2011 NFL Schedule: 10 Rivalry Games You Won't Want to Miss

Justin SparksCorrespondent IIISeptember 9, 2011

2011 NFL Schedule: 10 Rivalry Games You Won't Want to Miss

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    The 2011 NFL season has arrived. Now we all must figure out what games to watch throughout the season. Rivalry games usually provide the more appealing matchups, and we compiled a list of 10 games you cannot afford to miss out on.

    We weeded through the meaningless games and put what we thought would be the more relevant, entertaining  games of the season.

Giants at Redskins, Sept. 11

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    The New York Giants travel down Interstate 95 to face the Washington Redskins on an emotional day in the country’s history. Two organizations based in the two cities that felt the brunt of the terror on the day that changed our country forever.

    A rivalry that has plenty of history and hatred intertwined within its fabric takes a backseat to the occasion of the day, and rightfully so. Usually the average NFL fan would tune in to see the two NFC East rivals square off, but this game will have a different feel.

    Pre-game honors and displays of remembrance should serve as a reminder of what the great-unsung heroes of this country did on that fateful day 10 years ago. Many sacrificed their lives to help a fellow countryman. An emotional demonstration preceded one of the greater rivalries in the NFL.

    Tune in for one of the more emotional matchups on and off the field.

Jets at Patriots, Oct. 9

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    If you’re like me, you have been waiting to see this game since last January.

    The New York Jets marched into Boston ready to take over the city and tax all their citizens’ hopes of a Super Bowl. Rex Ryan and his boisterous ball club left Foxboro flying high as they imitated the very mascot they represent.

    A shocking defeat for the New England Patriots who went 14-2 during the regular season. The Patriots looked to silence their Big Apple brethren and send them home for a long offseason of solitude. That, as you know by now, did not happen.

    The two favorites to win the AFC East face off at Gillette Stadium in a pivotal battle for divisional supremacy. What I look forward to the most is seeing if Chad Ochocinco can play (or tweet) his way off of Revis Island.

    This should be one of the better games of the season.

Bears at Lions, Oct. 10 MNF

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    Not exactly the typical headline game over the past decade or so, but this matchup could decide who sneaks into a wild card spot.

    The Chicago Bears come off a year in which most outside of Chicago would grade their performance as a success. Not too many people envisioned the Bears making and hosting the NFC Championship last season.

    The Detroit Lions come from the other end of the spectrum as they look to continue their good mojo in 2011. Several pundits have the Lions roaring to a potential wild card spot this season.

    For the first time in a very, very long time the Lions host a Monday night game and Lions fans are ecstatic. They sold out this game in less than an hour.

    Watching the Lions defensive line try and cut down Jay Cutler should provide good television. Seriously, who doesn’t want to see that guy pout on the sideline?

Dolphins at Jets, Oct. 17 MNF

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    One of the more underrated rivalries in the NFL takes center stage on Monday night. The Miami Dolphins and their fans have a strong, palpable dislike for all things New York Jets.

    Growing up in South Florida, the team that all my Dolphin fan friends use to hate more than any other was the New York Jets.

    It’s probably a one-way street as far as the hatred goes but there’s definitely a rivalry here. Last season the kettle turned a little hotter in the rivalry stew when a Jets assistant coach tripped one of the Dolphin special teamers along the sideline.

    Talk about gutless.

    The Dolphins return to the scene of the crime and look to make their divisional counterpart pay. Miami also believes they have a shot at a divisional playoff spot and a win at the Meadow lands would be a great way to prove they have what it takes.

Texans at Titans, Oct. 23

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    Two slides in a row now have divisional rivalries that don’t get a whole lot of fanfare. For whatever reason I cannot figure out why NFL fans do not think the Houston Texans versus the Tennessee Titans is a sexy rivalry.

    You know besides the fact that they’re both relatively new teams in the grand scheme of things. But Houston use to have the Houston Oilers, which have since become the Tennessee Titans. So I guess you could call this the battle of Houston, if you feel like it.

    Both teams field two of the top three running backs from last season. Chris Johnson and Arian Foster face off to see who’s the better runner. That alone should be reason enough to tune in and watch.

    The other factor in this rivalry is the fact that the perennial winners—the Indianapolis Colts—have lost 85 percent of their offense with Peyton Manning. And yes, that’s a scientifically proven statistic.

    The Titans and Texans will likely be fighting for the first place spot in the AFC South. Should be a fun one.

Chargers at Chiefs, Oct. 31 MNF

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    October sure is loaded with rivalry games. Every week there is a great game to watch and the best part: most are on Monday nights. Yet another Monday night game makes the list as the Kansas City Chiefs host the San Diego Chargers.

    Lest I forget, it’s on Halloween. All the crazies should be liquored up for this one.

    Arrowhead Stadium creates one of the greater atmospheres in all the NFL venues throughout the league and hosting Phillip Rivers and the Chargers should bring out their best. The Chiefs and Chargers come in as the two favorites to win the AFC West, and this late October game should prove to be a turning point in either teams season.

    East coasters do not give the West coast rivalries that much respect. I myself am a victim of that. However, watching what the Kansas City faithful do to scare the demons out of the Chargers makes for fine television.

Broncos at Raiders, Nov. 6

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    As I touched on in the previous slide, West coast rivalries don’t get a lot of love on the East Coast. The Denver Broncos-Oakland Raiders rivalry has been one of the better, historically telling rivalries in the NFL.

    Two teams that have numerous Super Bowl victories amongst them have fallen on hard times over recent years. Neither team has received too much praise during their preseason affairs.

    Denver had to deal with a media circus surrounding their third string quarterback, who will remain nameless in this piece.

    Neither team may be playing for much at this point in the season except for pride and possibly the Andrew Luck sweepstakes. But one thing this game has venomous hatred. That’s something I can support. Good old fashioned, hit you where it hurts football.

Eagles at Giants, Nov. 21 SNF

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    The Philadelphia Eagles return to the scene of utter exuberance from a season ago. After erasing a nearly insurmountable deficit and scoring 28 points in less than eight minutes, the Eagles reminded the New York Giants who their daddy is.

    Philadelphia has owned the Giants as of late and the Giants know it. Justin Tuck conceded that in his talks with Washington media leading up to Week 1 stating, “Philly has ours (their number).”

    New York host their New Jersey Turnpike southerners hoping to make amends for their historic collapse a season ago. If they intend to do that, they might want to think twice about punting anywhere near DeSean Jackson. 

    Always one of the more entertaining games on the NFL calendar. Eagles-Giants shouldn’t disappoint in this Sunday primetime matchup.

Giants at Jets, Dec 24

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    Ah, two New York Giants games in a row make the list. Well, yea, they do make it twice in a row. Remain calm. These games have been spread out with a month in between so do not fret.

    The New York Jets host—if you can call it that—their inter-city rivals in the New York Giants. Both share the same facilities and call the same house home. One wears blue and the other wears green.

    One franchise has a Super Bowl in recent memory, a solemnly business as usual head coach, and claims the title as the city’s local football team. The other won a Super Bowl from when the Beatles were touring, a media hog as a head coach and plays second fiddle to their blue rivals.

    Christmas comes early for New Yorkers and anyone who enjoys a good rivalry. This Christmas Eve faceoff beats fighting the crazed last minute shoppers at Macy’s. And that is a fact.

Bears at Packers, Dec. 25

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    Christmas provides time for families to get together. Gifts to be given. Songs to be sang. Nothing strays from the mark here with this matchup.

    NFL fans receive the greatest Christmas gift of all: cheese. Yep, cheese heads littered throughout Lambeau Field bring holiday cheer and warmth to all those at home. I don’t know if you’re like me, but watching those idiots at Lambeau Field freeze their nips off as they go shirtless warms me right up in my living room.

    A rematch of the NFC Championship game from a year ago and the NFL’s oldest rivalry takes place for all to see. Rumor has it that Saint Nicholas himself will be in the house with a block of cheese on his head and a brat in hand.

    Kidding aside, the Chicago Bears and Green Bay Packers provide one of the more enthralling rivalries in the sport. Getting to see the Frozen Tundra on Christmas day makes it that much better.