Ask just about any football pundit, and they will tell you there is a significant gap in the AFC East between the New England Patriots and everyone else.
But don't tell that to New York Jets head coach Rex Ryan. He refuses to crown the rival Patriots before any games are played.
"I think I've never gone into a game that I didn’t think we’d win," Ryan told New York reporters. "Now, do I respect New England and the fact that New England has won our division a zillion times? The three years I’ve been here, they’ve won it all three years. And I don’t think it’s been close. But again, I will never back down and concede to anything. When you talk about conceding the division, yeah right. Not me. There’s no chance here. Not with the Jets."
This is the new, modest version of Ryan. He is not guaranteeing anything, but he’s not kissing Bill Belichick’s rings, either.
Ryan acknowledged the revamped AFC East goes through Patriots. New England has earned that right. But Ryan seems to like his chances challenging the reigning division champs this season.