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Patriots enter home stretch; Jets come to Gillette

This Week: The New England Patriots (8-6) will return home to Gillette Stadium (68,436 capacity) to face their division rivals, the New York Jets (7-7) on Sunday Night Football. The game will be the Patriots first of two against division opponents at home to end the regular season. The Patriots own a two-game winning streak in the series and will attempt their first season series sweep since 1996. Earlier this season, the Patriots defeated the Jets 44-7 at The Meadowlands, the second widest margin of victory in the 43-year series and the seventh largest victory in Patriots history.

Television: This week's game will be broadcast nationally on ESPN (locally on WCVB Channel 5). The play-by-play duties will be handled by Mike Patrick, who will be joined in the booth by Paul Maguire and Joe Theismann. Suzy Kolber will provide sideline reports throughout the game.

Radio: Every Patriots game can be heard in stereo on the Patriots official flagship station WBCN 104.1 FM. Gil Santos, now in his 26th season as the voice of the Patriots, will call the game along with Patriots Hall of Famer Gino Cappelletti, who will provide in-depth analysis for his 22nd season. A complete list of the Patriots WBCN Rock Radio Network can be found on pages 462-463 of the 2002 Patriots media guide or at www.patriots.com.

National Radio: This week's game can also be heard nationally on CBS Radio. Joel Meyers and Bob Trumpy will be calling all the action and John Riggins will be reporting from the sidelines.

Another December to Remember?: The Patriots have compiled a 7-3 record in the month of December since Bill Belichick assumed the duties as head coach in 2000, including five wins in their last six games. As the temperatures have cooled in recent years, the Patriots have heated up. Since 1993, New England is 13-4 when it's 36 degrees or colder.

Home Sweet Home: The Patriots have won 10 of their last 12 games at home (including preseason and postseason). Foxborough has been a wonderful home to the Patriots since Robert Kraft purchased the team in 1994. The team has compiled a 60-30 (.667) overall record at home during that time span.

This week's game against the Jets will be the Patriots 91st consecutive sellout at home and the 191st consecutive game broadcast locally. The last local blackout was against the Indianapolis Colts on Dec. 26, 1993.

The Beast of the East: The Patriots have won nine of their last 11 games against the AFC East, including three of four this season. Their 3-1 record in 2002 is the best in the division. New England has outscored their divisional opponents 122-57 this season, including a 44-7 victory over the Jets on Sept. 15. The Patriots final two games this season weigh heavily with playoff implications in a race for the AFC East title. If the Patriots win out, they will claim their second consecutive AFC East title.

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