Rex Ryan's Jets survived the Wild Card round with a game-winning field goal against Peyton Manning and the Colts. Leading up to the Playoffs, the outspoken Ryan has called each match-up "personal," saying each game has significant meaning to him.
With Peyton Manning becoming Ryan's newest "personal" victim, the Jets will focus their attention on Bill Belichick and the New England Patriots. Ryan has named Patriots head coach Bill Belichick as his newest "personal" target.
However, do the Jets have what it takes to knock off the team with the best regular season record in the NFL this season? Here are 10 reasons that say they do and why this wouldn't be the most shocking upset of the 2011 NFL Playoffs.
In Week 2, the Jets' defense dominated Tom Brady and the Patriots, holding them to just 14 points while the offense experienced enough success to pick up the 28-14 win.
However, the tables were turned in a big way when the Patriots pummeled the Jets in Week 13, shutting down Mark Sanchez while winning in a 45-3 blowout.
So with both teams having defeated each other soundly, why would the Jets be able to win against the Patriots now? Because Rex Ryan is putting in the work to back-up his words. All the hype last week surrounding Jets-Colts was the research being done by Peyton Manning and the counter research and bold words put forth by Ryan.
Fans who watched the Patriots dismantle the Jets in Week 13 are expecting more of the same, but they shouldn't place their bets just yet. Ryan proved he can put in the work, shutting down arguably the smartest QB in the NFL to date, save Tom Brady and his lack of interceptions.
Make no mistake, this game will be much closer than most think, and the Jets stand a strong chance in this game.
There's plenty of talk this time around surrounding the weather conditions of each game. A lot of times when tropical or coastal teams like the Dolphins or Chargers are in the playoffs, many cite playing in cold weather as the reason these teams can't win.
However, the New York Jets are certainly used to the cold weather, and they will be prepared to perform in cold conditions.
When the Patriots soundly defeated the Jets in Week 13, analysts and experts, including the commentators, said the Jets seemed frozen and affected by the weather. It doesn't seem likely a team from New York will be affected by the weather in Boston, so it shouldn't be a factor.
Tomlinson came into this season having something to prove. The Chargers released the biggest name in their franchise with hopes of moving on to bigger and better things. Now, just short of 1,000 yards on the season, Tomlinson is a vital piece of the Jets' offense.
Mark Sanchez uses Tomlinson to balance out the offense and will use his running back all day to disguise passing plays. Also, the Patriots are average in the league in rushing defense, ranking 11th. They average a little over 100 yards allowed per game, so the best way for the Jets to get ahead seems to be through the air.
If Tomlinson does indeed step up, passing lanes will become more open, and the Jets will neutralize a solid Pats defense.
Calm down, the title actually makes sense. While Brady and the Patriots rolled up the score on the Jets the second time around, the Jets were able to force Brady into two interceptions, half of the Patriots QB's season total.
It is guaranteed the Jets have watched the tapes of their successes against Brady multiple times, and if the secondary, led by Darrell Revis, can do it again, the Patriots offense may be in trouble.
Aside from a 38-point allowance to the Chicago Bears, the Jets have only allowed 34 points in the last four games, including only 17 points to the Pittsburgh Steelers.
The Jets have one of the best overall defenses in the NFL, ranking sixth in passing yards allowed and third in opponent rushing yards. The blowout loss from Week 13 might have been a fluke, and expect the usual Jets defense to show up against Brady and the Patriots.
Jason Taylor has been a participant in several Pro Bowls but has no Super Bowl ring to show for his efforts. Many media outlets are reporting that Taylor has spent several hours going over the game footage of the Jets' loss to the Patriots. He had studied Brady's decisions against multiple defensive looks.
Taylor is experienced against the Patriots, and if he plays well, he could disrupt the New England blocking scheme all night.
Tom Brady has one of the best offensive lines in the NFL, but the Jets feature linebackers with solid speed and agility.
Calvin Pace and Bryan Thomas lead the team in sacks, with around six each. Ryan uses both of them in various defensive formats to keep opposing quarterbacks off balance. While appearing to drop back into coverage, both linebackers can suddenly rush the quarterback. If the Patriots don't account for these two, it may be a long day.
As a rookie, Sanchez failed to step up to the challenge when the Jets needed it most. However, Ryan has said several times his quarterback is "championship ready," referring to a potential game against the Pittsburgh Steelers or Baltimore Ravens.
Sanchez is beginning to transition from a run-and-gun QB into a leader with the ability to read the defense before the ball is snapped. Against the Bears, Sanchez audibled several times at the line of scrimmage, consistently confusing Chicago's defense in route to 34 points. Even though the Jets lost, it was a sign of improvement to put up that kind of offense against a stingy Chicago defense.
This one is slightly tongue-in-cheek. No one predicted the Seahawks to even make the playoffs, even up until the final regular season game. However, the 7-9 Seahawks put the 11-5 Saints away with a barrage of offense that caught everyone off-guard.
If such extremes can be reached, who is to say the Jets, at 11-5, couldn't beat the 14-2 Patriots? There is no statistical data between the two teams to back this claim, but then again, who said the Seahawks had a stat step on the Saints?
Bill Belichick has already earned his spot in NFL folklore, winning three Super Bowls in four seasons with the Patriots. Tom Brady will be regarded as one of the best QBs of his era, and the city of Boston has been treated well with the Red Sox, Celtics and Patriots.
However, this could be the year of the J-E-T-S Jets! Fans are ready to have something else to brag about than Joe Namath and a 1968 championship.
Undoubtedly, certain aspects of the Jets' game will have to be superb, the Patriots are a solid team, and there's no flukes in their 14-2 record. This will be a hard-fought, smash-mouth affair, but don't count out the Jets just yet.