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Jets fans expect to paint Cincy green Saturday

A close look at the head of fan

A close look at the head of fan Kevin Carrigan, 28, who will be traveling to the Jets game this weekend. (Jan. 6, 2010) Photo Credit: Patrick E. McCarthy

Before he headed to Cincinnati in a rented 2009 Ford Explorer, Jets fan Kevin Carrigan Jr. had to stop at the Clipper King Barber Shop in Valley Stream Thursday for a little maintenance. He wanted his hair just right for the Jets playoff game against the Bengals.

"One one side, I've got J-E-T-S cut into my hair," said Carrigan, 28, of Seaford. "On the other side, it's got No. 24 for my man Revis."

That'd be Darrelle Revis, the Jets' shutdown corner and candidate for defensive player of the year.

Carrigan is among several area Jets fans who are so geeked for Saturday's matchup - the team's first playoff appearance since a 2007 wild-card loss to New England - he's traveling to Cincinnati Friday. More than 48 hours before kickoff, he's already running on adrenaline.

Carrigan paid $100 apiece for two tickets and will spend another $100 or so on gas for the trip, he figured. Unlike Carrigan, his travel companion is shy and chose to go unnamed. The Explorer is a "special deal" from a friend who works at a car rental agency.

A few bucks for snacks. No hotel. It's straight down 680 miles, the game, and then straight back, he said. "We'll be back here Sunday morning," Carrigan said.

While fans like Carrigan are giddy with visions of victory, ticket outlets and even the Bengals box office had hundreds of tickets available through Friday morning.

Technically, the game is a sellout, Bengals spokesman Jack Brennan said, although some single tickets through the club are available for $74 and $84.

Anbritt Stengele, owner of SportsTraveler.net, a Chicago-based travel agency, said she's booked about 30 hotel/ticket packages for Jets fans nationwide, starting at about $249 per person.

"We're doing better than last year with these packages," Stengele said. "I think people want to get back to traveling again."

Stengele said the Dallas-Philadelphia matchup is her company's best NFL attraction this weekend; she's sold nearly twice as many packages for that game than Jets vs. Bengals.

"I'm rooting for the Jets," she said, "because it's a team fans like to follow. . . . As they go deeper into the playoffs, our business should pick up."

At StubHub, an online marketplace for tickets to sporting events, concerts and theater, spokeswoman Joellen Ferrer said the Jets game ranked third in volume of sales, behind the Cowboys and the Green Bay-Arizona matchups. The average ticket price for the Jets-Bengals game is $112, and about 2,700 tickets remained for the game late Thursday, Ferrer said.

Plenty of tickets could be found on Craigslist, for as low as $43.

Ira Lieberfarb, 55, an auto parts salesman from Staten Island, bought his ticket for Saturday's game through Ticketmaster for $77, plus $10 in fees and taxes. He's flying out for a reasonable round-trip price of $325.

Lieberfarb - yes, it's the same Ira, that well-known WFAN Jets caller - goes to virtually all the team's away games. He predicts a Jets victory, too, and has Baltimore upsetting New England in the other conference matchup this weekend. That would put the Jets into a second-round playoff game at sunny, warm(er) San Diego next week, Lieberfarb said.

Of course, he'll be there. "I'm already making plans," he said.

Carrigan believes the Jets will win, too. "I'm just going to be in Cincy, talk my smack like we New Yorkers do and cheer," he said. "And when the Jets win, I'll be signing that song, 'Na-na-na-na, hey-hey, goodbye.' "

As for going to San Diego, Carrigan isn't so sure.

"That might have to be a TV game," he said.

>> PHOTOS: Jets playoff history  | Jets 37, Bengals 0

>> 10 reasons to fear the Bengals | Why the Jets should fear themselves

>> BLOG: Latest Jets-Bengals news and analysis

>> FUN: NY vs. Cincy | Best of Rex Ryan

>> MORE Jets playoff coverage | 2009 season recap

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