Jim Nantz and Phil Simms are scheduled to broadcast Sunday's playoff game between the Patriots and Jets on CBS.
Some thoughts from Simms (supplied by CBS):
"As the Jets prepare to face the Patriots this weekend in one of the AFC wild card games, the big talk of course is about how the Jets beat New England on the road on November 12. You can never overlook head-to-head matchups (these teams split the season series, with New England winning in New York in September), but you always have to keep in mind that the environment they played in the last time will not be the same in a playoff game. If youíre going to study head-to-head results when assessing the playoffs, you have to consider the situations. What was the sense of urgency for both teams? What was going on at the time they last met? Hereís what we know about the last time these teams played: The Jets were coming off a bye week, and with a 4-4 record they may have had a little more sense of urgency. The Patriots were 6-2, coming off a Sunday night loss to the Colts. It was probably a little tough for the Patriots to rebound emotionally from that game. The Jets, meanwhile, were mentally and physically fresh. The bye week didnít result in major changes, but it did give them extra time to straighten out some things. Players had a chance to get more settled with the new coaching staff and new system. Especially for new staffs, there comes a time when players and coaches seem to get on the same page. I donít want to say the players give in, but itís more like they come to an agreement. Itís not just coming together -- it really is coming to agreement -- the players finally buy into what the coaches are saying and asking them to do. This can sometimes be especially tough for veteran players -- to indoctrinate themselves to a new system and new way of doing things. Subconsciously, they fight it. They think, 'Itís worked pretty well for me this other way. Why change?' Barriers have to be broken down in the player-coach relationship.
"So I donít look at the Jetsí 17-14 win over New England on November 12 as the turning point for the Jets. I look at the bye week that preceded that game as their turning point. It was when the Jets got things corrected both physically and mentally. We didnít only see the results in that win over the Pats. We saw it the rest of the season, as they went 6-2 the rest of the way. They were a different team from that bye week on. The defense had more of an identity, and the entire team became more consistent. In this case, the clichť is true: When players and coaches are on the same page, it shows on the field. Thatís what weíve seen with the Jets.
"Iím excited about broadcasting the Jets-Patriots game on CBS. We all know the issues -- division rivals, the Eric Mangini-Bill Belichick connection. Familiarity breeds contempt, and contempt is a wonderful thing in football. It brings an added dimension to the game -- a little more of that anger, sense of urgency. Whatever you want to call it, this game has it.
"One thing that will be different is that this game will be played on Field Turf -- not the muddy, slippery, nasty field it was played on last time.
"As for the Patriots, Iíll just say this: they have no glaring weaknesses. If you look at each team in the playoffs and try to pick out the most obvious strengths and weaknesses of each team, I think itís pretty easy to find the weaknesses. OK, so quick -- whatís the glaring weakness for New England? I think many people would say itís their secondary. OK, so hereís my question: Are the Patriots giving up huge chunks of passing yards to their opponents? No, theyíre not. I look at the New England Patriots and I donít see any glaring weaknesses. Of course, when a team loses in the playoffs, its true weakness is usually exposed. So weíll learn a little something about these teams after this weekend. In terms of emotions and urgency, every team in the playoffs is on an even field."