After a month without any publications from my side and with tonight’s AFC North clash between the Ravens and Steelers in mind, I decided to list my personal favorite five rivalries in the NFL today. Let’s get right to it:
Ravens vs. Steelers (next game: TONIGHT, 8:30 pm ET @PIT):
You can say whatever you want about these two teams. It just doesn’t matter what their records are or what is at stake, this is always a hard hitting, awesome game, because they simply hate each other. If you can say that about any matchup in this league, it’s this one. This year both teams are 5-3 and try to get back to the playoffs after missing out last year. While the Ravens have already beaten out the Steelers at home 26-6 this is a different Pittsburgh team now and they are playing at Heinz Field this time. It will be exciting to see that stingy Ravens D trying to put Big Ben on his back, after playing one of the finest game in NFL history.
49ers vs. Seahawks (next game: Nov. 27th, 8:30 pm ET @SF):
If you want to know why they are up here just watch last year’s NFC Championship game. This is an intense game every time these two meet. And while they were the two best teams last year, it is a little different this season. Both teams can only show a mediocre 4-3 record while not having met so far. With the Arizona Cardinals making a case for the top team in the league at 6-1 and with a couple of teams having a better record, the Niners or Hawks might miss the playoffs this year. So these matchups will be as crucial and hard fought as ever.
Brady vs. Manning (next game: TONIGHT , 4:25 pm ET @NE):
Yeah, I know they don’t face each other but rather the opposing defenses, but nobody can deny that these are the two guys everybody’s looking at. The one who plays better usually leads his team to victory. Watching those guys trying top each other (and whatever they say – they try to do) is one of the better shows you’ll ever get to see. Brady may lead the series between each other, but Manning is playing at an MVP level once again and both defenses are extremely improved from last year. This will once again be a great battle today between two of the very best ever.
Packers vs. Bears (next game: Nov. 9th, 8:30 pm ET @GB):
The oldest rivalry in the NFL and always a game you have to circle on your calendar. This year the Packers are playing at a much higher level as the talented but underachieving Bears and the first matchup between them hasn’t been close (38-17), but this game is always fun. The reason I don’t have this game higher than number four is the fact that Aaron Rodgers has sliced up that Bears D and with a banged up secondary I don’t see them stopping a guy like him.
Saints vs. Falcons (next game: Dec. 21st, 1:00 pm ET @NO):
While many people call dome teams soft, when these two teams face each other they are everything but soft. Matty Ice versus Cool Brees has been one of the better quarterback matchups in recent years. This year the Saints have gotten off to a slow start before getting a big win at home against the Packers and winning their first road game of the season in Carolina, while the Falcons have dropped six games in a row, but both teams could still win the worst divison by record. But like it is with all great rivalries – who really cares about records?
Notable mentions: Cowboys vs. Giants, Patriots vs. Jets, Colts vs. Texans