Originally posted on Fox Sports Florida  |  Last updated 10/25/12
DAVIE, Fla. During a conference call Wednesday with South Florida reporters, New York Jets coach Rex Ryan used the word "huge" five times in describing his team's game Sunday against the Miami Dolphins. That might not have been enough. "He understated the word huge,' " said Dolphins cornerback Nolan Carroll. "Thats how big it is." A Super Bowl is set for the Meadowlands in February 2014. From what some players are saying, this one at the stadium sounds just as big. Of course, its not. But the Dolphins are a team that hasnt played in many big games lately, so let them hype things. "We told (the players) its fun to come to work in late October, November and December and play in meaningful games," said mild-mannered first-year Miami coach Joe Philbin in what is a choice sound bite by his standards. The Dolphins are 3-3, and the Jets are 3-4. That might sound mediocre, but not by AFC East standards. New England leads the division at 4-3. So a Dolphins win would keep them a half-game behind or give them the AFC East lead if the Patriots lose Sunday to St. Louis in London. "Its awfully important because its a division game and we see ourselves as a playoff team," Miami defensive end Jared Odrick said of facing the Jets. "And the best way and the easiest way to get into the playoffs is winning the division. So thats what our goal is. Its for the division, and it starts with the Jets this week." Adding some spice to the game are comments made by the Jets and Dolphins running back Reggie Bush before and after New York's 23-20 overtime win at Miami on Sept. 23. Or should we say adding some "hot sauce." Ryan had said before the game that the Jets wanted to put some "hot sauce" on Bush, who ended up being knocked out with a knee injury on a second-quarter hit by safety LaRon Landry. That comment and Jets linebacker Calvin Pace saying afterward that "we had to put him on out" didnt go over well with Bush. The game also featured Jets cornerback Darrelle Revis suffering a season-ending torn ACL. Bush said on a Miami radio station two days later, "Its like the old saying, what goes around comes around." Pace later said his comment was misinterpreted. However, Landry hasnt seemed too forgiving. "(Bush) will remember that hit," Landry said this week. "Every time he sees me, he will remember that hit." Ryan this week apologized for his "hot sauce" phrasing and said Bush also should apologize for what he said. But Ryan later said he didnt need any forgiveness from Bush while stressing he would "never want to hurt a player in this league." "I dont believe that at all," Bush responded. "But it is what it is. The great thing about divisional opponents is you get a chance to play them twice." The Dolphins sure like getting a chance for revenge five weeks after a very tough loss. They know it would be a big setback to fall again to the Jets, which would assure having lost the head-to-head tiebreaker. "Its a big game," said Dolphins defensive end Cameron Wake. "The Jets game we dont like each other. We love to play each other, and I cant wait." If Miami wins and the Patriots lose, it would mark the latest the Dolphins have been in first place in the AFC East since they wrapped up their last division title on the final day of the 2008 season. And they beat the Jets to do it. Much has changed for the Dolphins since then. Theyve had three straight losing seasons, and this was projected by many to be another brutal campaign. It hasnt been so far for Miami, which has won two straight. If they hadnt kicked away double-digit leads in back-to-back overtime losses in late September to the Jets and Arizona, the Dolphins would be 5-1 and really would be the talk of the NFL. "It think weve proved everybody wrong," said Miami center Mike Pouncey. "I think people didnt even give us a chance this year to even win five games. I think we should be 5-1, but with the pace were on, I think were a playoff team. "We came into the season tired of all the losing and tired of all the critics and put our mindset that we were going to be a winning football team, that we were going to change things around. We changed our coaching staff and brought in winners, and they put us in the right direction." A win would help the Dolphins continue to move in that direction. A win also is much needed by the Jets, who have lost three of four and dont want to fall two games behind New England. "Its a huge game for both teams, without question," Ryan said. "If its said otherwise, its not true because nobody believes it. Everybody knows how huge this game is. Its a divisional game. Its an opportunity for us, to win this game, to have two wins over them. . . . "Its a huge game. Clearly, were getting ready to go into our bye (week). You want to be feeling good about yourself, like Miami is coming off of two straight wins. It really is a huge game." That was four mentions of "huge" in one Ryan sound bite. One gets the point. Chris Tomasson can be reached at christomasson@hotmail.com or on Twitter @christomasson
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