GameDay: New England Patriots @ NY Jets

Game Day matchup between the New York Jets and the New England Patriots. News, notes, quick hits, personnel changes, and much more on the week one matchup between these AFC East division rivals.

New England Patriots (1-0) at New York Jets (1-0)

KICKOFF: Sunday, 4:15 pm ET
GAMEDATE: 09/17/06
LOCATION: Giants Stadium
SURFACE: FieldTurf
TV: CBS, Dick Enberg, Randy Cross

SERIES: This is the 93rd meeting between the two teams, with the Jets leading the series 47-44-1. That advantage won't last much longer, however, if things continue to go the way they have in recent year. The Patriots have beaten their AFC East foes eight out of the last nine times, including six games in a row.

2006 RANKINGS: Patriots: offense 14th (4th rush, 25th pass); defense 6th (16th rush, 9th pass). Jets: offense 3rd (18th rush, 2nd pass); defense 24th (10th rush, 25th pass)

KEYS TO THE GAME: Jets coach Eric Mangini faces his mentor in New England's Bill Belichick, under whom he served as an assistant for the past six years. For student to beat the teacher, Mangini will need significantly more production out of the running game than the 91 yards the Jets mustered last Sunday. With two rookie starters along the offensive line, the Jets can't afford to make QB Chad Pennington a sitting duck against the Patriots' complex blitz packages. The Patriots have no such concern about their running game after RBs Corey Dillon and Laurence Maroney proved a formidable 1-2 punch in the opener. The questions surround the no-name receiving corps. If the Jets' corners can hold their own, New York can commit more resources to stopping the ground game.

FAST FACTS: Patriots: Seek eighth 2-0 start in 46 years. ... QB Tom Brady is 8-1 all-time against the Jets, including 5-0 at the Meadowlands. Jets: Pennington has seven INTs in his past three starts against New England, but is 15-6 (.714) as a starter at home.




--The Patriots filed a tampering charge against the Jets, regarding the Jets' negotiations with wide receiver Deion Branch, who was traded to Seattle for a first-round pick in the 2007 draft.

The Patriots contend that they gave Branch permission to discuss only terms of a contract and not what a team would offer the Patriots in trade, according to the Boston Globe and Boston Herald. New England's contention is that the Jets told Branch what they would offer.

"I think it's a league matter and I think they have to operate in their best interests and we need to operate in our best interests," coach Eric Mangini said. "I think that each week we'll do what's best for the Jets and every team will do what's best for them."

--Perhaps because of this controversy, Mangini and Bill Belichick haven't spoken this week.

"We missed each other a couple times throughout the summer," Mangini said. "This probably won't be the week that we'll be chatting too much. Our relationship is the same as it's been. He's always been a good friend."

Mangini said he couldn't remember when he had last spoken to Belichick, but said that wasn't unusual.

"There are a lot of people in my life I couldn't tell you exactly when was the last time I talked to them," he said. "I just think that sometimes that happens where you're extremely busy and you're trying to get the things done that you need to get done. I don't necessarily put any guidelines on friendships."

--Rookie LT D'Brickashaw Ferguson got through his first game without allowing a sack, but he did have a holding penalty that negated a 2-yard touchdown pass from Chad Pennington to Jerricho Cotchery in the fourth quarter. Shortly after that, Mike Nugent missed a 30-yard field-goal attempt.

"I had the opportunity to have my first game and it definitely gives me ground to build on," Ferguson said. "Next week, I'll be looking to do things better then I did this week and just continue to grow.

"You take the good with the bad," he added. "You look at the good things, you analyze them, you look at the poor things, and you analyze them. I try to take each thing that was said prior to my game and continue to work from there. There were some things I did well, some things I did poorly. I'm glad that I had the opportunity to do them, so now I can grow from that and not always wonder what it's going to be like."

BY THE NUMBERS: 7. That's how many interceptions QB Chad Pennington has thrown in his last three starts against the Patriots, after a three-TD, no-INT performance in his first game against New England in Dec. 2002. The Jets won that game, 30-17.


--Deion Branch said he had mixed feelings when he found out he was traded to the Seahawks. The receiver felt sad about leaving his teammates but had to do what was best for him and his family.

"I have three kids," Branch said. "I'm the one who takes care of them. The Patriots aren't going to take care of them. Nobody is going to take care of them but me. They had to do what was best for the organization. I had to do what was best for me and my family. We both had to make choices. I'm sad to leave my teammates but I think I made the right one."

--"It took the air out of me. It really did. It's a tough day for a lot of guys on this football team," Richard Seymour said of losing Branch to the Seahawks.

"I saw a lot of hearts broken when Coach Belichick announced that move."

"Obviously, I don't control that. It's just disappointing to say the least. Business is business. Sometimes you win and sometimes you lose. I don't see that we won today."

--"It was a compilation of factors," said coach Bill Belichick of his team's struggles passing the ball in Week 1. "The perfect storm. I don't know. Did we have any yardage passing in the first half?"

--WR Reche Caldwell has never caught more than 28 passes in a single season. The Patriots are hoping the new receiver can replace what David Givens did for them in the passing game. After one week, Caldwell is off to a slow start. He only caught two passes for 33 yards against the Bills. He knows he still has a lot of things to work on in order to improve; especially now that Branch has left New England for good.

"It felt good to go out there for the first time and play," Caldwell said. "I thought I played OK but I still have a lot more to learn. I need to get better everyday and improve everyday. I don't feel any pressure with Deion not being here. We just go out there and try to do our best. We'd love to have him but he's not here so we just go out there and play our game."

--"I don't blame them," Tom Brady said of the fans who booed the Patriots as they walked off at halftime. "I don't think we gave them much reason to cheer. They want to see us do some things offensively and we turned the ball over. We couldn't complete a pass and I would be booing up there too if I was them."

--The Patriots are trying to start the season 2-0, a feat that has been historically difficult for them to achieve. In the franchise's 46 seasons, the Patriots have only began the year 2-0 seven times.

--Tom Brady owns an 8-1 all-time record against the Jets, including going a perfect 5-0 at the Meadowlands.

--When asked about the departure of Branch at his weekly press conference, Brady said, "I think everybody would have wanted Deion here, certainly myself knowing what kind of person and player he is. But as coach kind of said to us, 'it didn't work out.' I think I speak for myself and I'm a very emotional person and over the last four or five months, it's been draining. In a sense, I think I learned a valuable lesson last week. When something is really out of your control, you can't let it drain you. At least I feel like now I can move on and I know he's moved on. I wish him luck. This team now has to really look forward with the guys we have do the best we can."

BY THE NUMBERS: 50 -- The Patriots defense has held the Jets to less than 50 rushing yards in each of the last three meetings between the two teams.



--C/G Trey Teague still hasn't returned to practice, although he was upgraded to doubtful this week after being listed as out for the opener. Teague hasn't practiced since suffering a broken ankle during a voluntary mini-camp during the spring, although he said Thursday there is a "possibility" of him playing Sunday against New England.

--WR/PR Tim Dwight was limited in practice Thursday, as he is still bothered by a thigh injury that kept him out of the last two preseason games plus the regular-season opener.

--CB David Barrett (hip) practiced Thursday and is listed as questionable. He did play in the opener, despite the injury.

--LB Matt Chatham (foot) is listed as probable and practiced Thursday. He should be able to play.

--LG Pete Kendall (thigh) is listed as questionable, although he practiced Thursday.

--S Kerry Rhodes (ankle), who apparently was injured on the last play of the game Sunday, practiced Thursday and is expected to play.


--The Bam Childress saga continued on Wednesday. Last week the team released the wide receiver, signed him to their practice squad and then activated him for last Sunday's game. They released Childress once again on Monday, only to re-sign him to their practice squad on Wednesday. God only knows what awaits Childress over the next couple of days. Stay tuned.

--When asked if Tedy Bruschi was still day-to-day at his Thursday press conference, Bill Belichick smiled and replied, "Yes, that's a perfect way to put it." Bruschi remains questionable for Sunday's game with a wrist injury. He did make the trip to New York so it's possible he's ready to return.

--S Artrell Hawkins missed a portion of Thursday's practice (thigh). Hawkins wasn't on the injury report Wednesday and is listed as questionable for Sunday's game. Late news last night has Hawkins downgraded to out for Sunday's game.

--WRs Chad Jackson and Doug Gabriel are still nursing hamstring injuries. Jackson is listed as questionable, while Gabriel is listed as probable. Belichick said Gabriel is picking up the offense well and that he expects him to be productive once he gets on the field.

--The flu appears to be making its way around the team. TE Garrett Mills was listed as questionable for the second straight day with the flu. S Rodney Harrison was added to the injury report on Thursday with the flu as well. Harrison is listed as probable for Sunday's game. Mills on the other hand is out.

--T Nick Kaczur was listed as questionable (shoulder), but did not travel with the team to New York. He was downgraded to out for the game. This means rookie Ryan O'Callaghan will get his second straight start at right tackle on Sunday.


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