"You know he can't stand me," Ryan said last week at the NFL owners meeting in New Orleans. "One day, I expect him to roll out one time, launch a ball at me and take the incompletion. That's what I worry about."
Rex Ryan's Jets beat the Patriots in two out of three games last season.
But there should be no mistaking Ryan's respect for the Patriots.
Even though the Jets have outlasted the Patriots in each of Ryan's two seasons -- the Jets have gone to the AFC East Championship Game both times, while the Patriots have been one-and-done after home defeats -- Ryan won't say his team is better yet.
"I can't say we've caught them because they've won our division two straight years," Ryan said. "But we know we can beat them. We're 3-2 against them since I've been here. That was what everybody forgot: We beat them in Week 2. We got crushed in the Monday Night Massacre. Belichick outcoached me. But we beat them pretty good in Week 2.
"We're right there with anybody in this league. Obviously, they had the best record in football, and they earned that. But we certainly never feared them. We respected them, but we didn't fear them. We knew that we were going to play a zillion times better than we did that Monday night. My kid's high school team might have played better than that. But you know what? We beat them two out of three.
"I know they're going to circle those games, and so will we."