You can make the argument that the real season for the Jets begins on Monday night when they hook up with the New England Patriots in Foxborough.

You have to be impressed with the Jets, who are sitting atop the AFC East with a 9-2 mark. All the tough talk, self promotion and bravado have been backed up in a big way this season. But if the Jets really want to people outside of New York/New Jersey to believe they are a contender, they need to beat Tom Brady and company.

Rex Ryan already thinks his team is a contender. In fact, he said he figured the Jets and Patriots (9-2) would be in the position.

“I think clearly I expected that we would have probably the best two teams in football,” Ryan said. “I expected the Colts to be there, the Ravens and Pittsburgh. This is tough, but you knew going into this one that this is going to be a huge game.”

A win would give the Jets a huge edge in the division and in the race for home field. This isn’t to say we think the Jets are frauds. Being in first place heading into Week 12 is all you can ask of a team.

But the Jets haven’t been at their best the last month. Narrow wins over the Lions, Browns and Texans have soured many observers on the Jets. A win tonight will change that. But the Jets will be facing a different Patriots team. You won’t see a Darrelle Revis-Randy Moss matchup.

That doesn’t mean it’ll be any easier. Brady, who has led the Patriots to 25 straight home wins, is one of the best in the league at spreading the ball around. Revis, who missed the Jets-Patriots Week 2 matchup due to his contract holdout, acknowledged this on Monday.

“They have weapons. They always did. I think when Moss was there, they gave him a lot of touches and Wes Welker, (as well),” Revis said. “Now, I think they have had to get more plays out of guys. (Aaron) Hernandez has stepped up and played well. Danny (Woodhead) has stepped up and played a role. They have guys that can play a role and step up at times.”