The Jets, Bills and Pats are tied atop the AFC East with 5-3 records. After trampling the Bills in Buffalo, the Jets get another shot at the hated Patriots Sunday night at MetLife Stadium. So who’s the team to beat in the AFC East?
“We are,” said Jets CB Darrelle Revis on the latest installment of “Four Quarters” which was filmed in front of a live audience and will air Thursday on newyorkjets.com. “We believe that — even in the three-game losing streak. We have a lot of confidence no matter what’s going on.”
Revis, who has four interceptions and has been the NFL’s best defender at the season’s midway point, believes the Green & White have “great character” and it shone through when the chips were down.
“It’s very tough at work. The coaches are mad and you’re mad because we’re losing,” he said. “Through that time we just worked together and we took it one week at a time.”
The Jets’ last loss came exactly a month ago, Oct. 9, when they dropped the 30-21 decision to the Patriots in Gillette Stadium. Revis, a defensive captain, has been instrumental in their climb back to the top. His 100-yard interception return against the Dolphins in Week 6 broke up a lethargic start on Monday night and he added another pick for good measure in the 24-6 drubbing.
Then New York’s AFC representative again held serve at home in Week 7 as Revis completely flipped the script against the Chargers, intercepting Philip Rivers in the fourth quarter when the ‘Bolts were driving and had a 21-17 lead. His 64-yard return put the Jets in the red zone and led to the game-winning score. Rex Ryan’s club improved to 4-0 at home with the 27-21 “W” over the Chargers and Revis made absolutely gigantic plays in three of the triumphs. His Week 1 fourth-quarter pick of Cowboys QB Tony Romo set up Nick Folk’s winner from 50 yards out.
“We’ve been doing great at home. You want to be undefeated at home,” he said. “You get to perform in front of some unbelievable fans we have and show them a great job. That’s what we’ve been doing this year at home games.”
Under Ryan, the Jets own a 2-0 home mark against the Pats and they knocked the Men of Belichick out of the playoffs at their house last January. Wes Welker, on pace for a 1,900-yard season, had five receptions for 124 yards back in October and he’ll figure to see a lot of No. 24 this weekend.
“He’s having an unbelievable season. I respect him a lot as a player,” Revis said. “We had our battles in the past and I love covering him. He’s very competitive. I call him the ‘Energizer Bunny’ because he never stops. You can slam him and throw him around. I’ve tried every trick in the book and he just keeps on chucking and keeps on coming after you.”
The Jets hope to maintain pressure on Tom Brady all Sunday evening. They sacked Brady four times in defeat last month and racked up five sacks of him in the divisional playoff win.
“To get Tom Brady out of his game, you have to pressure him. You have to get guys in his face all the time and get him a little bit jittery in the pocket,” said Revis. “If you don’t, he can sit back there and pick you all day, throw the ball all day.”
Prolific as usual, the Pats rank No. 1 in the NFL in pass offense and average 325.6 yards per game. But Revis leads the Jets’ No. 7-ranked pass defense, a unit that absolutely smothered the Bills in the pasting last weekend.
“We’re playing tighter coverage. Kyle Wilson has stepped up a lot this year. He’s had an unbelievable season and he’s only going to get better,” said Revis. “The safeties are playing tighter coverage. I think everybody is doing his job very well.”
After eight games, the Jets have already eclipsed their interception total from a year ago with 13 compared to 12. Conversely, Brady, who threw only four interceptions in 2010, has been victimized by 10 picks.
“We just tried to improve on turnovers. That’s the biggest thing on defense,” said Revis. “We’ve been doing it and we’re going to continue to do it. If we can just carry on with that year after year, that’s what we want to do as a defense. We want to be aggressive and we want to make turnovers. We struggled last year a lot, but I think guys, being in this system a couple of years now, we kind of understand the defense.”
Everyone knows the Green & White have the personnel to thrive in man coverage and that starts with Revis. But Ryan and defensive coordinator Mike Pettine don’t just do an excellent job with their overload blitzes — their disguises in the back end have paid healthy dividends as well.
“We do play a lot of man, but we do play a lot of zone as well. When we play zone, we disguise it very well. The safeties do a great job — Brodney Pool and Jim Leonhard and those guys. They might show one side and then run over to the other side when they hike the ball,” said Revis. “Everybody is just focused on their job and doing what they need to do to help the team win.”
Tags: "Four Quarters", Darrelle Revis, Kyle Wilson, New England Patriots, Tom Brady, Wes Welker
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