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Newsday.com

Jets' AFC East rivals have coaching edge

Anthony Rieber

9:25 AM EST, December 15, 2008

Two weeks to go. The Jets vs. the Patriots vs. the Dolphins.

One of those teams will win the AFC East. The other two might not even make the playoffs.

What do the Jets have going for them? Well, they hold the tiebreaker, so if they win their last two games, they win the division. Simple as that.

What do the Jets have going against them? No, this isn't about that tired Same Old Jets routine. These are new Jets, and a collapse in 1985 is not relevant today.

What is relevant, though, is the huge advantage the Patriots and Dolphins have over the Jets in one crucial area:

Coaching.

Forget Jets vs. Patriots vs. Dolphins. The championship of the AFC East might just come down to Mangini vs. Belichick vs. Parcells. And who do you like in that dogfight?

(Yes, we know, Tony Sparano is the Dolphins coach, not Bill Parcells. As the kids say, 'Whatev.' We all know the Tuna is running the show in Miami, much to the delight of Fish fans everywhere.)

The Jets are led by Mangini, who has had three seasons to prove whether he is a good coach or an overmatched automaton. Which one do you vote for? If you're a Jets fan, trying making anyone believe you weren't ready to dial up WFAN or start typing obscenities about Mangini into a Jets chat room when it looked like they were going to lose to the woeful Bills on Sunday.

And Mangini has absolutely nothing to do with that "Miracle in the Meadowlands" 31-27 win. Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny and Dick Jauron gave the Jets that win when the Bills coach called for a pass play when all he had to do was run out the clock. As my colleague Wallace Matthews pointed out in his column today, "The Jets did not find a way to win; the Bills manufactured a way to lose."

Left to his own devices, Mangini would today be explaining why the Jets lost to a reeling team at home with a division crown in their sights instead of taking bows for a win he had little to do with.

Mangini's post-game press conference on Sunday was a study of self-delusion. He seemed satisfied. I doubt Belichick or Parcells/Sparano would have been. The Jets played a lot of bad football on Sunday and won thanks to bad coaching on the other side. They were lucky. Sometimes it's better to be lucky than good.

More of the time it's better to be good.

Belichick is good. Real good. You think the Jets (or Giants, for that matter) could have survived the loss of their franchise quarterback and still gone 9-5? Belichick might be an everyday candidate to be Keith Olbermann's "Worst Person in the World," but he knows how to demand excellence. Ditto Parcells, who won't win Miss Congeniality but has turned the Dolphins from a laughingstock 1-15 to a potential 11-win team in one season with spaghetti-armed Chad Pennington at quarterback and the untested Sparano in the coach's office.

Mangini? He's been handed Brett Favre and millions and millions in free-agent talent and one of the softest schedules in the league and he still needed an excruciatingly dumb call from Jauron to save his carcass.

If Jets players were allowed to speak freely in Mangini's paranoid world, they would tell you the coach hasn't completely earned their trust, either. Again, if you're a Jets fan, you know he hasn't earned yours.

Wait until Favre leaves the Jets, perhaps after this season, and you'll find out how he really feels about the coach. Betcha it won't be flattering, especially if the Jets don't win out in the last two weeks and clinch the division.

Prediction: They won't. In a dogfight, take the toughest dogs. That's Belichick and Parcells, not Mangini.

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take a look at this..mind boggling and jauron throws the ball

Buffalo had rushed for 187 yards and a 5.8-yard average against the NFL's fourth-ranked run defense.

Whats mind boggling is how the Jets were the Fourth ranked run defense in the entire league.

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We are leading the division, we beat some tough teams including the Titans who have the best record in the league. I have never heard such whining after a win in my life. Parcells never apologized for a win, no matter how ugly. There are no moral victories or defeats. We are what are record says we are, first place in the AFC East. And when we win our last two games and go 11-5 after a 4-12 last year I hope guys like this idiot Newsweek writer owns up to how stupid they were.

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