Jets look forward to another battle at the Black Hole
When New York takes on Oakland Saturday it will be their fourth trip there in the last 20 games.
HEMPSTEAD, N.Y. (AP) -- One thing the New York Jets won't be when they visit the Oakland Raiders next weekend is intimidated.
Not after facing so many knockout-type games this season. Not after being such a frequent visitor to the Black Hole. Not with the way they're playing.
The Jets come off their most lopsided game of the season and of their playoff history, a 41-0 rout of Indianapolis on Saturday. When Pittsburgh rallied to beat Cleveland on Sunday, it meant the Jets would make their fourth trip to the Oakland Coliseum in 20 games.
They can't wait.
All phases are working
"We're playing with all three phases working right now. I think we are better there and we are better in our confidence," Jets coach Herman Edwards said Sunday when he knew another meeting with the Raiders was on tap. "We feel like we are OK.
"We knew we were a good team" in the first game between the teams this season, Oakland's 26-20 victory Dec. 2, "but now when we need a play to be made, somebody is going to make a play. That shows confidence in your guys. Guys are playing on each other. That's a team, that is when a team is functioning pretty well.
"They understand that as a team we are 11-5 over the last two years on the road. They know how to play on the road, they know the mind-set."
That mind-set has been the same pretty much since the Jets were 2-5. Edwards accentuated to the players and coaching staff at that time to concentrate on just one thing: winning the next game. Of course, they couldn't afford too many more defeats.
He emphasized not to let the naysayers get to them. Don't look down the road. Just think about the next opponent and their job in trying to beat it.
Won eight of last 10 games
Looks like it worked, as the Jets won seven of nine, sneaked to the AFC East title with some help on the final day of the season, then romped past the Colts.
"When you are 2-5 you have to really dig down deep," Edwards said. "It is about your will and not so much the skill your team has. This team has a lot of will. It is your will that gets you going and they understood that. That is where I am so happy -- they kept believing."
Added linebacker James Darling, who had an interception of Peyton Manning on Saturday: "We knew that we're a good team, we just had to put it all together. Now guys are making plays at the right time, and we just have to keep it going."
Raiders hold commanding edge
They will have to do that in a city where they are 1-10-1 and in a stadium where they are 1-7-1. That victory was 24-22 in the finale of 2001, which lifted the Jets into a wild-card playoff spot.
But the following week, they were beaten 38-24 by Oakland in the wild-card round.
Still, the Oakland Coliseum is almost like a home away from home.
"When we pull up to that place, the people know all the [Jets] players' names. It's the fourth time in a year, that is amazing," Edwards said.
"The guy at the coffee place, Starbucks, he'll have my table ready when I go over there on Saturday. They know we are coming."