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'Misery loves company'

12-12-01, 5:10 P.M.


Bengals defensive captain Takeo Spikes and Jets strong safety Victor Green are offseason workout partners in Georgia, so Spikes was ready when the New York media came calling Wednesday.

During a conference call, the reporters covering the Jets asked Spikes about Green's playoff guarantee after last week's loss to Pittsburgh.

"That's the way he's supposed to look at it," Spikes said. "Coming from Takeo and the rest of the Bengals, we plan on having a lot of people sitting at home with us. Everybody is on edge. They can't lose two games, so to everybody who is talking it up pretty much wanting to play the Bengals, go ahead and sleep on it."

Spikes is starting to grind the spoilers' ax for a Bengals' team that is 4-8 with their next three games against teams fighting for the playoffs, such as the 7-5 Jets, or for

home-field advantage, such as the 8-4 Ravens and 10-2 Steelers. Who knows what shape the 5-7 Titans will be in the Jan. 6 finale?

"Misrery loves company," Spikes said. "We mean to sit at home with a lot of other teams and look at it."

Told Green didn't predict a win over Cincinnati, Spikes failed to be impressed.

"Well, how do those guys think they're going to make the playoffs?" Spikes asked. "But don't sleep on it now. If you sleep on it, you're going
be dreaming with us come January watching the playoff games on the weekend."

How long since the Bengals beat the Jets in New York? It was so long ago it was in Shea Stadium in 1981, when quarterback Ken Anderson revived his career in a 31-30 win in the second game of the year that catapulted him to league MVP and the Bengals to the Super Bowl.

"I think that's the only way they're going to get to the playoffs," Spikes said. "My first response is their first step is beating us. My response is don't sleep."

The Bengals are last in NFL scoring with 163 points, but the Jets haven't lit it up lately with seven offensive touchdowns in the last six games. Wide receiver Santana Moss, the club's first-round pick who has been hampered all year with injury, didn't practice and is iffy. Left guard Randy Thomas, who has missed three starts with an ankle injury, suffered another tweak Wednesday and might not play.

Cornerback Aaron Glenn (knee) is already out. Running back Curtis Martin, seven yards shy of Priest Holmes' NFL rushing lead, took the practice off to rest.

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