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Pre-Game Report

New England (0-0), New York Jets (0-0)Sunday, Sept. 12, 1999, 1:00 p.m. ETat Meadowlands

Where can you catch the game?

Television: This week's game will be broadcast nationally on CBS (locally on WBZ Channel 4 in Boston). Greg Gumbel will provide play-by-play detail alongside Phil Simms, while Armen Keteyian will report from the sidelines.
Radio:WBCN's Rock Radio Network 104.1 FM. Gil Santos, the voice of the Patriots, will call all the action along with Gino Cappelletti, his broadcast partner for 16 years.

This will be the second consecutive year that the Patriots have opened their season on the road against a defending division champion. Last year, the Patriots made their season debut on Monday Night Football at Mile High Stadium against the defending Super Bowl Champion Denver Broncos. The Broncos won that game by a score of 27-21, but the Patriots rebounded from the loss to win each of their next four games. It was the second consecutive year that the team started their season with a 4-1 record.

The last time the Patriots won a season-opener was in 1997, Pete Carroll's first game as head coach. The Patriots hosted the Chargers that day and defeated them soundly, 41-7. That year, the Patriots jumped out to a 4-0 record to open the season.

Overall, the Patriots are 18-21 in season openers, 6-10 when they open on the road. Their last season opening win on the road was at Indianapolis in 1991 (The Patriots claimed a 16-7 victory). This week's game will be just the fifth time that these two rivals have squared off in a season opener. The Patriots have won three of those first four encounters, including back-to-back wins in 1988 and 1989. The only New York victory in the series came in 1961 when the New York Titans defeated the Boston Patriots 21-20 in the AFL's second season of play.

The last time the Patriots opened the season against the team they closed out the previous season against was in 1993-94. They defeated the Miami Dolphins on Jan. 2, 1994, 33-27 in overtime, to close out the 1993 season. They lost to Miami in the season opener the next season, 39-35 on Sept. 4, 1994. It is the sixth time it has happened in the 40 years of the franchise's history.

The Patriots finished their preseason with a disappointing 1-3 record, their worst showing since 1995. That year, the Patriots finished 6-10 and missed the playoffs after making the playoffs the year before. But, 1-3 was also the preseason record of the Patriots' 1985 team which finished 11-5 during the regular season and went on to claim the franchise's first conference title.

The Jets opened their preseason with a loss to the Green Bay Packers, but rebounded with three consecutive wins to finish 3-1 this year.

SERIES HISTORY

This week's game will be the 79th encounter between the two teams, dating back to the inaugural season of the AFL in 1960. The Patriots have a 35-42-1 record against the Jets. New England has lost the last three games after enjoying a six-game winning streak, their longest of the series.

This will be the fifth time they have met on opening day, the last meeting was in 1989 and the Patriots won, 27-24. The two teams have met once in the playoffs, following the 1985 season. The Patriots defeated the Jets 26-14 in the wild-card round at the Meadowlands on their way to Super Bowl XX. A game-by-game look at the series history is listed below:

LAST TIME ON OPENING DAY

The last time these two teams met on opening day was almost 10 years to the day, Sept. 10, 1989. The Patriots held off a late charge by the Jets, to win 27-24 in the Meadowlands. Patriots' running back Reggie Dupard scored a 4-yard touchdown with 1:55 remaining for the win.

The only player who remains on either team is the Patriots Bruce Armstrong, who started at right tackle in 1989 and will start on the left side this weekend. The head coaches for each team were Raymond Berry for the Patriots and Joe Walton for the Jets.

PATRIOTS VERSUS THE AFC EAST

In the past two years, the Patriots have had the best record within their division. The Patriots first two opponents of the 1999 season will be AFC East rivals; New York Jets (9/12) and Indianapolis Colts (9/19).

WLTPct.
New England Patriots1150.688
New York Jets970.563
Buffalo Bills970.563
Miami Dolphins880.500
Indianapolis Colts3130.188

BEAST OF THE EAST

This will be the third time in the last six years that the Patriots have opened the regular season against two division rivals. In 1994 and 1996 the Patriots opened the season with games at Miami, followed by Buffalo. Both years, the Patriots lost both games, yet still qualified for the playoffs each year. In 1994, the Patriots finished 10-6. In 1996, the Patriots claimed the division title with an 11-5 record.

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