoffs, a respite that's an immeasurable advantage in reaching the actual Super Bowl in February. A loss on Monday means an uphill climb in the final four weeks, one that will have the losing team relying on the other to drop a few contests down the stretch, and, as mentioned before, would likely end in playing playoff games on the road. That's something that neither team wants.