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Jets hope to win home finale against nemesis

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FLORHAM PARK, N.J. — Rex Ryan began his tenure as the head coach of the New York Jets by famously declaring he wasn’t here to kiss Bill Belichick’s rings. Perhaps he’ll be able to end his stint with the Jets by once again at least making it a bit tougher for Belichick to earn his fourth Super Bowl ring with the New England Patriots.

The Jets host the Patriots on Sunday in what will almost surely be Ryan’s final home game as the Jets’ head coach. If Ryan can exit MetLife Stadium as he entered the Meadowlands in 2009 — when the Jets upset the Patriots 16-9 on Sept. 20 — then the Patriots might lose home-field advantage throughout the AFC playoffs.

It’s not what Ryan had in mind almost six years ago, but it’ll have to do.

“I came here to kick his butt,” Ryan said Wednesday. “Obviously, I haven’t been very successful at it, but that list is long. I’m not just the only name on that list.”

Ryan is at least on the short list of coaches who have cost Belichick his elusive fourth championship, which would tie him with Pittsburgh Steelers legend Chuck Noll for the most in the Super Bowl era.

The Patriots went 14-2 in 2010 but lost their first playoff game to the Jets, who stunned New England, 28-21, in the AFC Divisional Playoffs. That win came six weeks after the Patriots destroyed the Jets, 45-3.

But as for knocking the Patriots off their perch atop the AFC East? Not even close. The Patriots have won the division in each of Ryan’s six seasons, a stretch in which they have won 27 more games than the Jets.

“I can sit back and say ‘Well, it’s not (special), it’s just another opponent,'” Ryan said. “But no. It is because obviously they’ve won six division championships in a row, so that’s the one to beat. I don’t care what our record is now.”

It’s not very good, against the Patriots or anyone else. The Jets are 1-6 against the Patriots since the start of the 2011 season and 25-37 overall.

“We’re 1-6 and that sounds terrible, but that’s all that matters,” Ryan said.

But this week, at least, Ryan gets one more chance to try to back up his words, as dulled as they might have become, against his old foil.

“I might be the only one that had the guts to say something about (wanting to beat Belichick), but that’s how I am,” Ryan said. “That’s how I feel this week too. No different than any other time I’ve been here.”

This is the 109th regular-season meeting between the Jets and Patriots. The Patriots lead the series. 55-52-1. The Patriots are 2-1 in three postseason games against the Jets. The Patriots have won six of the last seven games between the teams, including on Oct. 16, when Nick Folk’s 56-yard field goal was blocked as time expired in New England’s 27-25 victory. With the loss, Ryan dropped to 3-8 against the Patriots in the regular season. The biggest win of the Ryan tenure happened on Jan. 16, 2011, when the Jets stunned the top-seeded Patriots, 28-21, in the AFC Divisional Playoffs. The most memorable regular-season game between the two teams remains the Patriots’ 38-14 win on Sept. 9, 2007; i.e. the “Spygate” game. Following the game, the NFL confiscated a videotape and video camera used to spy on the Jets and eventually fined Belichick $500,000 while fining the Patriots $250,000 and taking away a first-round draft pick. Then-Jets coach Eric Mangini, a former Patriots assistant, had told the NFL of the Patriots’ spying activities once he was named Jets head coach following the 2005 season.


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