Geno Smith warms up before a game against the Tampa...

Geno Smith warms up before a game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at MetLife Stadium. (Sept. 8, 2013) Credit: Jim McIsaac

Geno Smith can't wait to be a part of the highly-publicized rivalry between the Jets and New Englad Patriots.

He's witnessed the tension from afar, but now, the rookie quarterback will have a front row seat for all the excitement and aggression that exists between the AFC rivals.

"From an outside view, it’s always been one of the best rivalries in the NFL," said Smith, who has the unenviable task of facing the Patriots for the first time on short week's rest. "It’s always going to be a good game when these two teams match up. Always physical. A chess match between both coaches. Looking to see who can come out and be the toughest team and hopefully we get the victory.

"From being on this team now, I know it means a lot to everyone around here. Like I said, we need to prepare our minds and bodies for a hard fought game."

Smith has yet to meet a challenge he didn't like -- including facing a Bill Belichick defense.

"Yes, I embrace the challenge," he said. "I know Coach Belichick is one of the masterminds in this league. I have a ton of respect for him and his team. I expect everything, every single look. I will appreciate it because it’ll help me out in the future.

"Like I said, every single look I get from here on out is going to help me out. I look forward to it. I look forward to every single challenge. I’m going to prepare myself for pretty much anything because that’s what you can expect coming from that team."

Smith also said his competitor -- Mark Sanchez -- has shared his extensive knowledge of the perennial AFC power.

"Mark’s always going to be there for me and he’s a guy I can count on to give me some good information," said the rookie. "He’s faced this team a number of times -- two times a year with us being in the same division -- so Mark has a ton of information for me. It’s going to be extremely helpful.

"We’re going to prepare and do this thing together. We’re going to work as a team as we always do and prepare ourselves for Thursday night."

Sanchez said his biggest advice to Smith has been not to get too caught up in the moment.

"He’s a heck of a coach," the veteran quarterback said of Belichick. "Things aren’t always what they seem on film. We’ve gone into games just knowing for a fact we’re going to get certain looks and coverages and then boom, he just flips the script on us and that’s what makes him so tough to play against. They disguise coverages well. They always have just a sound defense and offensively obviously they’re explosive and special teams are great. It’s always a good challenge. 

"Not much to say other than you’ve just got to experience it and play your very best, prepare your butt off and be ready for the unexpected, try to be sharp."

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