No Love Lost: Two Bitter AFC Rivalries Come Full Circle This Weekend
The AFC divisional series brings two great division rivalries to center stage. AFC North Division rivals Baltimore and Pittsburgh square off for the right to take on the winner of the Patriots-Jets meeting in Foxboro, Massachusetts. This weekend sets the stage for the AFC Championship Game.
These rivalries are very different. One dates back to the AFL and is a historic deadlock. The other, a match-up only 14 years in the making, but still just as exciting to watch. The weather is sure to be chilly for both of these games, but the temperature outside can't cool down these heated rivalries.
I'll take you through some of the hottest moments in these rivalries to get you fired up for game day.
Baltimore Ravens at Pittsburgh Steelers
Larry French/Getty Images
Saturday - 4:30 p.m. - CBS
The Weather Channel predicts: Partly Cloudy, High 36, Low 31, 10% chance of precipitation.
Series: Pittsburgh leads 20-12
This Season: Both teams took contests on the road. The Steelers won 13-10 in Baltimore, while the Ravens won in Pittsburgh 17-14 just over one month ago.
The Early Years: The Steelers dominated this series early on in the history of the Ravens franchise. Pittsburgh took six out of the first seven meetings between 1996 and 1999.
December 12, 1999: Qadry Ismail scored three huge touchdowns and pulled in 258 receiving yards to achieve the first victory on the road in Pittsburgh for the Ravens. Baltimore won 31-24 and finished ahead of the Steelers for the first time in franchise history that year. The Ravens won the only following game between the two teams at Three Rivers Stadium in 2000.
October 29, 2000: The turn of the century marked a turning point in Ravens football. The team lost 9-6 on this date at the hands of Pittsburgh. From that moment straight forward, though, the team remained perfect, winning 11 straight en route to a world title in Super Bowl XXXV.
September 19, 2004: The Ravens hand the Steelers what would turn out to be their only loss of the regular season, 30-13. This game was the debut for Ben Roethlisberger, a rookie out of Miami University in Ohio, after the injury of Tommy Maddox.
November 20, 2005: The Ravens nearly keep Pittsburgh out of the playoffs following a victory in the first overtime game of the series. The Steelers rebounded on the way to a victory in Super Bowl XL.
Since then: Pittsburgh has won six, Baltimore has won five head-to-head contests.
New York Jets at New England Patriots
Nick Laham/Getty Images
Sunday - 4:30 p.m. - CBS
The Weather Channel predicts: Partly Cloudy, High 33, Low 19, 20% chance of precipitation.
Series: Tied at 51-51-1
This Year: Each team won its respective home game. The Jets won 28-14 at New Meadowlands Stadium, handing New England what would be one of only two losses this season. The Pats got revenge, trouncing Rex Ryan's team 45-3 in Foxboro on November 22.
September 17, 1960: This New York-Boston rivalry goes back to the AFL days. On this date, the Boston Patriots defeated the Titans of New York 28-24 at the Polo Grounds. The Titans finished with a record of 7-7, two games better than the Patriots, despite losing both meetings that year.
October 2, 1966: The two teams tied for the first and only time in a 24-24 deadlock at Fenway Park. The Patriots didn't win another game against the Jets until the '70s. New York won nine-straight contests between 1966 and 1971.
December 28, 1985: The Patriots beat the Jets 26-14 in their first NFL post-season meeting. The Patriots went on to upset the Raiders and the Dolphins on the way to an appearance in Super Bowl XX. The Pats controlled the Jets during the 80s, winning 12 of 20 meetings.
September 14, 1997: Pete Carroll's Patriots defeat the Jets 27-24 in one of only three overtime games between these rivals. Carroll had taken over the head coaching position for Bill Parcells who left after 1996 to take the head coaching job with the Jets.
September 23, 2001: Patriots backup Tom Brady gets his first chance to play in an NFL regular season game, following Drew Bledsoe's injury at the hands of Jets linebacker Mo Lewis. The Jets won the game 10-3.
Since then: Brady turned out to be a leader few thought he would be. The Jets are 3-15 against Brady, but have shown some signs of light, winning three of the last five meetings between the teams.