Ryan Fitzpatrick is practicing in North Jersey and will be playing with his left knee braced up. QB Tom Brady sat out today's practice in Foxboro with a knee issue.
Fitzpatrick celebrates his 34th birthday on Thursday, Thanksgiving Day. Brady turned 39 back in training camp.
Sunday's Jets-Patriots game will be either the battle of the geezer QBs or a blue-ribbon competition between two AFC East signalcallers aging like fine wine. Or somewhere in between.
"We all know what a great player he is and even in a historical context what a great player he is," Fitzpatrick said after today's practice about Brady. "But to be able to take the hits week after week and continue to be out there ... I don't feel like I'm a spring chicken anymore. I'll be 34 tomorrow. It's amazing to see a guy like that that just looks better than ever."
Given the chance to make a birthday wish that Brady will have to sit out Sunday's division game, Fitz declined.
"You always want to be at full strength with your team and full strength with the other team, just so you can everybody that's supposed to be on the field on the field," Fitzpatrick said, adding somewhat forlornly, "He doesn't miss too many games."
Fitzpatrick has a special rule when his birthday falls on Turkey Day: "It just means I don't have as much pie but I've got to save room for birthday cake."
But the last time these two met, Fitzpatrick prevailed in last year's overtime thriller at MetLife Stadium 11 months ago. Maybe he'll get to gobble up the victor's spoils again in the Meadowlands on Sunday. Fans can get a preview of Fitz's war call when the Jets' Thanksgiving messages to fans goes up on newyorkjets.com first thing tomorrow morning.
Wilk's FormulaMuhammad Wilkerson was asked what it would take for the Jets defense to rule the day against Brady. He gave a tried and true response:
"We've just got to be disruptive up front," Mo said, "get him off his mark, make him feel uncomfortable. That's pretty much it."
The rule has worked relatively well for the Jets since Brady started tormenting them as the Pats' starter in 2001, but it's a high bar. Sack him four times or more and the Jets are 3-3. Sack him three times or fewer and they're 5-19, a winning percentage of .208.
That's close to how the rest of the NFL fares against TB: Opponents other than the Jets aren't quite as good with four-plus sacks (10-16, .385), slightly better with three or fewer (46-158, .226).
Best Snapshots from Wednesday of Patriots Week
Injuries, InjuriesThe Jets had fewer names on their first injury report after the bye week, 11 in all. Four players didn't practice, including C Nick Mangold (ankle), who's missed the last three games since injuring his ankle against the Ravens. the longest stretch he's missed in his 11-year career.
"I haven't seen him run yet, so I'd have to say no," head coach Todd Bowles said about if his Pro Bowl center is showing signs of improvement. "He's not in a boot, but at the same time, he's not doing anything that I see." Bowles said neither IR nor surgery is an option yet for Mangold.
Besides Brady, WR/ST Matt Slater (foot) also didn't practice for New England. Word earlier today was that TE Rob Gronkowski (chest) would sit out this game, but that's not the view yet of the Patriots, who listed Gronkowski as limited (as well as TE Martellus Bennett with an ankle). And it's not Bowles' view, either: "We expect Gronk to play."
Click here for both teams' full I-reports after today's practices.