Pats' Bill Belichick prepping for Jets

Updated: January 13, 2011, 1:18 AM ET
By Ian Begley | ESPNNewYork.com

Bill Belichick watched the Jets' 17-16 come-from-behind win over the Colts late Saturday night.

By Sunday morning, the New England Patriots coach was "full-speed ahead" with his preparations for New England's AFC divisional round showdown with the Jets next Sunday.

The playoff game at Gillette Stadium will be the third meeting between the two teams this season.

"Now, it will be best two out of three, it's probably the way it should be," Belichick said on a Sunday afternoon conference call with reporters. "We'll find out which team is going to advance next week."

The Jets and Patriots split their two regular season meetings in 2010. Most recently, the Patriots pasted the Jets in a 45-3 route on Dec 6.

At the time, both teams were 9-2 and tied for first place in the AFC East. The Patriots' win put them in the drivers' seat for the division title and a top seed in the playoffs. They earned both, and will host the sixth-seeded Jets on Sunday in Foxborough with a trip to the AFC Championship Game on the line.

When asked if he thought there would be any lingering emotional effect from the Jets' Monday night meltdown in Week 12, Belichick sidestepped the question.

"We know it will be a tough game," the Patriots coach said. "The Jets beat Indianapolis in Indianapolis. They deserve to be where they're at."

There will be plenty of discussion and dissection of the two Jets-Patriots regular season games leading up to Sunday's 4:30 p.m. ET kickoff.

But to Belichick, those previous matchups won't "have much bearing" on Sunday's game.

"I don't think the last game or even the first game, either one of those games is going to mean a whole lot," he said. "Both teams know each other well."

Belichick also said that he doesn't see any major differences between the Jets team from Dec. 6 and the club that beat the Colts on Saturday night. He views them as a good running team with big-play receivers and tight ends on offense, while on defense, they are physical at the line of scrimmage and play a lot of man-to-man coverage. Belichick also noted the Jets' success on special teams, specifically in the return game, where Antonio Cromartie's 47-yard kickoff return Saturday night helped set up the game-winning field goal.

He called Sunday's game with Gang Green a "big challenge" for the Patriots, who finished 14-2 behind an MVP-caliber season from quarterback Tom Brady.

This will mark just the second time in Belichick's 11-year tenure as Patriots coach that his team will be facing an opponent for the third time in a season. In the 2006 playoffs, the Patriots beat the Eric Mangini-coached Jets, 37-16, in the third meeting between the clubs that year.

The only other playoff encounter between the rivals was in the 1985 playoffs, when the Patriots beat the Jets, 26-14, in a wild card game at the old Meadowlands Stadium.

Belichick was also asked about Jets coach Rex Ryan's remarks last week that Brady receives more help from the New England coaching staff than Peyton Manning does from the Colts staff.

"I really don't think a whole lot about stuff like that," he answered. "I'm just trying to coach our team. I think you have to ask Rex or somebody else about that, whoever said it, whatever the context was, I don't know. I'm just going to worry about getting our team ready."

Ian Begley is a regular contributor to ESPNNewYork.com. Mike Reiss from ESPNBoston.com contributed to this report.

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