It's Rex Ryan vs. Bill Belichick for the 13th time -- and probably the last.
The New York Jets-New England Patriots series won't be the same without Ryan, who fueled the rivalry with his bravado and defensive acumen. Ryan has won only four of the 12 meetings, but he captured the biggest one (the 2010 playoff game) and he'd give just about anything to take the last one. He has approached Sunday's game with a playoff-like fire, according to players.
The Patriots (11-3) are trying to lock up the No. 1 seed in the AFC playoffs. The Jets (3-11) would love to be the spoiler.
"Anything we can do to disrupt what they've got going ... that would be great," wide receiver Jeremy Kerley said.
Kickoff is 1 p.m. at MetLife Stadium. The top storylines:
1. Goodbye, Rex: There will be a nostalgic feel to the day because it's the final home game and everyone knows Ryan likely will be fired at the end of the season. Despite a four-year run out of the playoffs, Ryan remains popular among the fan base. This has been an awful season, but his teams have provided some memorable moments at home, including three victories over the Patriots. Ryan downplayed the sentimental angle, insisting it's no different than any other Jets-Patriots game. We're not buying that for a second. Ryan is an emotional coach -- he's been known to cry in front of his players -- and this will tug at his heart strings.
2. Goodbye, Idzik? The love for Ryan could be countered by the disdain for embattled general manager John Idzik. A group of disgruntled fans is planning to distribute about 10,000 "Fire Idzik" penalty flags in the stadium. Banners aren't permitted in the stadium, but there's no rule banning flags or small towels. If the protest takes hold, it will create an embarrassing scene for owner Woody Johnson. Will it influence his decision? Probably not. Chances are, he already has made up his mind. The Jets haven't given any endorsements to Idzik, publicly or privately, which might not bode well for him.
3. Hello, Revis: Things could get ugly, especially for Idzik, if Darrelle Revis returns to haunt his former team. The most controversial decisions of the Idzik era were trading Revis in 2013 and showing no interest in bringing him back last offseason. The latter choice looks terrible considering the Jets' epic struggles at cornerback. Revis was a nonfactor in his return last season as a member of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, but this is a different situation. He's playing like the Revis of old and he's playing for a team that often finds a way to make the Jets look bad.
4. Goodbye, David? Several players could be playing for the Jets' home crowd for the last time, and that group includes linebacker David Harris, who will be a free agent. "I try not to think about it," he said. "I'll approach it like any other day. Who knows what's going to happen after the season?" Harris, winding up a four-year, $36 million contract, is the longest-tenured player on the defense. He will finish as the team's leading tackler for the seventh time in eight years, only two tackles shy of 1,000 in his career. He's a rare breed, an every-down linebacker. Remarkably, he has missed only six defensive snaps this season. He's a quiet leader, never bringing attention to himself. He deserves a nice send-off -- you know, just in case.
5. The game: The Jets are a double-digit home underdog for the first time ever -- well, at least since 1983, according to Vegas. Can they pull off a major upset? Sure, all they have to do is duplicate their performance from the first meeting (no turnovers, 200 rushing yards, 40-minute possession) while eliminating a couple of defensive breakdowns. Good luck with that.