The question was inevitable and Brett Favre, as he's done so many times before, zipped a winning reply.
About halfway through Favre's weekly news conference, the Jets' quarterback was asked if he felt any extra pressure this week heading into the divisional battle with the Patriots, which will break the tie for first place in the AFC East. After all, the Jets had acquired Favre to help beat the Pats.
"I haven't really thought about it. That may be true. Then again, it may not be," he said. "That may have been why we brought Kris Jenkins in. Let's put it off on Kris."
And laughter from all gathered in the Atlantic Health Training Center media interview room ensued. The 39-year-old Favre, in his 18th NFL season, has played in plenty of big games throughout his career and he acknowledges the significance of Thursday's affair.
"I know exactly what this game means, the weight that it carries. I'm well aware what New England has done over the past decade or so," he said. "It just comes down to football and I'm well aware of what this game means."
In two days, Favre will start his 263rd consecutive game and he isn't too concerned about the Jets' condensed week of preparation. At this point of his illustrious career, he essentially views practice as little more than a means to an end.
"It's a short week — no overscheming, no overthinking," he said. "It just comes down to execution."
His task is to beat the banged-up but game Patriots in their house. The Pats have endured plenty of losses this season: QB Tom Brady never made it through Game 1, veteran safety Rodney Harrison and top running back Laurence Maroney are on injured reserve, and outside linebacker Adalius Thomas broke his forearm Sunday against the Bills. But Pats head coach Bill Belichick is a master technician and he finds ways to get his team in position to win games.
Favre, who's at the controls of an offense averaging 28.3 points a game, third-highest in the NFL behind the Cardinals and Giants, said Belichick will implement a straightforward formula to defend the Jets.
"He beats you, in my opinion, with simplicity," he said.
The trick for Favre and his offensive line will be to recognize who's rushing and who's dropping. The Patriots have an experienced defensive front that manhandled the Bills, and Favre says they rarely blitz.
"They do a good job disguising and the reason they do a good job disguising is they have very smart, instinctive players, some experienced players who can kind of help the young guys along," Favre said. "But its real simple. It's based off a couple of things."
Through nine games, Favre has completed 69 percent of his passes with 16 TDs and 12 INTs. He's had good dialogue with the Jets' coaching staff throughout the season, openly discussing game plans and playcalling comfort.
"We try to simplify it from a motion and shifts and formation standpoint," he said. "I like to know where they're lining up. I don't want to overscheme myself more or less."
After starting 1-2, the Jets have won five of six. They've had their most complete efforts the last two times out, the 26-17 win at Buffalo followed by the 47-3 home romp over the Rams.
While the passing game has experienced its ups and downs, the Jets have become a strong running outfit. Bolstered by the off-season free agency signings of RT Damien Woody and LG Alan Faneca along with the spring addition of FB Tony Richardson, the Green & White are averaging 4.6 yards a carry and Thomas Jones' 750 yards on the ground leads the AFC.
"We're still trying to find our identity for the most part but with each week, I feel like we're getting better and better," Favre said.
As Thursday nears and hype grows, Favre doesn't change a bit. Outwardly, he carries a calm demeanor because he's played in the Coliseum before. His regular-season record as a starter is 166-98 and he actually got his biggest win ever against the Patriots, by 35-21, in Super Bowl XXXI, completing 14 of 27 for 246 yards and two TDs against a defense coordinated by Bill Belichick.
Is this a big game? Well, you'd be foolish to refute that but Favre's got experience in this arena and you know he hopes this is the first of many this season.
"The bottom line is we've both put ourselves in position to take over first place. And as I said Sunday, there is still a lot of football left after this game," he said. "Both teams can't put their eggs into one basket."