HEMPSTEAD, N.Y. -- Jacob Bender's parents are preparing to hop on their motorcycle and make the four-hour trip from Maryland to Giants Stadium.
They wouldn't want to miss this game. It will be Bender's first in the NFL, and he could be the New York Jets' starting left guard against New England on Sunday.
"They're pumped," the rookie offensive lineman said with a big smile Wednesday. "They're ready to get up here and check the game out."
The trip should be a breeze, considering that Mike and Debbie Bender used to ride nearly 1,200 miles from Mayo, Md., to their son's home games at Nicholls State in Thibodaux, La.
Back then, the 6-foot-6, 315-pound Bender was a dominant left tackle for the I-AA Colonels. After being drafted in the sixth round in April, he has started at left guard in the Jets' last two preseason games following New York's trade of Pete Kendall to Washington.
Looking very much like a rookie who is learning on the job -- solid at times and shaky at others in the games against the Giants and Philadelphia Eagles -- Bender is looking forward to getting his first official NFL action.
"It's going to be awesome just to be out there," Bender said. "The Patriots are a great team in the NFL. It's going to be good to play against them and see how things work out. I'm excited. I'm pumped up."
Bender's enthusiasm might be amped up a bit more because he won't face five-time Pro Bowl defensive end Richard Seymour, who's on the physically-unable-to-perform list with an unspecified injury. Instead, he'll likely be taking on veteran sub Jarvis Green, who set a career high with 57 tackles and tied for second on the team with 7.5 sacks last season.
"I'm glad it's finally here because it was a dream to be playing on Sundays," Bender said.
Even if Adrien Clarke, his main competition at the position, gets the start, Bender is sure to get lots of playing time. He also realizes that the Patriots might try to take advantage of his inexperience.
"That's in the game plan that they like to find weaknesses and limit strengths, so I'm sure they probably will," Bender said. "I just have to be ready for it and be on the same page with the rest of the line."
Cornerback Darrelle Revis, the Jets' first-round draft pick, could also open the game in New York's starting lineup.
"I'm excited," Revis said. "It's my first NFL game and I'm just happy to be here with my teammates and hopefully pull out a win."
Revis started at left cornerback in the last two preseason games after ending a 20-day holdout. Andre Dyson, the starter at the position last season, was bothered by a foot injury throughout training camp. Justin Miller, who started on the right side for a few games, along with David Barrett, Hank Poteat and Drew Coleman, missed all four preseason games with a thigh injury.
They were limited in practice Wednesday, so that could open the door for Revis. The rookie looked mostly solid in the preseason despite the long layoff. Revis has put in extra time with coach Eric Mangini, special teams coordinator Mike Westhoff and defensive coordinator Bob Sutton since rejoining the team.
"I like Darrelle's approach to things," Mangini said. "Darrelle has done a good job not only of working with Mike, Bob and myself, but also working with the veteran players. It's not just the defensive backs. He's trying to pick their brains on the best way to study an opponent, the best way to get ready physically and the best way to condition. I like the way that he does that."
Revis might face a big test Sunday if he's matched up against wide receiver Randy Moss, the Patriots' biggest offseason acquisition.
"It's not going to be any one-on-one matchups," Revis said, brushing off the thought of facing Moss. "It's a team. We're going to try to do our best to win."
Linebacker David Harris, the Jets' second-round pick, and wide receiver Chansi Stuckey, a seventh-rounder, could also play a lot against the Patriots. Just don't expect any rookie jitters.
"This is the NFL. This is not a kid's game, it's a man's game," Revis said. "You have to go out there and play."
Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press