A few quick-hit thoughts on the upcoming playoff matchup between the Patriots and Jets:
1. Third meeting between the teams. The Jets beat the Patriots on Sept. 19, racing away from them in the second half to record a 28-14 win at home. On Dec. 6, the Patriots pummeled the Jets at Gillette Stadium, 45-3.
2. No shortage of bulletin-board material. On Thursday, Jets coach Rex Ryan said that Peyton Manning studies more than any quarterback, even if Tom Brady thinks he studies the most. Think that zinger will get some play this week? Then there was Jets special teams coach Mike Westhoff pointing his finger at the Patriots when it came to setting up a wall on the sideline. Oh boy. That's just the start.
3. Patriots run defense will be crucial. The Jets took over the second half of their wild-card round win over the Colts, relying on their running game. The Patriots have some moving parts on the defensive line, and are integrating inside linebacker Brandon Spikes into the mix after a four-game suspension, so this is a key Xs and Os matchup. The Jets need their running game to take pressure off quarterback Mark Sanchez, who was shaky for long stretches of the game.
4. What did Jets defense learn from 45-3 beating? The Jets' defense, which stymied Peyton Manning tonight, looked vulnerable against the Patriots on Dec. 6. It was their first look at the revamped Patriots offense without Randy Moss, with the Patriots throwing numerous formations at them and spreading the ball around. What adjustments will the Jets make based on that experience?