The bluster is gone, now residing in Buffalo with Rex Ryan and the Bills.

In Ryan’s stead as head coach of the Jets is Todd Bowles, who has New York off to a surprising 4-1 start. The Jets are the NFL’s dominant defensive team this season, with a penchant for takeaways and blitzing.

Now comes the big test, and a chance to make a huge statement. A win Sunday over the 5-0 New England Patriots in Foxborough, Massaachusetts, would establish New York’s credentials as a contender.

But don’t expect any outlandish statements from Bowles or his players.

“I don’t discourage anybody,” he said of holding back what his players say. “I just try to make sure we act professionally and we do the things that we need to do to win. It’s not about talking or discouraging or monitoring guys’ conversations or anything like that.

“It’s about being mature as a football team and understanding where we are and what we need to do.”

What the Jets need to do is try to slow down quarterback Tom Brady. New England barely has been tested so far, and the 38-year-old Brady – who said last week he would like to play another 10 years – needs 43 yards passing to become the fifth quarterback in NFL history to reach 55,000. Brady is 21-6 vs. the Jets, and few quarterbacks can handle the blitz the way he can.

“They bring everybody,” Brady said. “So it looks like everybody gets a turn, and they’re just very aggressive with the blitz. They blitz a lot. You’ve got to be prepared for it at all times. They have big guys that blitz, outside linebackers. They’ve got the inside linebackers that blitz. They’ve got, you know, secondary players who are involved, so they come from everywhere.”

The Jets lead the NFL in total defense, with 269 yards allowed per game. They rank third in fumble recoveries (seven) and are tied for third in interceptions (eight).

New York’s defense has been bolstered by the return of cornerback Darrelle Revis, who played the first six years of his career with the Jets. Revis played last season with the Patriots and was a critical piece in their run to the Super Bowl championship.

“He’s been an incredible playmaker since he’s been in the league,” Brady said. “I got a firsthand look at that last year every day in practice, and it was great to have him play a part here. But he moved on, so now he’s our competition again.”

The Jets are improved on offense, as well.

Running back Chris Ivory is off to the best start of his NFL career. He’s coming off his first back-to-back 100 yards rushing performances, and his 312 yards rushing combined over the last two games are the most by a Jets player since Thomas Jones had 331 in 2009.

Ivory leads the NFL with 115 yards per game, ranks second with 5.54 yards per carry, and is third with 460 rushing yards – despite missing one game because of a quadriceps injury and having a bye-week break.

“It’s a great scheme and they’re doing a hell of a job up front,” Ivory said. “I’m being very patient, probably the most patient I’ve been throughout my career.”

Brandon Marshall has 100 or more yards receiving in four straight games, becoming the Jets’ first player to accomplish the feat since Hall of Famer Don Maynard in 1968 and the third overall.

Marshall has 37 catches for 511 yards and four touchdowns, the last score stunning quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick when Marshall made a terrific fingertips catch just off his shoe tops on a poor throw and then scooted down the sideline for a 35-yard TD.

“How he caught it, I don’t know,” Fitzpatrick said. “How he turned it in to a touchdown, I really don’t know. That’s one of those where you’re very thankful that Brandon is my teammate and very thankful for the opportunity to get to throw to him.”

Marshall, a 10-year veteran traded to New York in the offseason, said it’s way too early to tell whether the Jets are a playoff-caliber team. But from what he has seen, the Jets are headed in the right direction.

“No one’s running around and talking about taking over the world,” he said. “Everyone’s just talking about doing their job and being mindful of the moment. It’s like, ‘I just want to win this route’ or I just want to be locked in in the meeting room.’ It’s really special. It’s inspiring.”

New York surely will be tested Sunday. The Patriots are second in the league with 422 total yards per game and first with 36.6 points per game.

“It’s as big as you want it to be,” Revis said of Sunday’s game. “For us, it’s still early in the season. We’re still trying to get better and better each week. It is a big game because it is a conference game, but at the same time, it’s still early in the season.”


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