Who Is Every NFL Team's Biggest Rival?
Rivalries are one of the biggest reasons that make sports great—especially in the NFL.
The NFL has some of the most entertaining, fierce and intense rivalries in all of sports and is arguably the greatest sport to have a rivalry, as football is such a physical sport that you can legally beat up on your hated opponent.
Rivalries change over the years, with expansion teams, division realignments and teams simply getting better or worse.
As of right now, here is each team's biggest rival in 2011.
Arizona Cardinals: San Francisco 49ers
All-Time Record vs. San Francisco: 16-23
Sometimes, I wonder about the legitimacy of the NFC West, but believe it or not, the Arizona Cardinals' biggest rivals are the San Francisco 49ers.
Whether because the 49ers were a dynasty in the 1980s or that they're the only team in the NFC West to actually have success—the 49ers are the Cardinals biggest rival.
Atlanta Falcons: New Orleans Saints
All-Time Record vs. New Orleans: 45-38
Only seven games separate these two teams over the years, as they've been involved in quite a few memorable battles.
As of late, the New Orleans Saints have been the kings of the NFC South, but the Atlanta Falcons stood up last season and stole the division away from them.
Now in 2011, the rivalry between the two could not be any better, as they're both battling for the top spot in the NFC South.
Baltimore Ravens: Pittsburgh Steelers
All-Time Record vs. Pittsburgh: 13-18
If you're looking for a tough, physical game between two heated rivals, then it's Baltimore vs. Pittsburgh. It's almost like that every game between these two are simply a complete war.
Over the past few years, it's been Ben Roethlisberger vs. Joe Flacco, and Flacco had never won a game against Big Ben—but that all changed this season with the Ravens knocking off the Steelers 35-7 during Week 1.
The AFC North is definitely a battle between the Ravens and Steelers, and you can bank on every game between these two having a playoff atmosphere.
Buffalo Bills: New England Patriots
All-Time Record vs. New England: 41-60-1
New England Patriots fans may not hate the Buffalo Bills, but the fans of Buffalo certainly despise Tom Brady and the Patriots.
As of late, the Patriots have completely dominated the Bills, winning 15 in a row entering 2011—but Buffalo changed that during Week 3 with an incredible 34-31 come-from-behind victory.
As 15 straight losses, Ralph Wilson Stadium literally erupted with cheers as they finally beat up on the Patriots and claimed first place in the AFC East.
Carolina Panthers: Atlanta Falcons
All-Time Record vs. Atlanta: 12-20
Some may argue who the Carolina Panthers' biggest rival is, as they're a relatively young franchise as they entered the NFL as an expansion team in 1995. However, I have to go with the Atlanta Falcons as the Panthers' biggest rival.
You could call this the I-85 rivalry, as the two have had some memorable games against each other with the Falcons usually coming out on top.
Chicago Bears: Green Bay Packers
All-Time Record vs. Green Bay Packers: 91-84
Chicago vs. Green Bay is one of the league's most storied rivalries, as it dates back all the way back to 1921—pretty crazy, right?
Must I really explain this rivalry? If you're a fan of football, you're well aware of the classic battles between the two.
Cincinnati Bengals: Pittsburgh Steelers
All-Time Record vs. Pittsburgh: 32-49
The entire Cincinnati Bengals fanbase hates the Pittsburgh Steelers—there's no question about it.
The team's rivalry escalated to another level back on Jan. 8, 2006, when Bengals quarterback Carson Palmer was hit well below the knees by Steelers' Kimo von Oelhoffen, which resulted in Palmer tearing his ACL.
Cleveland Browns: Pittsburgh Steelers
All-Time Record vs. Pittsburgh: 56-60
Believe it or not, the Cleveland Browns and Pittsburgh Steelers rivalry has been going on for quite some time, dating back to 1950 with both teams practically being evenly matched.
However, as of late, the Steelers have dominated the Browns, but quarterback Colt McCoy may have something to say about that in the upcoming seasons.
Dallas Cowboys: Washington Redskins
All-Time Record vs. Washington: 61-38-2
Cowboys vs. Redskins: One of the league's most historic rivalries between two of the league's storied franchises.
The two teams first met back in 1960 and have had several memorable battles during the 1980s, such as the "Scab Game" and the 1983 NFC Championship.
Denver Broncos: Oakland Raiders
All-Time Record vs. Oakland: 41-59-2
The Denver Broncos and the Oakland Raiders simply don't mix well together—in fact, they flat out hate each other.
The two storied franchises have met several times over the years, especially in the 1970s and 1980s.
Also, let's not forget the feud between Mike Shanahan and Al Davis, where Davis never gave him a shot at being head coach of the Raiders, which resulted in Shanahan moving on to the Denver Broncos and ultimately winning two Super Bowls with the Broncos.
Detroit Lions: Chicago Bears
All-Time Record vs. Chicago: 64-93-5
The Detroit Lions may have not had many successful winning seasons, and some of that blame should go towards the Chicago Bears. Let's put it this way, the Bears simply own the Lions with an incredible all-time record of 93-64-5 over the Lions.
However, things may be changing in 2011 with the Lions actually playing like a playoff contender.
Green Bay Packers
All-Time Record vs. Chicago: 84-91-6
The Packers and Bears have been battling each other dating all the way back to 1921, with the Bears having a slight seven-game edge.
The rivalry between the two has always been heated, as the two face off against each other twice a year, but was taken to a whole new level after last year's NFC Championship game with the Packers earning a trip to the Super Bowl on Chicago's home turf.
Houston Texans: Indianapolis Colts
All-Time Record vs. Indianapolis: 3-16
Ever since the Houston Texans expanded into the NFL during 2002, the Texans have simply been embarrassed year in and year out by their division rival, the Indianapolis Colts.
The Texans have had some solid teams over the years, some teams that many believe should have made the playoffs but have not played well in their division against the Colts.
However, 2011 could finally be the year that the Texans finish ahead of the Colts—only because Peyton Manning could be lost for the entire season.
Indianapolis Colts: New England Patriots
All-Time Record vs. New England: 28-43
The Indianapolis Colts and New England Patriots were one-time AFC East divisional foes, but their rivalry was taken to a whole new level with the emergence of Tom Brady and Peyton Manning.
Over the years, the two have battled between each other in what most of us like to call the "Manning vs. Brady Bowl."
New England has the obvious edge, as Brady and the Patriots have won a total of three Super Bowls, while Manning and the Colts have won just one.
Jacksonville Jaguars: Tennessee Titans
All-Time Record vs. Tennessee: 15-18
As of late, sometimes I question the Jacksonville Jaguars fanbase—but at times, there is some life there, as they have shown signs of hatred towards the Tennessee Titans.
Over the years, the Jaguars and Titans have been battling it out for second place in the AFC South, with Indianapolis dominating the entire recent decade.
Kansas City Chiefs: Oakland Raiders
All-Time Record vs. Oakland: 52-47-2
The Kansas City Chiefs and the Oakland Raiders are two storied AFL franchises that have one of the greatest rivalries in the history of the sport.
The two teams are separated by only five games and are probably two of the most evenly matched teams in the history of the league.
Chiefs and Raiders certainly make the AFC West fun.
Miami Dolphins: New York Jets
All-Time Record vs. New York: 42-47-1
The Miami Dolphins and New York Jets rivalry has dated back to 1966, when the Jets knocked off the Dolphins 19-14.
Both teams play in the AFC East, and it's almost like every season the two foes almost split the two games that they have scheduled with each other—which explains their all-time record of 42-47-1.
Minnesota Vikings: Chicago Bears
All-Time Record vs. Chicago: 52-45-2
The NFC North is filled with heated rivalries over the years, with the Minnesota Vikings' biggest rival being the Chicago Bears.
This rivalry has had several thrilling games, with the home team usually coming out on top.
New England Patriots: New York Jets
All-Time Record vs. New York: 49-51-1
The Patriots and Jets rivalry goes back decades, but has been renewed as of late with the arrival of Rex Ryan as Jets head coach.
The team's have split every single game between each other during Ryan's tenure as head coach, but the Jets have had the last laugh, with the team knocking out the Patriots in the 2010 playoffs on New England's home turf.
New Orleans Saints: Atlanta Falcons
All-Time Record vs. Atlanta: 38-45
The New Orleans Saints and the Atlanta Falcons have been battling it out for the NFC South divisional title for the past few years now, with Atlanta recently coming out in 2010.
Now in 2011, both teams are projected to be playoff contenders and likely have a race for the ages in the NFC South.
New York Giants: Philadelphia Eagles
All-Time Record vs. Philadelphia: 81-72-1
The New York Giants and Philadelphia Eagles rivalry is arguably the most entertaining rivalry in all of the NFL.
The rivalry has been going on since 1933, where the Giants embarrassed the Eagles 56-0.
Both teams see each other twice a year, as they're members of the NFC East, and both games are usually a heated battle.
New York Jets: New England Patriots
All-Time Record vs. New England: 51-49-1
As of late, the New York Jets vs. New England Patriots rivalry has been the most entertaining, fierce and intense out of all the rivalries in the entire NFL. In fact, it's pretty much Rex Ryan vs. Bill Belichick—or at least in Rex Ryan's mind.
The Jets have had the upper-hand ever since Ryan took over as the Jets head coach, with both teams splitting each regular season series and the Jets recently coming out on top over the Patriots in the 2010 playoffs.
Oakland Raiders: Denver Broncos
All-Time Record vs. Denver: 59-41-2
If you know anything sport the NFL or the history of the AFL, then you're well aware of the Oakland Raiders and the Denver Broncos rivalry.
One of the most intriguing aspects of the rivalry is Mike Shanahan never really getting a shot from Al Davis to be the team's head coach, and then later went on to coach the Denver Broncos and win two Super Bowl titles.
Philadelphia Eagles: New York Giants
All-Time Record vs. New York: 72-81-2
The Philadelphia Eagles and the New York Giants rivalry is by far the oldest rivalry in the entire NFC East, as it dates all the way back to 1933. In fact, many tend to believe that this is the greatest rivalry in the entire sport.
As of right now, the Giants appear to be playing with a chip on their shoulder, as the Eagles were dubbed the "Dream Team" at the start of the 2011 season. The Giants have already answered the critics with their recent 29-14 win over Philly.
Pittsburgh Steelers: Baltimore Ravens
All-Time Record vs. Baltimore Ravens: 18-13
In recent memory, the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Baltimore Ravens have dominated the AFC North with both of their tough, physical defenses—and when these two face off, it's guaranteed to be a blood bath.
The Ravens and Steelers could very well be the most heated rivalry in all of sports, as both defenses are set to go take the head off of the other quarterback, which is certainly bad news for Ben Roethlisberger and Joe Flacco.
San Diego Chargers: Oakland Raiders
All-Time Record vs. Oakland Raiders: 44-56-2
The San Diego Chargers and Oakland Raiders are two of the NFL's most storied franchises, and their rivalry dates all the way back to the AFL days.
The Raiders certainly have the edge over the Chargers, but not by much—however, some may feel that it is a large margin, as Oakland has won three Super Bowls when the Chargers have yet to win one.
San Francisco 49ers: St. Louis Rams
All-Time Record vs. St. Louis Rams: 59-61-2
You can't get much closer than 59-61-2, as the San Francisco 49ers and the St. Louis Rams are definitely the best rivalry in all of the NFC West.
The rivalry doesn't just take place on the field, as it also consists of the West Coast vs. the Mid-West—two very different ways of life clashing twice a season.
Seattle Seahawks: Arizona Cardinals
All-Time Record vs. Arizona Cardinals: 12-13
In the NFC West, there aren't any real intense rivalries, as the division is so weak. However, the Seattle Seahawks do have a rival in the Arizona Cardinals—the only team in that division that the Seahawks have an all-time losing record against.
All in all, the NFC West is simply far too boring for my taste.
St. Louis Rams: San Francisco 49ers
All-Time Record vs. San Francisco: 61-59-2
In the NFC West, it's simply not as competitive as other divisions in the NFL. However, St. Louis vs. San Francisco is a rather intriguing rivalry.
The rivalry between the two dates back to 1950, when the Rams destroyed the 49ers 35-14. However, the tables obviously turned with the 49ers emerging as a dynasty in the 1980s, with the 49ers posting a solid 13-8 record against the Rams during that time period.
The origin of the rivalry goes back to when the Rams were in Los Angeles, which really brought on the heat, as LA and San Fran are the two biggest cities in California.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Atlanta Falcons
All-Time Record vs. Atlanta: 19-17
Prior to the recent emergence of the New Orleans Saints being a dominant team in the NFC South, the division was often a battle between the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the Atlanta Falcons in the early to mid-2000s.
Out of all of Tampa Bay's division members, the Falcons have always been one of the toughest teams to beat, as the all-time record is only separated by two games.
The rivalry should only get better in the years to come with the two young quarterbacks, Josh Freeman and Matt Ryan, battling it out.
Tennessee Titans: Indianapolis Colts
All-Time Record vs. Indianapolis: 12-20
Here a fun fact for you: Did you know that throughout the nine-year existence of the AFC South, only two teams have won the division? The Tennessee Titans and the Indianapolis Colts.
The rivalry was at its best back in 2003 when both team's quarterbacks, Steve McNair and Peyton Manning, had to share the league's MVP award.
Washington Redskins: Dallas Cowboys
All-Time Record vs. Dallas: 38-61-2
Granted, the rivalry between the Washington Redskins and Dallas Cowboys has been rather boring as of late due to the Redskins' struggles, but the rivalry has been renewed with the team's Monday Night Football battle during Week 3.
The 'Skins and 'Boys rivalry goes all the way back to 1960.
Both teams have met on Monday Night Football a grand total of 14 times, with the Cowboys winning eight of those matchups.