BY NICK ST. DENIS
For the most part, the Jets' defense needs to be at least somewhere near the top of its game for Gang Green to be successful.
For the Patriots' defense, it's a different story.
The Patriots' usual dominance on offense and the Jets' usual stoutness on defense isn't surprising, as the two have made it an annual thing to be ranked at the top of their respective categories.
However, it's a little more interesting when you look at the individual situations of players who have gone from one team to the other.
Look at running back Danny Woodhead. Woodhead was a preseason stud for the Jets in 2009 and 2010, but he didn't fit on the Jets' depth chart, even for as small of a dude as he is. Woodhead went on to find a niche and a fair amount of success with the Patriots.
The latest example in the differences in identities between the teams, though, is safety/special-teamer James Ihedigbo.
Ihedigbo (pictured) was a Jet from 2008 to 2010. He was an above-average special teams player, but while he played in 27 games on defense, he didn't start a single game during that timespan. However, Ihedigbo became a Patriot in 2011 and started 12 games due to injuries and a mediocre-at-best secondary.
Ihedigbo was more productive in zero starts for the Jets than he was in 12 for the Patriots.
In the 2009 and 2010 regular seasons combined, Ihedigbo tallied five sacks and a forced fumble during playing time in sub packages. Ihedigbo recorded no sacks, no forced fumbles and one pass defensed in 2011 starting 12 games for the Patriots and playing in 16, though he did record a sack in a playoff game last year.
Ihedigbo did have 69 combined tackles in 2011, more than his 22 in 2010 and 19 in 2009 combined, but again, from an efficiency and productivity standpoint, he was much more effective in the Jets' system.
Follow Nick @NickStDenis
Follow AFC East Daily @AFCEastDaily