Have Jets supplanted Patriots in April?

This was inevitable.

ESPNNewYork.com and ESPNBoston.com are about to come to blows.

We tried to keep them separated for as long as possible, but like two children sitting in the backseat on an interstate road trip, sniping was impossible to avoid.

The quarrel began Monday morning, when ESPNNewYork.com columnist Johnette Howard, in a wickedly funny piece, proclaimed the Patriots' divisional reign was over. The Jets, having made yet another substantial acquisition by trading for Santonio Holmes, had accumulated too much talent.

Good night, New England. It was a nice run while it lasted, right? Tom Brady likely got a Hall of Fame plaque and got Gisele Bundchen. Bill Belichick cemented his genius label and perfected the dead-fish handshake. The Patriots got a few championships. But it's over now. Done. Thanks for the memories. What the Giants started with their Super Bowl XLII upset of the Patriots' 18-0 team, another New York club -- the Jets -- is about to finish.

Howard added the Patriots are in a rebuilding mode already.

ESPNBoston.com reporter Mike Reiss begged to differ with Howard's stance and fired back with a levelheaded and methodical counterpoint column to declare the Patriots aren't dead yet.

Reiss remembers a conversations he had with former Patriots personnel chief Scott Piloi about the media being too easily smitten with springtime transactions.

Pioli once challenged me to match the newspaper headlines from March and April with results in December and January. It wasn't pretty, and my work was right there at the top of the underperforming list. If my opinions were evaluated as harshly as Pioli himself was, I would have been looking for a new job.

That's one reason conceding the AFC East to anyone on April 12 is a dubious proposition, especially when Tom Brady is the quarterback of the Patriots and Mark Sanchez is entering his second season with the Jets.

Reiss, preaching cautiousness, pointed out the Patriots will open the season with players who aren't on their roster right now. Others will have their nameplates removed from locker stalls in Gillette Stadium.

Normally, I hate when family members fight.

But when they're debating the Jets and the Patriots, I'd rather just let them go at it. Hopefully for several months.