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One Sunday can make all the difference in the world.
The Jets were embattled for the last two weeks, fighting off all manners of conjecture about how quickly their season was spinning out of control and showing none of the swagger that's been a hallmark of the team since Rex Ryan came to town. They beat up the Colts two days ago, though, and that's all it takes to set the world back in order.
Ryan spent Monday standing at a podium and all the old familiar tics were in place. Ryan was jovial, bombastic and grinning after weeks of unhappy sparring with a press corps that used to be eating out of the palm of his hand.
The Colts game wasn't really the topic of conversation, although the whole performance was only possible because of the way the Jets played on Sunday. It was all about the Patriots, who have loomed over the Jets for every minute of Ryan's time as the team's coach.
Ryan came in saying he wasn't going to kiss Bill Belichick's rings and he's had as much success against the hooded misanthrope as any other coach not named Tom Coughlin. That hasn't stopped it from feeling like Ryan is always punching up at Belichick, including Monday when he said something everyone pretty much assumed.
"I want them to know, and they know, that I think we’re going to beat them,” Ryan said. “It doesn’t really matter who says what, but we’re going to be ourselves. And we’re coming up there to take our swing. We’ll see if we land that punch to win the game."
Other Jets hopped on board the train, with Dustin Keller pointing out that the Patriots are usually better than they are at this point in the season. It's true, but a strange point to make when you've got the same record and they've got Tom Brady.
It's typical Ryan bluster, worth about as much as $3 bill and as predictable as anything can be. It would be easy (and correct) to bemoan the fact that Ryan and the Jets view a win over a bad Colts team as being on the same level as a win that actually matters, but those are battles you don't fight unless you're looking to be upset.
You just sit back and enjoy the view while trying to figure out if there really is a punch the Jets are capable of throwing to knock the Patriots out this time.