After each team needed a late field goal to win their respective season openers, the New England Patriots and New York Jets are taking a more businesslike approach heading into the latest installment of a rivalry that has been one-sided of late.
Looking to extend their dominance within the AFC East, the Patriots try for a sixth consecutive regular-season win over the visiting Jets on Thursday night.
Trash-talking from both sides has often preceded matchups between these division rivals, and the image of New York quarterback Mark Sanchez fumbling into the behind of one of his own linemen during last season's 49-19 Thanksgiving night loss to New England is hard to forget. However, neither team has time to bring up the past or focus on anything other than preparing for this quick turnaround.
"It's Boston-New York," New England quarterback Tom Brady said. "It's going to be exciting. Hopefully, we can go out on a short week and win the game."
New England is riding an 11-game winning streak over East teams since a 34-31 loss at Buffalo on Sept. 25, 2011. The Patriots have won 12 consecutive division home games during the regular season since a 34-31 overtime defeat to the Jets on Nov. 13, 2008.
That is the only time in New York's last five regular-season trips to Foxborough that it has prevailed. Perhaps the biggest victory in coach Rex Ryan's tenure with the Jets, though, came at New England in the divisional playoffs following the 2010 season.
"If you want to win your division you have to beat (the Patriots)," Ryan said. "It's going to be a huge challenge without question."
Brady no longer has Wes Welker or Aaron Hernandez as targets and injuries continue to limit tight end Rob Gronkowski, but the Jets know the man they must stop is still on the field.
"Their team is different now," Ryan said. "But again, it's New England. It starts with Brady."
He's completed 67.6 percent of his passes and thrown 13 touchdowns with one interception during the five-game regular-season winning streak against the Jets.
Even with a new - and in some cases less-experienced - supporting cast, New England offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels believes that success can continue.
"Tom has had a lot of games against this defense, a lot of games against coach Ryan's unit, and this is not going to be different in that regard," he said.
Brady was 29 of 52 for 288 yards with two touchdowns and an interception during Sunday's 23-21 win at Buffalo. He completed four passes to Danny Amendola for 26 yards and three to running back Shane Vereen for 10 on the drive that set up Stephen Gostkowski's 35-yard field goal with 5 seconds remaining.
Vereen rushed for 101 yards on 14 carries but will miss at least eight weeks after he broke a small bone in his left wrist. Amendola caught 10 passes for 104 yards, but is dealing with a groin injury and is uncertain to suit up Thursday.
Brady might again look to Julian Edelman, who had seven receptions for 79 yards and two TDs. Rookie Kenbrell Thompkins was targeted 14 times Sunday but caught four passes for 42 yards.
Running back Stevan Ridley likely will start after his playing time was cut following a second-quarter fumble. He ran for 97 yards and a TD on 21 attempts against the Jets on Thanksgiving.
"We know that there are some players on our offense that are gaining experience each week and that there are plenty of players on our offense that have plenty of experience already,'' McDaniels said. "Our standard is high. We want to play good offense and take care of the football and maintain our balance, score in the red zone and convert on third down.
"Those things are never going to change."
Though the Patriots have averaged 38.0 points and 419.2 yards in the last five regular-season meetings with New York, they could be in for a challenge against a Jets defense that held Tampa Bay to 250 total yards and three second-half points during Sunday's 18-17 win.
Buccaneers star Doug Martin managed 65 yards with a TD on 24 carries.
"We've just got to do our job week in and out," safety Dawan Landry said. "Every week's going to be a challenge. We're going to be up for it, though.''
Hours after Geno Smith went 24 of 38 for 256 yards with a TD, interception and fumble in his NFL debut for the Jets, he was studying the Patriots on film.
"We're going to do our best to prepare ourselves, and we will be ready come Thursday night," said Smith, who took a late hit from Tampa Bay's Lavonte David that resulted in a penalty and set up Nick Folk's winning 48-yard field goal with 2 seconds left.
Smith ran for a team-high 47 yards on six carries, but New York needs more production from the tandem of Bilal Powell and Chris Ivory after they combined for 44 on 22 rushes.
Smith will be without one of the team's more versatile weapons. Receiver/returner Jeremy Kerley will miss Thursday's game with a concussion, so New York re-signed Ben Obomanu on Tuesday to help fill in.