Each week we'll talk to former Patriots star and current broadcaster Gino Cappelletti. This week, Gino discussed the war of words between the Patriots and Jets and help previewed Sunday's divisional-round game.
PFW: What has been your reaction to the mini war of words the Jets started this week with the Patriots?
Cappelletti: The rivalry is back and as strong as ever between these two teams. When you get your face rubbed in the ground and the mud like the Jets did last time, they try to look at some things that probably were not true or real — the jubilation that a winning team usually shows or partakes in. I think the Jets were looking for things to be critical about. That was their reaction to getting pummeled, by saying some things about the marquee players of the other team. There's some animosity developing between the two. You won't see the war of words coming from the Patriots. As the saying goes, a team is usually a reflection of their coach's personality and philosophy, and certainly (Bill) Belichick and Rex (Ryan) are two different types of coaches. There's no set formula as to being successful, but Rex seems to want to say things and provide locker-room clippings and fodder for the opponent, and that's a no-no as far as Belichick is concerned, and Belichick's players have bought into what he does and how he does it.
PFW: How do you see the Jets' running game matching up with the Patriots' defense?
Cappelletti: It's quite evident to the coaches, players and viewers the success the Jets had running the football (against the Colts). They controlled the clock by running the ball and kept (Peyton) Manning on the bench. This is what I expect them to do against the Patriots — see if they can control the ball and continue to run with (LaDainian) Tomlinson and (Shonn) Greene. They did an outstanding job and they certainly would want to do that again and maybe not throw the ball quite as often when they got blitzed 45-3. The Patriots have been successful in getting out on top of their opponents early, especially over the last eight games. With that, they're forcing the other team to play catch-up, and some teams are not adept at that because you need a quarterback throwing the ball and receivers getting open, and then you don't fool many of the defenders with the play action and you're playing into their hands. That's what playing with the lead affords you. It's a nice way to play the game.
PFW: What do you expect to see from Rex Ryan's defense on Sunday?
Cappelletti: I expect the Jets' defense to play a much better ball game than the last time they were up here. They were down, they got even further down as the score mounted, and they couldn't do much about it. I expect their defense to be really pumped up for this game. The quarterback hits can sometimes take its toll and that could be in their game plan. They didn't blitz that much and I think they will. This is what Rex Ryan did in Baltimore — designed some real effective blitzes. If they can throw Tom (Brady) off his rhythm, which is what all the opponents have been trying to do, but they haven't been successful because he makes his reads real fast, finds the open guy real fast and he knows where he will go before the snap because of what he sees as far as matchups are concerned. (The Jets) are going to be a very aggressive, attack-style defense rather than sit back and let Brady have the underneath stuff. It's going to be interesting. It will be physical game, all the things that make a great football game.