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Jets out to make statement in prime-time matchup against Bears

Wide receiver Jeremy Kerley #11 of the Jets

Wide receiver Jeremy Kerley #11 of the Jets spikes the football after believing he scored a late fourth-quarter touchdown against the Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field on Sept. 14, 2014 in Green Bay. The touchdown was reversed because a timeout was called by the Jets before the play started. Credit: Getty Images / Christian Petersen

Bright lights have never fazed Sheldon Richardson.

And the spotlight won't get any brighter for him than tonight on Monday Night Football as the Jets host the Chicago Bears.

"This is where you really get to make your name," Richardson, the 2013 Defensive Rookie of the Year, said of their prime-time matchup.

And the Jets are determined to make a statement to the football world.

"We feel like we have a point to prove," linebacker Demario Davis said.

It took several days for the Jets to get over their deflating loss to the Packers last week. After surrendering an 18-point lead at Lambeau Field, they botched a timeout call with 5:06 remaining, negating a potential game-tying touchdown reception by Jeremy Kerley.

And Richardson was right in the thick of things.

"I'm still [miffed]," said the defensive tackle, who relayed coordinator Marty Mornhinweg's initial timeout call to an official. "We gave up a big lead, weren't consistent with it, and how it went down hurt my pride a little bit."

In their ongoing quest for respect, the Jets (1-1) know they've got to come out swinging -- figuratively, not literally -- against the Bears (1-1), who have won three straight against them and are 3-1 against the Jets in New Jersey.

Right guard Willie Colon believed the Packers didn't "give us the respect we needed" last week. But he wasn't surprised.

"There's a lot of teams that are going to feel that way about us," Colon said. "We've got to earn respect. We've got to take it."

And Monday night is the perfect place to start.

"Every chance we get, every time we get an opportunity, we're trying to show that we have a point to prove," said Davis, who got his first multi-sack performance in Green Bay against quarterback Aaron Rodgers. "I feel like we've shown a lot so far, but we've got so much more that we need to show."

Prime time hasn't always been kind to Rex Ryan & Co., however. Though the Jets defeated the Atlanta Falcons, 30-28, in Week 5 last season, they're 1-4 in night games during the past two seasons.

And their last prime-time matchup at home was the infamous "Butt Fumble" game.

"Yikes," Ryan joked this week. "It won't be hard to show better than that. I will guarantee we play better than that . . . That was horrible."

A win won't be easy against the Bears, an explosive team stacked with wide receivers Brandon Marshall and Alshon Jeffery and tight end Martellus Bennett. "They're on the rise," Colon said.

Even though the Jets are favored at home, they still believe they're not getting enough respect.

"We've got something to prove," said Richardson, who pointed out that pundits predicted a Packers blowout last week. "Other people try to make us, like, the laughingstock of the league. I feel it. It's just little stuff we notice. We might be eating our team dinner and we'll see [ESPN personalities on TV] talk about us and how bad we are and this and that. We're trying to change perception a little bit."

Being part of Monday Night Football is what NFL players dreamed about as kids, Colon said. "The music, the whole atmosphere, the whole world is watching. It's what you play for," the nine-year veteran said.

And the Jets don't expect the moment to be too big for them.

"Everybody knows that this is the NFL," Richardson said. "Lights are gonna be lights and cameras are gonna be cameras. But those lines don't change."

New York Sports