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Wisconsin native Nick Bellore ready to show true colors against Packers

Nick Bellore celebrates after making a first down

Nick Bellore celebrates after making a first down on a fake punt in the first half against the Colts. The Jets won, 35-9, at MetLife Stadium. (Oct. 14, 2012) Credit: Joseph D. Sullivan

The Bellore brigade will be out in full force , clad specifically in green and white -- not green and yellow.

Jets linebacker and special-teams ace Nick Bellore estimated that about 60 friends and family members will be in attendance at Lambeau Field to watch him and his teammates take on the Packers.

It'll be the first time since his senior year of high school that Bellore, a native of Whitefish Bay, Wisconsin, will play in his home state. And to commemorate the occasion, his friends and family rented a bar in Milwaukee and plan to take a party bus to the game.

"People take stuff pretty serious in Wisconsin, so it wasn't hard to get all my high school and college buddies and my family to be there," said Bellore, 25, who grew up less than eight miles north of Milwaukee and about two hours south of Green Bay.

In order for the Jets (1-0) to be successful in enemy territory, they'll need to rely heavily on their running game, featuring the three-headed monster of Chris Ivory, Chris Johnson and Bilal Powell. They'll also need a strong performance from Geno Smith, who fared well in last week's 19-14 win over the Raiders in their season opener. Smith completed 23 of 28 passes for 221 yards and a touchdown. But he also threw an interception and fumbled near the Raiders' goal line.

His counterpart will be Aaron Rodgers, a veteran quarterback who not only has a "bazooka for an arm," according to Rex Ryan, but "is one of the best amongst the best" because he's able to extend plays, Jets defensive coordinator Dennis Thurman said.

Rodgers had his lowest completion percentage since becoming a starter (44.1) in a 9-0 road win over the Jets in 2010. But Green Bay is 5-1 in home openers with Rodgers at quarterback and he's thrown for more than 300 yards in each of their past three home games.

The Jets are 8-3 all-time against Green Bay but are 0-1 against the Packers under Ryan. And the Packers (0-1) have had 10 days to prepare for the Jets after losing the regular-season opener in Seattle.

Smith hasn't fared well on the road. The Jets won only two games in rival stadiums last season, and the pressure will be on at Lambeau.

A win in enemy territory -- against a perennial playoff team -- will go a long way toward supporting Ryan's assertion that this is a much-improved team. And it'll be particularly special for Bellore -- as long as his cheering section remembers which team to root for.

"I think I've managed to convert a couple, but it's pretty tough," joked Bellore, a Central Michigan product in his fourth season with the Jets.

He was the only player to make the team's 2011 opening-day roster as an undrafted free agent. He led the Jets in special-teams tackles each of the past three seasons.

Said Bellore: "Love for the Packers is pretty well ingrained. So as much as I'd like to change them, we'll see. I told them I'd only help them out with tickets if they wore green.

"Green and white and not green and yellow."

Notes & quotes: Defensive lineman Muhammad Wilkerson (back) was added to the Jets' injury report. He is probable for the game.

New York Sports