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Jets in 'must-win' situation as Tom Brady, Patriots come to town

New York, which is 3-3, needs to keep 5-1 New England in check in order to remain relevant in the AFC East race. The teams play Sunday.

October 15, 2013|By Sam Farmer
  • New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady delivered a gut-wrenching loss to one member of the Ryan family on Sunday. Will he repeat the feat against Rex Ryan and the New York Jets this week?
New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady delivered a gut-wrenching… (Stephan Savoia / Associated…)

In a week in which the football world will be fixated on Peyton Manning returning to Indianapolis for the first time, another future Hall of Fame quarterback finds himself in a far more familiar situation.

Fresh off his team's last-second victory over the New Orleans Saints, New England quarterback Tom Brady will play at the division-rival New York Jets.

That's one Ryan brother down, one more to go.

Rob Ryan is defensive coordinator of the Saints, and he looked sick to his stomach Sunday as Brady directed a 70-yard drive with no timeouts, throwing a touchdown pass with five seconds to play in a 30-27 victory for the Patriots at Gillette Stadium.

Next up, Brady gets Jets Coach Rex Ryan, whose 3-3 team needs to keep the 5-1 Patriots in check to stay relevant in the AFC East race.

The Jets won at New England in the divisional round of the 2010 playoffs but have gone 0-5 against the Patriots since.

"I know we've been close, but that doesn't matter," Rex Ryan said Monday. "Like I've said before, we're not betting the points spread."

The Jets lost at home to Pittsburgh on Sunday, after which Rex watched his brother's game on TV.

"A horrible day for the Ryan family," he said.

Not only did the Saints lose, but also it was to an AFC East opponent — a doubly bad outcome for Ryan and the Jets. All that ramps up the importance of Sunday's game.

"I think it's a must-win for us, definitely, if we want to win this division," said Jets receiver Stephen Hill. "It's definitely a hunger game and we have to go out there and, as we say, eat. We've got to go out there and make plays."

Bob and weave

Manning had no plans to discuss this week's game against the Colts in the immediate aftermath of Sunday's victory over Jacksonville, deftly dodging questions about it from reporters in Denver.

"I think the good thing about this game today is that we will come in tomorrow, meet with the coaches, and really try to correct the mistakes from this game," Manning said. "We've got some injuries that we've got to wait and see on. I think we'll use tonight and tomorrow to really clean up this Jacksonville game and start on the next opponent later on in the week."

Asked again about the city where he spent the first 14 years of his career, Manning said: "I'll probably cover that on Wednesday. Do I have to talk Wednesday still? OK, I'll do all that Wednesday. I'm going to enjoy this victory and we'll be ready to play come the rest of the week."

Manning won a Super Bowl while playing for coach Tony Dungy in Indianapolis. Dungy, now an NBC analyst, said the return will be emotionally challenging for the four-time most valuable player.

"You try to keep everything the same and think it's going to be normal. It's not," Dungy said during the "Sunday Night Football" halftime show.

"Peyton is a creature of habit. He's going to want that same pregame routine. But when he walks on the field and sees Reggie Wayne, who he threw balls to for 11 years, you can't just say, 'Oh, well, I'm not going to shake his hand.'

"The emotion is going to be so tough. The best thing for him is going to be when that kickoff comes."

One big plus for the Broncos: All-Pro linebacker Von Miller is back after serving a six-game suspension for violating the NFL's drug policy.

College reunion

The lowest point in Monte Kiffin's three-year tenure coaching USC's defense came last season, when Chip Kelly's Oregon Ducks generated the most yards ever against the Trojans.

Kiffin, now defensive coordinator in Dallas, gets another chance this week to prove he's capable of slowing an offense designed by Kelly, now Philadelphia's coach. The Cowboys play at the Eagles on Sunday for sole possession of first place in the NFC East.

A glance back at USC's biggest defensive meltdown of 2012: Oregon beat the Trojans, 62-51, a game in which the Ducks gained 730 yards, including 321 on the ground by Kenjon Barner. Oregon's points and yardage, and Barner's rushing yards, were all records for a USC opponent.

Hitting the road

Seattle has won 11 in a row at home, and now the Seahawks have another chance to show that they're just as dangerous on the road. They play key NFC West games at Arizona and at St. Louis in the next two weeks. Both the Cardinals and Rams are capable of pulling off an upset, something Seattle's Pete Carroll will surely remind his players. Although they have struggled this season, Arizona and St. Louis are a combined 4-1 at home.

Tebow time?

The Atlanta Falcons, who play host to Tampa Bay, were considered by many a strong Super Bowl contender heading into the season. But the Falcons now find themselves at 1-4 and circling the drain, especially after losing star receiver Julio Jones for the season to a foot injury.

Teams have recovered from 1-4 starts to make the playoffs, however. The last franchise to execute that feat? The 2011 Denver Broncos, with quarterback Tim Tebow at the helm.

Mystery man

In the last four games, the Miami Dolphins have faced an impressive string of quarterbacks: Indianapolis' Andrew Luck, Atlanta's Matt Ryan, New Orleans' Drew Brees and Baltimore's Joe Flacco.

On Sunday, the Dolphins will face … well, they're not sure.

They play host to Buffalo, and the Bills' quarterback situation is murky. Thaddeus Lewis, promoted from the practice squad last week, played well in Sunday's loss to Cincinnati but suffered a foot sprain. If he's healthy enough, he will start. Buffalo also signed Matt Flynn on Monday, plucking him out of free agency after he was cut by the Raiders.

Trick photography

The challenge for ESPN next Monday: How do we make this game sing?

The New York Giants play host to the Minnesota Vikings. That's 0-6 versus 1-4.

sam.farmer@latimes.com

Twitter: @LATimesfarmer

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