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Rex Ryan on Tom Brady: 'Phew!'

Rex Ryan talks during a news conference at

Rex Ryan talks during a news conference at SUNY Cortland in Cortland, N.Y. (July 27, 2012) (Credit: Newsday/J. Conrad Williams Jr.)

Is it possible that Tom Brady is getting better?

Rex Ryan could only mutter a “phew!” when asked Tuesday morning about the Patriots quarterback, whom the Jets will face on Thanksgiving night at MetLife Stadium.

In the last four games, Brady, 35, has thrown 11 TDs and zero INTs. For the season his totals are 21 TDs and 3 INTs.

“When you look at him, you could almost say he’s like a machine back there,” Ryan said. “The thing about him – he’s a machine, yet he’s passionate and a fiery leader and all that type of stuff. You wish he was just a machine, but his competitive side elevates his team as well. That’s because you’re getting those once-in-a-generation type quarterbacks. He’s just a special guy.”

The Patriots hung 59 points on the Colts on Sunday. They will be without tight end Rob Gronkowski (broken forearm) for four-to-six weeks, but are hoping to get Aaron Hernandez (ankle) back on Sunday.

New England leads the NFL in points per game with 35.8.

“When you look at them offensively – doesn’t get sacked, they don’t turn the ball over, they lead the league in points, rushing’s in the top five [fifth],” Ryan said. “They’re just . . . I don’t know.”

The Jets lost their first meeting with New England this season, 29-26 in overtime in Week 7. Brady was 26-of-42 for 259 yards with two TDs and no INTs.

“He delivered and they got the victory,” Ryan said. “We know each other so well. We know enough of Tom Brady to know that if he knows exactly what you’re in, you’re in trouble. So you’ve got to make adjustments, you’ve got to be multiple, and that’s hard to do. They’ve actually slowed down their no-huddle. It hasn’t been quite as fast as it was. Maybe they go to that, maybe they don’t, but against a [Bill] Belichick team you have to be prepared for everything."

The victory against the Jets started a four-game winning streak for the Patriots (7-3), who actually started the season 1-2. Boston-accented consternation was heard all over New England, but the Patriots have turned it around and take a three-game lead over the three other AFC East teams into Thursday.

“The good teams get better as the season goes on,” Ryan said. “Certainly, that’s a team that they’re well-coached. There’s new parts each year on different teams and some times it takes a little longer to get those guys together. A lot of times your really good teams will start taking off at the end.

Unprompted, Ryan then added: “And I know what you’re going to say: ‘You guys lost the last three last year.’ I appreciate you thinking it. But that’s what happens. A lot of times those teams will separate themselves."

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