Welcome to Season 3, Episode 15 of the Unconventional Preview, a serious-but-lighthearted, nostalgia-tinted look at the Patriots’ weekly matchup that runs right here every Friday afternoon. The 11-3 Patriots are coming off a 41-13 rout of the Dolphins that avenged their loss in the season-opener. Now they take on the lowly Jets, who at 3-11 trail the Patriots by just eight games in the AFC East standings with two to play. I believe that means they are mathematically eliminated. Kick it off, Gostkowski, and let’s get this thing started already …
Rex Ryan: Actually, I probably won’t pay any attention to Ryan until next year when he’s flashing those giant Matt Dillon/There’s Something About Mary chompers from a Fox or ESPN pregame studio set. But I just wanted to take a moment to point out here that one of his sad laments as we near the end of his Jets tenure is that he never had his own Tom Brady. Which in a vacuum is a fair point — he did have some pretty lousy quarterbacks — though that whine overlooks one thing. If he had his own Tom Brady — a late-round, physically unimposing quarterback with an uncommon desire to succeed — Ryan never would never have noticed and stuck with his own Michael Bishop instead.
Darrelle Revis: There’s been sort of a fun debate going around this week regarding who has been the Patriots’ most valuable player. I’d rank them Brady-Gronk-Revis, but I will say this about our bronze medalist. I’ve never seen a Patriots cornerback play this well, and that includes Mike Haynes, who for my money is the greatest ever at the position. Watching him play for the Patriots must hurt Jets fans even more than it used to crush us to watch Curtis Martin in green-and-white during the Bill Parcells/Pete Carroll years.
Gronk: Like I’ve said in previous UCPs, he gets this spot until further notice. But one note: Gronk is within striking distance of career highs in catches (he has 76, 14 shy of his personal best set in 2011) and receiving yards (1,093, 234 from his 1,327 in ’12) and he’s already set a career standard for targets. Given what he’s overcome — and that it took him a couple of weeks to shake the rust off his gears — he deserves all the praise and accolades he gets for the season that he has put together.
THERE IS NOTHING MORE QUINTESSENTIALLY ’70s THAN …
… well, actually, there’s nothing more quintessentially ’70s than Cheryl Ladd singing an awkward, eardrum-abusing duet of an Andy Gibb song with Donny Osmond.
What a warped decade. But a close second is Jets legend Joe Namath and Farrah Fawcett all but saying “I wanna kiss you” in a shaving cream commercial.
Can you imagine Gronk, our modern-day master of the double entendre, watching this?
“Creamed … [pause] … Huh-huh-huh. Creamed. Shaving cream. Huh-huh.”
By the way, in terms of Charlie’s Angels, I bet Gronk would agree with me: Cheryl > Farrah.
COMPLETELY RANDOM FOOTBALL CARD
Looking at the Jets’ list of all-time passing leaders almost gives you sympathy for the franchise and their fans .. at least until you remember that obnoxious Fireman Ed guy and the packs of cretins that roam their stadium. Then you realize they kind of deserve to root for a team that has the likes of Ken O’Brien (second), Richard Todd (third), Mark Sanchez (sixth) and Geno Smith (ninth, not even two unimpressive years into his career) among its top 10 quarterbacks in terms of career passing yards. What a collection of stiffs.
PREDICTION, OR THERE’S ABOUT TO BE PLENTY OF TIME FOR GOING TO GET %*$&%#@ SNACKS
This is probably Rex Ryan’s swan song in this supposed rivalry, and the Jets did play the Patriots tough in New England’s 27-25 victory in Week 7. But the circumstances have changed since then. The Patriots look like a Super Bowl favorite. The Jets … look like the Jets usually do in December. Some will say they have nothing to lose. That’s incorrect. They have a game Sunday to lose, and another next week too. They may want to give Ryan a victory to remember over Belichick. But they won’t. They had their chance earlier in the season. Now it’s time to get out of the way and let the contenders play. Patriots 45, Jets 3.