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Patriots face N.Y. Jets in home divisional clash

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Sunday, December 4, 2005
Gillette Stadium (68,756)
4:15 p.m. EST

The Patriots return to Foxborough this week to host the New York Jets in an AFC East matchup. The game against the close geographical rivals begins a seasonending stretch during which five of the Patriots' final six games will be against divisional opponents.

BROADCAST INFORMATION

TELEVISION: This week's game will be broadcast to a regional audience by CBS and can be seen in Boston on WBZ Channel 4. Kevin Harlan will handle play-by-play duties and will be joined by analyst Randy Cross.

RADIO: WBCN 104.1 FM is the flagship station for the Patriots Rock Radio Network. A complete listing of the network's 36 stations can be found in this press release. Play-by-play broadcaster Gil Santos is in his 29th season as the voice of the Patriots and will call the action along with Patriots Hall of Famer Gino Cappelletti. Santos and Cappelletti are celebrating their 22nd season as a broadcast tandem.

PATRIOTS TO HONOR TED JOHNSONThe Patriots will honor three-time Super Bowl champion linebacker Ted Johnson during this week's game. Johnson was among a core group of players who helped the Patriots transition into one of the NFL's elite teams following Robert Kraft's purchase of the franchise in 1994. The middle linebacker spent his entire 10-year career in New England - a rarity during the salary cap era - and played in each of the four Super Bowls the Patriots have reached since Kraft bought the team. In the 10 seasons that Johnson spent in Foxborough, the Patriots compiled a 109-66 record, including a 12-3 playoff mark, while winning four AFC Championships and three Super Bowls. The former second-round choice in the 1995 NFL Draft played in 125 regular-season games and 14 playoff games with New England, amassing 865 career tackles, including 11.5 sacks, six forced fumbles and seven fumble recoveries. Last season, Johnson started 15 of 16 games and finished third on the team with 112 tackles, his highest tackle total in six years.

MILESTONE ON THE HORIZONAdam Vinatieri needs just six points to become the Patriots' all-time leading scorer, surpassing Gino Cappelletti on the Patriots all-time list. Entering this week's game against the Jets, Vinatieri has 1,125 career points, trailing Cappelletti's team-record of 1,130 points.

DOMINANT IN DECEMBERWhen the calendar turns to the 12th month, the weather may turn cold, but in recent years the Patriots have remained red hot. Since Bill Belichick took over as head coach in 2000, the Patriots have recorded a 15-5 (.750) record in games played in the month of December. New England has historically responded well to cold weather, compiling a 22-2 (.917) record since 1993 when the game-time temperature is below 35 degrees. The Patriots' December dominance has fit into the team's recent history of saving its best football for the end of the season. Since 2001, the Patriots have recorded a 41-7 (.854) record in games played after Nov. 1.

SERIES HISTORYThe Patriots and Jets will meet for the 91st time since the series between the AFC East rivals began in 1960. The Patriots have won four straight and six of the last seven games between the teams, including sweeps of the two games in each of the last two years. The Jets hold an overall edge in the series, but the Patriots lead the series 13-9 since Robert Kraft purchased the team in 1994. The teams split the season series in 2001 and 2002, with all games being won by the visiting team in those years. With their 91st meeting this week, the Jets tie the Buffalo Bills as the most frequent opponent in Patriots history. New England's 42 victories over the Jets (including one playoff win) are the third most over any single opponent, trailing only Buffalo (50 all-time wins) and Indianapolis (43).

PATRIOTS-JETS QUICK HITS* Only two players on the Jets' 53-man roster (RB Curtis Martin and FB Jerald Sowell) remain with the team from the time when Patriots head coach Bill Belichick served as New York's assistant head coach/secondary (1997-99). Three Jets currently on injured reserve were also with the team when Belichick was there (C Kevin Mawae, OT Jason Fabini and WR Wayne Chrebet).

  • Two members of the Jets coaching staff are former Patriots players: defensive backs coach Corwin Brown (a Patriots safety from 1993-96) and assistant running backs/assistant special teams coach Sam Gash (a Patriots fullback from 1992-97).

BEAST OF THE EASTNew England has won 12 of its last 13 divisional games and owns the best record among AFC East teams in division games since the beginning of the 2001 season (22-6). The New York Jets rank second with a 14-14 record and Miami is third with a 12-17 mark. Buffalo has a 10-19 record. In their last 25 divisional games, the Patriots are 21-4.

PASSING PERFORMANCESTom Brady owns a 6-1 record against the Jets as a starting quarterback. Of the four quarterbacks on the Jets roster, Jay Fiedler (4-4) and Vinny Testaverde (5-8) have each started games against the Patriots in their careers. Jets signal callers Brooks Bollinger and Kliff Kingsbury have not played against the Patriots.

CONNECTIONS FORMER PATRIOTS/JETS

  • Patriots head coach Bill Belichick was the Jets' assistant head coach/secondary for three seasons (1997-99).
  • As head coach of the Cleveland Browns, Belichick hired Mike Tannenbaum as a personnel intern. He is now the Jets' senior vice president/football operations and assistant general manager. Tannenbaum attended high school in Needham, Mass.
  • Defensive line coachPepper Johnson played for two seasons with the Jets before retiring in 1999. In his first season with the Jets, he was voted captain before the start of the regular season.
  • Defensive coordinatorEric Mangini served as the Jets defensive assistant/quality control coach from 1997-99.
  • Special teams coach Brad Seely held the same position with the Jets in 1994.
  • Patriots Vice President of Player Personnel Scott Pioli was the director of pro personnel for the Jets from 1997-1999.
  • Jets director of physical development Markus Paul was the Patriots' assistant strength and conditioning coach from 2000-04.
  • Jets cornerback Ty Law was drafted by New England in the first round (23rd overall) of the 1995 NFL Draft and played for the Patriots from 1995-2004 and is tied with Raymond Clayborn for the club record with 36 career regular-season interceptions. Law set a club record with seven interceptions returned for touchdowns, including a 47-yard return for a score in Super Bowl XXXVI.
  • Jets running back Curtis Martin was originally drafted by the Patriots in the third round (74th overall) of the 1995 NFL Draft and played for the Patriots from 1995-97. While with New England, Martin played on the same team as current Patriots Troy Brown, Willie McGinest, Tedy Bruschi and Adam Vinatieri in addition to Jets cornerback Ty Law. Additionally, Patriots Head Coach Bill Belichick was the Patriots' assistant head coach/secondary in 1996.
  • Jets quarterback Kliff Kingsbury was drafted in the fifth round (201st overall) by the Patriots in the 2003 NFL Draft. Kingsbury spent the 2003 season with the Patriots on injured reserve and was released following 2004 training camp.
  • Jets defensive backs coach Corwin Brown played safety for the Patriots from 1993-96.
  • Jets assistant running backs/assistant special teams coach Sam Gash played fullback for the Patriots from 1992-97.
  • Patriots linebacker Don Davis originally signed with the Jets as a rookie free agent in the spring of 1995. HOMETOWN OR COLLEGE TIES
  • Patriots defensive lineman Dan Klecko's father, Joe Klecko, was a four-time Pro Bowl defensive tackle for the Jets from 1977-87. Dan Klecko grew up in New Jersey and attended Marlboro (N.J.) High School.
  • Patriots punter Josh Miller attended high school in East Brunswick, N.J. and was born in Rockaway, N.Y.
  • Jets guard Pete Kendall attended Boston College in Chestnut Hill, Mass.
  • Jets assistant to the head coach/running backs coachDick Curl was the quarterbacks coach at Boston College from 1989-91.
  • Jets offensive line coach Doug Marrone was the offensive line coach at Northeastern University in 1994.
  • Jets quarterback Jay Fiedler attended Dartmouth College in Hanover, N.H. FORMER NFL TEAMMATES
  • Jets quarterback Vinny Testaverde started 31 games at quarterback for the Cleveland Browns from 1993-95, when Bill Belichick was the team's head coach.
  • Patriots linebacker Monty Beisel and Jets running back Derrick Blaylock were teammates with the Kansas City Chiefs for four years from 2001-04. Beisel was Kansas City's fourth-round pick in the 2001 draft and Blaylock was the Chiefs' fifth-round selection that season. Patriots running back Michael Cloud was also with the Chiefs in 2001 and 2002.
  • Patriots special teams captain Larry Izzo and Jets quarterback Jay Fiedler were teammates while both were with the Miami Dolphins in 2000.
  • Patriots wide receiver Andre' Davis and Jets linebacker Barry Gardner were teammates with the Cleveland Browns in 2003 and 2004.
  • Patriots safety Michael Stone played for the Arizona Cardinals with Jets cornerback David Barrett and Jets guard Pete Kendall for three season from 2001-03.
  • Patriots running back Michael Cloud and Jets defensive lineman Lance Legree were teammates with the New York Giants in 2004.
  • Patriots quarterback Doug Flutie and Jets defensive lineman Kenyatta Wright were both members of the Buffalo Bills in 2000.
  • Patriots special teams captain Larry Izzo played for the Miami Dolphins from 1996-2000, during which time Jets assistant head coach/special teams coordinator Mike Westhoff was the Dolphins' special teams coach. Izzo earned his first Pro Bowl berth under Westhoff's tutelage in 2000. Additionally, Jets offensive coordinator Mike Heimerdinger held the same position at Rice University during Izzo's freshman and sophomore seasons at Rice (1992-93), and Jets tight ends coach John Zernhelt was Rice's offensive line coach during those seasons.

FORMER COLLEGE TEAMMATES

  • Patriots nose tackle Vince Wilfork and Jets linebacker Jonathan Vilma were four-year teammates on the University of Miami defense from 2000-03.
  • Patriots quarterbackTom Brady, Jets guard Jonathan Goodwin, Jets fullback B.J. Askewand Jets linebacker Victor Hobson were teammates at the University of Michigan in 1999.
  • Patriots wide receiver David Givens and Jets defensive lineman Lance Legreewere teammates at Notre Dame from 1998-2000.
  • Patriots safetyEugene Wilson and Jets guard Brandon Moorewere four-year teammates at the University of Illinois from 1999-2002
  • Patriots wide receiver Deion Branch and Jets rookie safety Kerry Rhodes were teammates at the University of Louisville in 2001.

MILESTONES/MISC.

  • Patriots cornerback Asante Samuel recorded his first career interception when he picked off Jets quarterback Vinny Testaverde and returned it 55 yards for the game winning touchdown on Sept. 21, 2003.
  • Patriots running back Kevin Faulk set a career-high with a 95-yard kickoff return vs. the Jets (11/15/99). It was the eighth longest return - and the longest non-scoring return - in franchise history.
  • Patriots quarterback Doug Flutie played for the New Jersey Generals of the USFL in 1985 and played his home games at Giants Stadium, the home field of the Jets.

START ME UPArtrell Hawkins started at safety and Heath Evans started at running back, bringing the Patriots' season total to 43 different starters. New England's total of 43 starters eclipses its total from the 2003 season, when the Patriots used 42 starters and set an NFL record for the most starters by a division champion. In 2004, the Patriots utilized 40 different starters. So far in 2005, the Patriots have used 21 different starters on offense and 22 different starters on defense. The defensive total includes 12 different players who have started in the secondary, a number that eclipsed last season's total of nine. Hawkins becomes the seventh different player to start at strong safety for the Patriots this season.

PATRIOTS-JETS RIVALRY
0
The number of teams that have defeated the Patriots twice at Gillette Stadium. New York claimed a 30-17 victory there on Dec.22, 2002, New England's final loss in Foxborough before embarking on a 21-game home winning streak.

1
The number of times in the 90-game series between the Patriots and Jets that a contest ended in a tie. The teams fought to a 24-24 deadlock at Fenway Park on Oct. 2, 1966.

2
The number of members of the Jets coaching staff who are former Patriots players (defensive backs coach Corwin Brown and assistant running backs/assistant special teams coach Sam Gash).

3
The number of seasons that Patriots head coach Bill Belichick spent as the assistant head coach/secondary for New York(1997-99).

4
The number of points that separate the Patriots and Jets in the aggregate score of the 90 previous games between the teams. In those games, the Jets have scored 1,975 points and the Patriots have scored 1,971 points.

5
The number of players who remain with New York from the period when Bill Belichick was an assistant with the team: RB Curtis Martin, FB Jerald Sowell, C Kevin Mawae (IR), OT Jason Fabini (IR), WR Wayne Chrebet (IR).

6
The number of times the Patriots have defeated the Jets in the seven meetings between the teams since the Jets claimed a 10-3 victory at Foxboro Stadium on Sept. 23, 2001.

7
The number of points the Patriots defense allowed in each of their two games against New York in 2004 (13-7 on Oct. 24; 23-7 on Dec. 26)

8
The number of touchdown passes Tom Brady has thrown against the Jets in his career.

9
The number of consecutive times the Patriots lost to the Jets from Dec. 17, 1966 to Nov. 22, 1970 - the longest winning streak by either team in the series.

SECONDARY SITUATION

8
The number of different players who have started at safety for the Patriots this season (Eugene Wilson, Rodney Harrison, Guss Scott, Randall Gay, Arturo Freeman, James Sanders, Michael Stone, Artrell Hawkins).

21
The number of different defensive backs who have seen time on the Patriots roster since the beginning of the 2004 season (not including LB Don Davis or WR Troy Brown, both of whom have seen action in the secondary since 2004).

14
The number of different defensive backs who have been on the Patriots roster in 2005.

11
The number of different players who have started in the secondary through 11 games in 2005.

6
The number of defensive backs currently on injured reserve for the Patriots (Rodney Harrison, Tyrone Poole, Guss Scott, Chad Scott, Duane Starks, Randall Gay).

HAPPY POST-THANKSGIVING

27-4
Tom Brady's career record in games played on Thanksgiving or later in the NFL season (.871 winning percentage), including playoff games.

17
The number of victories the Patriots have earned in their last 19 post-Thanksgiving games, including playoff games, dating back to the 2002 season finale.

AUTOMATIC ADAM

23
The number of consecutive fourth-quarter field goals Adam Vinatieri has made since missing a 43-yarder in the fourth quarter against the Buffalo Bills on Dec. 8, 2002.

96.4%
Vinatieri's success rate in the second half of games since the 2003 season finale. He has hit 27 of his 28 second-half field goals since that time.

22-for-23
Vinatieri's accuracy numbers since the beginning of the 2001 season when the Patriots are either leading or behind by a touchdown or less.

20
The number of game-winning kicks Vinatieri has converted in his career, including two this season, 12 since the beginning of the 2001 season and two in Super Bowl play.

1,125
The number of points Vinatieri has scored in his career, five shy of the Patriots' all-time record (Gino Cappelletti, 1,130).

257
The number of successful field goals Vinatieri has made in his career, the most in Patriots history.

155
Consecutive games in which Vinatieri has played, establishing the second longest streak in team history. He trails only Raymond Clayborn's franchise record (161). Vinatieri has not missed a game in his 10-year career.

2005 MILESTONES

6
The number of points kicker Adam Vinatieri needs to become the Patriots' all-time leading scorer. His current career total is 1,125 points. Gino Cappelletti (1960-70) holds the franchise record with 1,130 points.

15
The number of receptions David Givens needs to set a singleseason career high. Givens enters this week's game with 42 receptions and set a career high with 56 receptions in 2004.

4.5
The number of sacks Willie McGinest needs to pass Julius Adams (79.5 sacks) for second place on the team's all-time sacks list.

CONSECUTIVE STREAKS

73
Consecutive games in which Tom Brady has started at quarterback, the longest consecutive starts streak on the team.

33
Consecutive games in which Willie McGinest has started at outside linebacker, the longest consecutive starts streak on the Patriots defense.

254
Consecutive Patriots games televised locally, including preseason, regular-season and postseason games.

122
Consecutive sellouts in Foxborough, including preseason, regular-season and postseason games.

NOTE: All of the above streaks include regular-season games only, unless noted.

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