By Nina Mandell
MANHATTAN — Jets fans took to the streets of Manhattan to show support for Gang Green as it heads to San Diego to play the Chargers in the divisional round of the NFL playoffs on Sunday.
Fans were confident in the Jets' chances as they gathered outside of SNY's television studio on Sixth Avenue on Friday afternoon.
Ruben Vasquez, who donned a Spartan suit for the event, said he thought first-year coach Rex Ryan was the key to the Jets' victory this year.
"He instilled a Spartan mentality," the Bronx native said. "He brings this team together."
The fans' dedication to Gang Green was rewarded with appearances by former Jets greats Mark Gastineau, Joe Klecko and Wayne Chrebet.
Many fans said they were planning on flooding the bars for the game, but Queens native Ben Simmons said he had his apartment all set up for a possible title run.
“I got a big screen TV just for the game,” Simmons said.
Jets fans are hoping rookies Mark Sanchez and Shonn Greene continue theri stellar play agasint the Chargers.
Sanchez cleared a major hurdle last week by winning his first career playoff game. But he's not content to stop there.
"I'm honored to be here, but at the same time I don't want to look back and say, 'Man, that was cool getting to the divisional round,'" Sanchez said at news conference Wednesday.
Sanchez could become the second rookie quarterback to win two playoff games if the Jets are able to beat the heavily-favored Chargers.
The rookie quarterback played one of his best games of the season in the Jets 24-14 win over the Bengals in the wild-card round last Saturday.
Sanchez completed 12 of 15 passes, threw one touchdown pass and didn't commit any turnovers against the Bengals.
While Sanchez's performance was eye-opening, he wasn’t the only rookie to shine. Greene, a third-round pick from Iowa, rushed for 135 yards and a touchdown, the best showing by a rookie running back in a playoff game in 10 years.
The Jets will need repeat performances from their rookies and their defense must be at the top of it's game if they are to beat San Diego.
The Chargers are the hottest team in football, having won 11 straight games heading into the playoffs to finish the season with a 13-3 record.
San Diego is led by quarterback Philip Rivers. Rivers ranked third in the NFL with a 104.4 passer rating, completing 65.2 percent of his attempts for 4,254 yards and 28 touchdowns.
The Jets won their only playoff matchup with San Diego in overtime, 20-17 on the road in a wild-card game Jan. 8, 2005.
New York has not advanced to the AFC Championship game since the 1998 season.