Curran: Do Pats need to loosen up for Jets?

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Curran: Do Pats need to loosen up for Jets?

By Tom E. Curran
CSNNE.com Patriots Insider Follow @tomecurran
FOXBORO - On the (long) drive in here Sunday afternoon, I was reflecting on how charged the atmosphere is when the Jets and Patriots play. The agita, hand-wringing and import placed on these games is unmistakeable. But did the Raiders feel as all-consumed about the Jets before facing - and beating - them? Or the Ravens? I understand, this is a division game and the fastest route to the playoffs is winning the division. And I get the import of New York-New England. But sometimes I wonder if the Patriots clench up a little bit when they get to Jets Week. My buddy Alex Marvez of Yahoo! Sports wondered the same thing this week and here's his column on the topic of the Patriots letting the Jets get in their head. This excerpt I particularly enjoyed: "Even Pats wide receiver Chad Ochocinco has gone Marcel Marceau. The NFLs most prolific player on Twitter, Ochocinco also hasnt texted for weeks after losing an undisclosed bet.STFU, indeed.Mind you, Ochocinco could type one character for each of his 118 receiving yards through four games and still have space left for a message. But some of his struggles might be the result of a player long known for marching to the beat of his own drum feeling out of sync in a far more restrictive culture than in Cincinnati.The verbal abuse he received from Harrison and Bruschi in the media following an innocuous early-season Tweet could very well have damaged his confidence.Ochocinco has plenty of time to rebound. Because the bar is set so high in New England, the 2011 Patriots wont be judged by anything except playoff performance.Thats when well see if New England can truly back its lack of words, especially if Ryan and the Jets are lying in wait once again."

Tom E. Curran can be reached at tcurran@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow Tom on Twitter at http:twitter.comtomecurran