Talk about hot teams that are still playing.
Well, the New York Jets are not one of them. Make no mistake, the Jets were on a pretty good run before getting ushered out of the AFC Divisional playoffs with a 30-10 to the Oakland Raiders Sunday. New York's hot streak, however, proved to be a tad overhyped.
The Raiders and Tennessee Titans, who Oakland plays next Sunday for the AFC Title, are clearly the NFL's hottest clubs and frankly that was the case before New York reached Sunday's game with a 41-0 whitewash of Indianapolis.
Oakland has now won eight of its last nine games while and Tennessee, which edged Pittsburgh 34-31 in overtime Saturday, has won 11 of its last 12 contests. Raiders offensive left guard Frank Middleton, who traded verbal jabs with New York defensive tackle Josh Evans, kept jabbing the Jets after the outcome.
"I think the Jets are punks and they said things that weren't right," Middleton said. "B-Rob (Raiders' center Barret Robbins) got hurt and they were talking about, ‘Don't get up.' They were talking about taking my knees. This will be a rivalry for a long time to come. Next year whenever we get them here, it's going to be on."
"The next coming of Joe Montana is going to have to go home for the offseason," Middleton said referring to Jets quarterback Chad Pennington. "(No.) 91 (Evans) has got to go home and get better. (No.) 94 (John Abraham) has got to go home and get better. Everybody on HBO, CBS and all that doubted us, we play football every week to win. … I hate the Jets."
The win over the Jets lifts Oakland to the AFC Title Game for the second time in three years. The Raiders hope the second time goes significantly better than the first. Oakland lost to the eventual Super Bowl champion Baltimore Ravens 16-3.
"We have to have the same type of game we had today," Raiders cornerback Tory James said. "It don't get easier from here."
Wide receiver Tim Brown, like James, is one of many Raiders who experienced that terrible day against Baltimore.
"I think this time around it's a little different," Brown said. "We have quite a few of the same guys on the team that we had a couple of years ago but I think the experience we have makes it a little different. We've got three or four guys on offense and three or four guys on defense that know what this is about. The hard part is Monday through Saturday because you have to deal with so much with the media and people talking and this and that. You can't go to the grocery store without people talking about the Super Bowl."
Vince D'Adamo can be reached via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org