Rex Ryan already is making himself popular in New York by doing just what his father did in Philadelphia two decades ago - attacking the enemy.

Just as Buddy Ryan endeared himself to Eagles fans by ripping the Dallas Cowboys and then-coach Tom Landry, Rex Ryan quickly is winning over Jets fans by taking on the New England Patriots and coach Bill Belichick.

"I never came here to kiss Bill Belichick's rings," Ryan said yesterday on WFAN-AM. "I came to win - let's put it that way. So we'll see what happens. I'm certainly not intimidated by New England or anybody else."

Trivia time. The Phillies are one of only four Major League Baseball teams that made the playoffs in each of the last two seasons. Can you name the three others?

Hot Wings. Detroit's streak of 18 consecutive NHL playoff appearances is the longest in North American professional sports, easily ahead of the streaks by the NBA's San Antonio Spurs (11), and the NFL's Indianapolis Colts (7).

Milestones. The Phillies improved to 31-20 with last night's win in San Diego.

That puts them 11 games over .500 and pretty much on track to celebrate on the season's final day.

One of baseball's ancient timetables says a pennant-winning team should get 10 games over .500 by June 1; then get 20 games above .500 by Aug. 1.

When you get to be 30 games above .500, you can pop the champagne corks, because a 96-66 record gets you into the postseason 99 percent of the time.

Trivia answer. The Boston Red Sox, Los Angeles Angels and Chicago Cubs have joined the Phillies in the playoffs in the last two seasons.

Contact staff writer Don McKee at 215-854-4611
This article contains information from the Associated Press.