Jets Big Underdogs Versus Unbeaten Pats
When you're 13-0, chances are that you will be favorite to win each of the remaining three regular season games. Factor in that the next opponent will be the 3-10 Jets, the same team that reported the streaking New England Patriots to the NFL for video taping their defensive signals in the season opener, and some of the experts are predicting a lot of points scored on one side.
That would be New England's, who are coached by Bill Belichick, who has no love lost for the Jets' head man, Eric Mangini. "I know there are a lot of external things associated with that game and I appreciate that," said Mangini. "When you start looking at other elements, whether it's that element or the (point) spread or whatever the case may be, you lose track of what's important, which is getting ready for all the different problems they create in all the different areas and that's what we have to do collectively and individually."
The point spread that Mangini was referring to is currently up to 23 and a half points, basically unheard of at this level. It is the highest betting line ever put out by Las Vegas Sports Consultants for a NFL game.
The anticipation of a blowout of that magnitude is directly related to the 'Spygate' incident and the Patriots running up the score against opponents during this great run towards immortality. Mangini doesn't buy into the theory that New England is playing the way they are because of the incident. "I think that New England is an extremely well coached team with a lot of talented players that play well together and do a good job of focusing on the opponent and the next game," he said. "Their success is based off of that."
Jets second-year center Nick Mangold is not concerned with any of the talk about spreads and high scores. "Vegas can pick the numbers from anywhere," the Ohio State product said. "We are focused on watching the film and seeing what they are doing and what we can do. (We will) go out there and practice and then play. When it comes down to it, we don't have time to worry about it."
Critics around the league have hinted that Mangini, a former assistant coach under Belichick, must have known or at one time have been a part of the illegal video taping while with the Patriots. By him making an issue out of the game in September, it may not only have been hypocritical on his part, but something that a young coach should not do towards a veteran with three Super Bowl rings.
"Well, with that whole matter, it's a matter that's handled by the league," Mangini explained. "It's a league issue. I really said all that I can say on that. I understand there's a lot of interest on it, but it's no different than what we talked about the first time." Typical Mangini, saying a lot, but actually saying very little.
A year after winning 10 games and qualifying for a wild card playoff spot, the Knicks have only beaten two teams this season, with the winless Miami Dolphins being victimized twice. Late last year, Gang Green went into Foxborough and beat the Pats in a close contest played in bad weather conditions, which are predicted again for Sunday.
"You make the necessary adjustments," starting quarterback Kellen Clemens said. "We went up there last year, and the elements were certainly not great."
Mangini has been preparing his team for any weather, especially the kind that you get at this point in the season. "We always work in the elements, and it's something I like to do, because you simulate that."
This is the Jets' Super Bowl, the only game that has any meaning after December on a lost season. With any luck, they will keep the game semi-close, but still not come close to winning. Losing to the probable Super Bowl champions is nothing to be ashamed of, but beating them - even in the regular season - is something that should be remembered a lifetime.