Patriots-Jets: More than a rivalry

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Patriots-Jets: More than a rivalry

Its been a slow year for rivalries in Boston. The classics, at least. In hockey, the Bruins were focused on defending the Cup, while the Canadiens zambonied the Eastern Conference basement. In baseball, the Sox were more wrapped up in hating each other than hating the Yankees. In basketball, the Celtics and Lakers played two very competitive regular season games, but the Cs lost both, and came into each contest barely on the right side of .500. And this week, were face-to-face with the reality of the Patriots' No. 1 rivalry. Its Jets Week!

But something isnt right.

Its not the stakes. After all, first place is on the line. Not to mention, if the Pats lose on Sunday, theyll have their first 3-4 start since 2002, and New England will reach core meltdown. Do you realize how horrendous it will be around here if Brady and Belichick dont come through? Like Owen Wilson said in Armageddon: The scariest environment imaginable. That's all you gotta say, scariest environment imaginable.

And maybe thats it. That while the Pats bi-annual meetings with the Jets are typically about flexing muscles and reiterating AFC East supremacy, this year, the Pats have much more to lose than they have to gain. A win puts them at 4-3 a disappointing mark regardless of how they get there. If they win a close one, then its another example of them playing down to their competition. If they blow out the Jets, theyve blown out a team playing on the road without their best player, their No. 1 receiver and without a legitimate quarterback. Theyve done what theyre supposed to do, and theres not much excitement in that. Especially coming of a week in which they did the exact opposite.

As I type, the Pats are 10.5-point favorites in Vegas. This marks only the fourth time in the Belichick era that theyve been favored by double digits against the Jets. Thats pretty crazy when you think about some of the teams the Pats have had over that time and the fact that the Jets (much like this year) havent always been at the top of their game. So, why arent we more excited? Wheres the fire? Why dont Rex Ryan's pseudo-guarantees leave us with that same infuriating after taste? Why isnt Tom Brady begging for fans to bring out the lube?

It really comes down to this: As much as the Pats hate the Jets, right now theyre more worried about the Pats. As much as Rex Ryan wants guarantee a victory and blow smoke up Bill Belichicks butt, he's far more worried about the Jets. "I think we're going to beat them," Ryan said earlier in the week. But he was quick to qualify the statement: "Are they more vulnerable? I don't know. They've lost three games, that's probably more than they normally lose in a season. We need to worry about ourselves . . . We always get their best, and they always get ours. We'll see if our best is better than their best on that particular day."

But no matter how you look at it, neither team has been at it's best this season. And while it's too early to panic, it's certainly put the rivalry on the back burner. For both teams, this Sunday isn't as much about beating the Jets or beating the Patriots. It's about beating anyone, and getting an ugly season back on the right track.

Rich can be reached at rlevine@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow Rich on Twitter at http:twitter.comrich_levine

Patriots release camp dates; open practices begin July 27

Patriots release camp dates; open practices begin July 27

Football is coming.

The Patriots announced on Thursday that veterans will report to training camp on Wednesday, July 26 and that the first public practice will take place the following day.

Each of the team's first four practices -- from July 27-30 -- are scheduled to take place on the practice fields behind Gillette Stadium "in the nine o'clock hour," according to the Patriots. Updates to the training camp schedule, including more specific start times for practices, can be found at patriots.com/trainingcamp.

The Patriots Hall of Fame will hold its induction ceremony for former corner Raymond Clayborn on Saturday, July 29 around midday following that morning's training camp practice. Held on the plaza outside the Hall at Patriot Place, the ceremony will be free and open to the public.

The Patriots will host the Jaguars for two days of joint practices open to the public on Monday, Aug. 7 and Tuesday, Aug. 8. The preseason opener for both clubs will take place at Gillette Stadium on Aug. 10.

Tom Brady adds sumo wrestling to offseason training regimen

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Tom Brady adds sumo wrestling to offseason training regimen

Tom Brady's off-the-field workout habits are the subject of serious curiosity for those in New England and beyond. Thanks to Under Armour's Instagram account, followers got a brief glimpse of what Brady does to stay in shape. 

OK. It was more like a glimpse at what he did one day in Tokyo.

@tombrady always fighting for that extra yard. 😂😂 #TBAsiaTour #IWILL

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The video of Brady in the dohyo ring was shot at the Sakaigawa sumo stable in Tokyo on Thursday. According to Kyodo News, leading the training session was ozeki Goeido, who won last year's Autumn Grand Sumo Tournament.

"For them to welcome me means very much to me. It's hard to describe in words how special that was," Brady said.

Brady bounced around China before heading to Japan to continue to help promote Under Armour and in particular its "recovery sleepwear" line. He threw a pass on the Great Wall, and he explained that it was his "dream" to play a game on the continent. 

Arigatōgozaimashita 🇯🇵🙏

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Brady vs Brady #therecanonlybeone 🏆

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