Cromartie ready for the Patriots

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Cromartie ready for the Patriots

By Mary Paoletti
CSNNE.com Staff Reporter Follow @mary_paoletti

In New England, this is not NFL Week 5, it's Jets Week.

As soon as the Patriots' 31-19 win over the Raiders went in the book, the page turned to Rex Ryan and his trash-talking, rally-crying, Patriots-ousting Jets. It's the AFC East's most hot blooded match up in recent years and the hatred turned full boil in the Northeast last season when Ryan's crew booted Belichick's from the postseason.

There is no forgiving, no forgetting. On either side.

Newsday's Bob Glauber spoke with Antonio Cromartie after the Jets' 34-17 loss to Baltimore. The corner's rebound rate was predictably quick; he hadn't left M&T Bank Stadium before starting in on New England.

"We play against Tom Brady and New England, it's a divisional game, it's something to definitely look forward to and get excited about," he told Glauber. "We'll just do what we need to do, go out and make as many plays as we can and compete."

Surprisingly, Ryan didn't echo the enthusiasm. The Jets are 2-2, with the Ravens game butting up against Week 3's 34-17 beating in Buffalo. Glauber describes the usually bombastic coach as "muted."

"I'd rather play Summit (his son's high school team)," Ryan joked Monday. "There's probably easier assignments than going up against New England at New England. But that's the cards we were given, and we're going to play."

Not exactly a 'Super Bowl or bust' call. But Cromartie is picking up the slack. Naturally.

Last year's trash-talk was rabid. There was no quarterback in the league who drew more ire from the cornerback than Tom Brady. Cromartie went on a rant before the teams clashed in the playoffs, calling Brady "an a------" and accusing him of pointing to the Jets sideline after a touchdown pass in their last meeting -- a 45-3 New England win on December 6.

"If you want to be a professional, be a professional," Cromartie had said in January. "You've been there before scoring touchdowns, so go back to the sidelines . . . I hope he'll throw the ball 10 times my way . . . Let the scoreboard speak for itself, which it did the last game. Let your play speak for itself. Don't look at our sideline. That's the biggest sign of disrespect."

Eight months later he's singing the same tune.

"What I said last year, I meant it," Cromartie told Glauber. "I'm not going to take back anything. I'm definitely looking forward to this rivalry game. I still have the same feelings. Feelings don't change. Whatever I said last year is not going to change."

You can bet Brady is looking forward to it, too.

Mary Paoletti can be reached at mpaoletti@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow Mary on Twitter at http:twitter.comMary_Paoletti

Patriots-Steelers injury report: Seven Pats listed as questionable

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Patriots-Steelers injury report: Seven Pats listed as questionable

FOXBORO -- The Patriots will head into Sunday's AFC title game with seven players listed as questionable, including three receivers. 

Danny Amendola, Malcolm Mitchell and Chris Hogan have all been limited in practices this week due to their injuries. Amendola has been dealing with an ankle issue since a Week 13 win over the Rams, while Mitchell has not played since injuring his knee in Week 16 against the Jets. Hogan suffered a thigh injury against the Texans and left the game in the third quarter.

Both Hogan and Mitchell indicated this week that they were moving in the right direction in terms of their recoveries. One would think that the Patriots would need at least one, if not both, to help stress the back end of the Steelers secondary this weekend.

Hogan has been the team's most consistent down-the-field threat this season, averaging a whopping 17.9 yards per catch during the regular season. Against the Texans, before his injury, he reeled in four passes for 95 yards. 

Mitchell, meanwhile, had a very productive second half of his rookie season before he was hurt. He compiled 25 catches for 306 yards between Weeks 11 and 16, establishing himself as one of Tom Brady's go-to targets. 

The overall health of the Patriots receiving corps -- which will also include Julian Edelman and Michael Floyd -- will bear watching when the Patriots and Steelers kick off in two days.

The injury report for Sunday's Patriots-Steelers game:

NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS

QUESTIONABLE
WR Danny Amendola (ankle)
TE Martellus Bennett (knee)
RB Brandon Bolden (knee)
LB Dont'a Hightower (shoulder)
WR Chris Hogan (thigh)
WR Malcolm Mitchell (knee)
DL Jabaal Sheard (knee)

PITTSBURGH STEELERS

QUESTIONABLE
TE Ladarius Green (concussion/illness)
LB James Harrison (shoulder/triceps)
RB Fitzgerald Toussaint (concussion)

NOT LISTED
RB Le'Veon Bell (not injury related)
K Chris Boswell (illness)
LB Anthony Chickillo (ankle)
S Sean Davis (shoulder)
C B.J. Finney (illness)
WR Darrius Heyward-Bay (illness)
DE Ricardo Mathews (ankle)
QB Zach Mettenberger (illness)
S Michael Mitchell (not injury related)
QB Ben Roethlisberger (not injury related)
LB Vince Williams (shoulder)