The New York Jets watched their division rival -- arguably their biggest rival and certainly the team that has set the standard for NFL excellence -- get its teeth kicked in Thursday night.
Which means the winner of Sunday’s game between the Jets and Buffalo Bills will occupy a position no one from Las Vegas to Florham Park would have dared predict -- first place in the AFC East.
"Man, it sounds great," defensive tackle Leonard Williams said. “Every division game is the most important. You have to win your division games. It’s also our first game.
"Either team that we’re going to be playing right now we’re going to be expecting to get the win. Every game we’re going in expecting to get the win.
"We’ve been studying our opponent. Our team feels really prepared right now and I have pretty high confidence in our preparation. We’re ready to get the win."
Several Jets were quick to point out that one game doesn’t make a season. It doesn’t.
But for a team that went 5-11 last season and has had months to listen to dire predictions of a season on the stink, waking up Monday morning in first place would smell like fresh-brewed coffee.
Fact: The Pats are 0-1. Possibility: The Jets could be 1-0.
“Any team can be beat any team," said newly acquired defensive lineman Kony Ealy, who was cut by the Patriots. “That’s been proven. It’s going to continue to be proven."