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Jets-Ravens for a Super Bowl spot? It's Rex's dream matchup

New York Jets head coach Rex Ryan, right,

New York Jets head coach Rex Ryan, right, hugs Cincinnati Bengals head coach Marvin Lewis after the Jets defeated the Bengals 24-14. (January 9, 2010) Photo Credit: AP

When Rex Ryan handed out the now-famous playoff schedule to his team, the one that included everything from the flight to Cincinnati this past weekend to the Super Bowl victory parade in February, he obviously had the AFC Championship Game covered. A man of his bravado doesn't leave such a detail unflaunted.

But where does he have the Jets playing it? "I didn't put it like that," he said, sounding a little disappointed that he didn't think of it. "I just listed the game."

Ryan did make it clear Sunday where and against whom he'd prefer to play it, though. Shortly after the Ravens beat the Patriots in their wild-card game in Foxborough, Ryan's mind already was spinning with the possibilities of playing against his former team from Baltimore. For a chance to go to the Super Bowl. In, of all places, the already fully eulogized and victory-lapped Giants Stadium.

Don't swing that wrecking ball just yet. Because yes, if the Jets and the Ravens both win next weekend - the Jets at No. 2-seeded San Diego and the Ravens at top-seeded Indianapolis - the Jets will get to host one final contest at the Meadowlands on Jan. 24.

"If that was the case, that would be great," Ryan said. "If somebody asked me what scenario I would like to see the most, it would be us hosting the Ravens, and for a lot of reasons."

Ryan already has faced the Ravens once as coach of the Jets, but it was back in the preseason. Even then, though, he and Ravens coach John Harbaugh talked about the possibility of another meeting in the postseason.

"We both thought that would be a heck of an idea," Ryan said. "I'd love to see that happen. But we both have a lot of work to do before that's a possibility."

The wheels clearly are in motion. Sunday, after the Ravens smoked the Patriots, 33-14, the Jets sent out an e-mail announcing the sale of tickets for a potential AFC title game. "Like all teams, we have a contingency plan and sell in advance to allow fans time to purchase the seats," a Jets spokesman said.

Ryan said he knows that the boys down in Baltimore already have the idea of a game against the Jets in the back of their mind.

"There's no question about that," Ryan said. "They know what's happening."

Ryan watched the Ravens dismantle the Patriots and said he "recognized that formula for success." He also said the way the Ravens are running the ball and playing defense, they look really good to him. "That's a dangerous team," he said.

And given his 10 years with the Ravens, it's one he knows well. "I have a lot of personal friends on that staff and on that team," he said. "I'm excited for those players and for that organization. But I think both of us would sign up for [an AFC Championship Game meeting] right now.

"Shoot," he added, "it'd be a great accomplishment for both teams to get to that championship game, and I wouldn't feel so bad if we sent them home packing, that's for sure."

New York Sports