Jets, Pats will do what they do . . . unless they don't

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Jets, Pats will do what they do . . . unless they don't

By Tom E. Curran
CSNNE.com

FOXBORO - On Monday, Rex Ryan flogged himself for making his game plan too complex in the Week 13 meeting with the Patriots.

Offensively, the Jets tried to up the tempo and go no-huddle. Defensively . . . not sure what they were trying to do. Hence, the 45-3 loss.

But such is the risk when playing a team that is well aware of your tendencies and personnel as the Patriots are with the Jets.

Sunday will be the third meeting of the season between the teams. The most recent meeting was barely a month ago. Every player, every coach knows what the other side is up to. How do you combat that?

Can you employ the element of surprise without getting too far out of your team's comfort zone? That's the constant question.

Bill Belichick, for all his defensive ingenuity, often refers to the fact his '80s Giants played simple, primitive Cover-2 defense most of the time during their most successful periods.

Yet he leans heavily on being able to tailor his team's attacks.

The Patriots are a team that changes its offensive and defensive scheming week-to-week. They are the very definition of a "game plan" team. For offensive players to one week be totally in sync in a no-huddle, empty-backfield offense and the next week switch to a more conventional, grind-it-out set is a challenge. And it's an even taller order for defenders who switch between three and four-man fronts, passive schemes, aggressive schemes and multiple DB base defenses. If the offense screws up a couple of plays, they punt.

If the defense screws up, they're watching a PAT.

Jerod Mayo was asked to describe the changes he's seen in the Jets since the last meeting.

"We still know what they do but, at the same time, they do a little bit different things in the playoffs," Mayo explained. "Against the Colts, they showed some different looks."

Asked how hard it is to trot out a bunch of new tricks, Mayo said, "I think it would be very difficult. Both teams won a good amount of games this year. You dont want to change too much and get away from what got you to this point. There will be a few different looks, but at the same time, it will be pretty much the same."

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

Quick Slants Podcast: Antonio Brown’s betrayal; Matt Light; eyeing up Pittsburgh

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Quick Slants Podcast: Antonio Brown’s betrayal; Matt Light; eyeing up Pittsburgh

Tom E. Curran and Phil Perry discuss the aftermath of Antonio Brown’s Facebook Live video. Curran interview Matt Light ahead of the AFC Championship. They dissect the press conferences of Tom Brady and Bill Belichick, and look at how to beat the Steelers.

SUBSCRIBE iTunes | Google Play | Spotify | Stitcher | AudioBoom

2:29 Antonio Brown’s Facebook Live aftermath

13:14 Stopping Le’Veon Bell

27:16 heywassyonumba? with Patrick Chung and Kyle Van Noy

32:30 Injury report updates for AFC Championship

36:51 Brady and Belichick’s press conferences

44:50 Matt Light interview

Belichick asked if playing at home helps: 'Go ask Dallas and Kansas City'

Belichick asked if playing at home helps: 'Go ask Dallas and Kansas City'

FOXBORO -- Bill Belichick knows that how you play, not where, is what matters most. 

That's why when he was asked on Wednesday about the advantage the Patriots will have by playing at Gillette Stadium in the AFC title game, he wasn't willing to go all-in on how a comfortable environment will positively impact his team.

"I don’t know," he said. "Go ask Dallas and Kansas City."

The Patriots apparently thought enough of home-field advantage that they played their starters throughout their regular-season finale win in Miami, exposing their best players to potential injury in order to maintain their positive momentum while simultaneously ensuring a better road to the Super Bowl. 

The Patriots fans in attendance on Sunday will help when the Patriots take on the Steelers, Belichick acknowledged. But there's much more to it than that. 

"Yeah, of course," he said, "but the game is won by the players on the field. That’s who wins football games – the players. And they’ll decide it Sunday night."

And if you needed any further proof, just ask the Cowboys and Chiefs how helpful their home crowds were in the Divisional Round.