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Disdain for Patriots running high for Jets..REDZONE


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FLORHAM PARK, N.J. - To words such as "big," "huge," and "monumental" already used in discussing Thursday night's first-place showdown between the Jets and Patriots, add another one:


"They obviously don't like us and we really don't like them, either," tight end Chris Baker said yesterday.

That, of course, should come as no surprise, though the festering enmity between these two organizations in the past has mainly confined itself to the higher-ups and, of course, the coaches

But the bad feelings have filtered down to the players and Baker added something that will always add kindling.

"I don't think they really respect us," he said.

If that's true, it in large measure probably has to do with the Jets (6-3) having, to put it politely, limited success against the Patriots (6-3) in the Bill Belichick Era. The Jets have lost 13 of the last 15 meetings between the teams, a statistic defensive end Shaun Ellis, who has been around for all of those games, is tired of hearing.

"Maybe that's the problem: You all keep bringing up the negative stuff," Ellis said to a small group of reporters standing around his locker yesterday. "We don't need to be constantly reminded every time we play this team how bad we've been against them. We're trying to get it fixed and hopefully. we can get it done this week."

Ellis said it good-naturedly but there was a serious tone in his voice. He was one of the more disconsolate players in the locker room after the Jets' 19-10 loss to the Patriots on Sept. 14 at the Meadowlands, a game in which Matt Cassel made his first start replacing Tom Brady.

"It's always a hard-fought game and they always come out on top," Ellis said after that game. "It seems like we're always on the other end of the stick."

Right guard Brandon Moore put it in simpler terms after the loss: "Same old story."

"We haven't been successful against them," Moore said yesterday. "We definitely don't like losing as much as we have to them, but like I said before, this is a new game, a different team."

The Jets hope so. They've been on quite a ride since that Week 2 loss, going into their bye week 2-2 and coming back to play poorly against three bad teams - the Bengals, Raiders and Chiefs. But victories over the Bills and Rams the last two weeks have players' confidence levels soaring, just in time for a game that could go a long way in determining the AFC East champion.

"I think we're definitely a different team than we were in September," Baker said. "We have a feel for our own identity as far as what we're trying to get done."

"It's going to be a good one," said right tackle Damien Woody, who played for the Patriots from 1999-2003. "This late in the season, you're playing for first place in your division ... Everybody knows what's at stake."

Baker specified it.

"There's so much on the line," Baker said. "We haven't had a game, except for the playoff game a couple years back that a lot was riding on the game. They weren't do-or-die. But we're looking at it as a big game. It's a must-win, the way we look at it. We have to win this game to take control of this division."

Coach Eric Mangini stays away from weighing the importance of one game against another, and stayed in character yesterday. He might be excited on the inside, but gave no indication of that yesterday.

"What I'm excited about is playing two games like we played where there was consistency, where there was complementary football, where we minimized turnovers, where we've been able to minimize mistakes, generate turnovers, run the football effectively," Mangini said. "Those things excite me. I understand the environment we're going into, I understand the team that we're playing against and I understand it's a good opportunity for us. But maximizing our prep is really my focus right now."

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Forget about respecting the Jets. They don't respect the sport.

You guys slay me....buying into the media hype.

You know what I think? I think the fans are far more into this "smack" than the players are and the media knows it. You know what else I think? I think the players regurgitate what the HC drills home. It's obvious that Mangini is playing the "disrespect" card -he learned from the master.

Does anyone else find the humor in Madmike pontificating about respect. I mean, really? Are you kidding me? Bwaaaaaahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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