2005_12_sbradypats.jpgWhen the NFL first released its 2005 schedule, someone somewhere was happy at the prospect of seeing the defending champion New England Patriots have to play the upstart Jets twice in the season's final month - both Sunday in Foxboro, Mass. (4:15, TV: WCBS - 2, Radio: 1050 AM ESPN), and in a Dec. 26 Monday night matchup in East Rutherford.

At the time, it had to look good on paper. But that was long before injuries decimated the rosters of both teams ...Namely for the Jets (2-9): QBs Chad Pennington and Jay Fiedler , OL Kevin Mawae and Jason Fabini, TE Chris Baker, WR Wayne Chrebet and LB Eric Barton; meanwhile the Pats will be without RB Corey Dillon, OL Matt Light, DBs Rodney Harrison, Tyrone Poole, Duane Starks and Randall Gay and DE Richard Seymour.

Things have gone so (relatively) roughly for the Pats (6-5), that head coach/proven genius/pal of Bon Jovi Bill Belichick's ESPN Sportsnation "approval rating" is at 70% (Read: This is only 9 percentage points more than Herman Edwards...for a guy that's won three Super Bowls in the past four years - my those Chowderheads have gotten fickle in a hurry!). But maybe it is the "Charlie Weis is now immortal (and no longer in Foxboro)" factor.

If the game remains competitive, then the "Just End The Season" acronym might be able to wait another week or two. Gothamist thinks Tom Brady will have a big day and make the Jets wish harder to get Matt Leinart. Pats 27-14.

Photo by REUTERS/Dave Kaup