Jets expect Jerricho Cotchery back

Updated: November 27, 2010, 8:05 AM ET
By Rich Cimini | ESPNNewYork.com

The New York Jets are getting healthy at the right time.

Wide receiver Jerricho Cotchery, who missed the last two games with a partially torn groin, is expected to return for what Rex Ryan called "the marquee game of the year" -- the Jets visiting the New England Patriots for a Monday night showdown in 10 days.

Right tackle Damien Woody, who played a full game Thursday night despite a sprained knee, didn't suffer any apparent setbacks and should be ready to face the Patriots.

Ryan said he also expects defensive backs Dwight Lowery (concussion) and Marquice Cole (hamstring) to return after missing action. That should help the Jets' secondary, which faces a huge challenge in defending the Patriots' diverse passing attack.

"All of our guys will be ready to go for this game, so, hopefully, we'll be at full strength," Ryan said Friday, adding that there's a "good possibility" that Cotchery, Lowery and Cole will be back in uniform.

A healthy Cotchery, their No. 3 receiver, will help tremendously against the Patriots' suspect pass defense, which began the week next-to-last in passing yards allowed (288 per game). The man who replaced Cotchery, Brad Smith, became the hero in Thursday night's 26-10 win over the Cincinnati Bengals.

Lined up at wide receiver, the do-everything Smith took an end-around and went 53 yards for a touchdown, providing a second-half spark. He later scored on an 89-yard kickoff return, sprinting the final 50 yards or so with only one shoe.

Woody surprised many, even his own teammates, by starting and finishing the game. He sprained an MCL last week against the Houston Texans and didn't practice leading into the Cincinnati game. About 90 minutes before kickoff, the team decided to let him play.

"You hear a lot of people say, 'Just get well and get ready for New England,' but it doesn't work that way in this league," Woody said. "If you have an opportunity to be out there with your teammates, you have to go out there and do it."

This is a monster game for the Jets and Pats, both 9-2. Playoff seedings and perhaps the AFC East title are on the line.

"It's not going to get much bigger than that," said Ryan, whose team has won four straight. "I guess the only way it could be better is if it were the last game of the regular season, but this is pretty good right here."

Rich Cimini covers the Jets for ESPNNewYork.com. Follow him on Twitter>.

Rich Cimini

ESPN New York Jets reporter

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