INDIANAPOLIS – The Patriots can start the game planning now.
They will meet the Jets for the third time this season at 4:30 p.m. Sunday in an AFC divisional playoff game at Gillette Stadium after New York pulled off a 17-16 victory over the Colts tonight at Lucas Oil Stadium.
The Jets beat the Patriots 28-14 in Week 2 at the New Meadowlands. The Patriots returned the favor — and then some — in a Week 13 showdown for the AFC East title by winning 45-3.
What did Jets coach Rex Ryan have to say about meeting the Patriots again? Surprisingly nothing.
“Right now I’m just going to focus on the Colts,” Ryan said. “I think we earned about 12 hours of enjoying this victory. This is a great football team. We beat them at their place, beat Peyton Manning at their place. I don’t know if that’s been done a whole heck of a lot. I know it hasn’t been done by a team I’ve been on so I’m just going to focus on the Colts right now.”
After beating the Bengals to set up the showdown with the Patriots in Week 13, Ryan’s gums were already flapping.
“Our football team believes we can beat anybody, and we’re going to prove it,” Ryan said. “We’ve won eight in a row on the road, and we plan on making it nine.
“Clearly, they’re the best team in football. That’s what all the experts say, except me.”
But after knocking off the Colts, the Jets seemed to go out of their way – possibly on post-game orders from Ryan – not to say anything incendiary about the Patriots.
But it was clear that the 45-3 blowout, some perceived trash talking by the Patriots, and throws late in the game will be used by the motivation by the Jets this week.
“Late in the fourth [quarter] the Pats were talking and yapping,” running back LaDainian Tomlinson said. “I said, ‘You got us but we’ll be back. We’ll be back.’ ”
Jets linebacker David Harris said they haven’t forgotten that game.
“Of course I’ve thought about it,” he said. “That left a bad taste that hasn’t gone away.”
And one more late entry from tight end Dustin Keller: “We’ve been wanting the Patriots for a while now. Ever since that game.”
It almost doesn’t matter that Ryan didn’t say anything about the Patriots last night. He gave quarterback Tom Brady all the bulletin board material he needed last week when Ryan said Brady “likes to think” he studies as much as Manning.
Brady probably pumped his fist in his Back Bay home when Folk’s kick went through.
If you thought Brady was motivated in Week 13 — when he threw for 326 yards and four touchdowns in a game the Patriots had to win to take the division and a first-round bye — you haven’t seen anything yet.