Rivalries are the natural fabric of human existence and achievement. David battled Goliath. we know about that whole North vs. South thing, the Lannisters and the Starks went to war and Jerry Seinfeld was always at odds with Kenny Bania. In the 100 years of the NFL, there have been great rivalries, some that still exist today. One BTSC writer ranks the current rivalries that are most relevant, not historically, but for the current landscape of the NFL. Lets take a look.
Kansas City leads the all-time series 18-16-3
These two teams are not traditional rivals, but the Patriots and Chiefs are currently the top contenders for the AFC crown. This decade, these franchises have played games of epic proportions. This decade has seen six contests between KC and New England, with the Pats leading four games to two. Included among them was the overtime classic in January’s AFC Championship and a 43-40 shootout in October, both Patriot wins. However, KC matches up well against Brady and the Pats. They vanquished the SB Champs 42-27 in 2017’s TNF to open the season and walloped them 41-17 in Week 4 of 2014. All four of the aforementioned contests were televised in prime time. With the Pats being the Pats and Pat Mahomes leading the Chiefs...this new rivalry will keep getting hotter.
No. 2 New England Patriots/Pittsburgh Steelers
The all-time series is tied at 16-16
While the all-time record between these two great franchises is nodded at 16, the Pats have owned the Steelers in the past decade by winning six of the past eight. In the Brady-Belichick era, the Patriots have a record of 11-4 against Pittsburgh. Some of those victories were in the AFC Championship following the 2001, 2004 and 2016 seasons and the infamous Jesse James “no-catch” game. The Steelers won a big one in Week 15 last year, but haven’t been able to solve these guys that professionally hail from Massachusetts. But nonetheless, the football world tunes in when these two teams cross paths.
No. 3 Los Angeles Chargers/Kansas City Chiefs
Kansas City leads the all-time series 61-56-1
This rivalry has been going on since 1960 and it may have reached its apex in 2018 with both teams playing down to the wire for the AFC West title and both teams going far in the playoffs. This series has gone in spurts throughout its history. The Chiefs have won nine of ten, but the Chargers won 11 of 13 before that. With powerful weapons built to win now, this is currently a must-watch matchup.
No. 4 Baltimore Ravens/Pittsburgh Steelers
Pittsburgh leads the all-time series 28-22
The Steelers have won four of the previous five games between the two bitter foes in a young but angry rivalry. However, these two AFC North foes are dead-even the past 14 games. This feud has seen bounties, broken noses, receivers bullying defenders, fierce playoff battles and even a coach seemingly trying to trip a player. There could be an argument for this to be ranked higher and it will be soon.
Dallas leads the all-time series 68-52
These teams don’t like each other at all. There was the NFC Title Game in 1980 and the 1990 Buddy Ryan bounty. In fact, the enmity has carried over to the draft and famous alumni in recent years. The 2017 draft in Phily featured Drew Pearson ripping on the Eagles faithful at the podium, while former kicker David Akers returned the favor. However, the current versions of each team don’t really need much help. Both are playoff teams and both could easily win the NFC East in 2019. Well, not easily...they still have to play each other. The cowboys lead the all-time series and have won the last three, but the Eagles are only a year removed from a Lombardi. So, as always, this remains to be a marquee matchup.
Green Bay leads the all-time series 97-95-6
This is an all-time great NFL rivalry. To understand the gravity of it, the powers-that-be at the league office bumped the Super Bowl Champion Patriots from their earned TNF spot to open the season. Why? To celebrate the 100th Anniversary of this great rivalry. While Green Bay has dominated recently, winning 13 of the last 18, the Bears won the NFC North and both teams are projected to be strong again in 2019.
Seattle leads the all-time series 23-19
The Rams have won six of eight against Seattle, but that was following a stretch where they only won three of twenty against their NFC North rivals. With franchise quarterbacks and tough defenses, the two teams have had strong battles as of late and both appeared in the playoffs last season. This seems like a rivalry that can span into the next decade with both teams fighting off the other for a shot at the Super Bowl.
Atlanta leads the all-time series 52-48
The Falcons were recently in a Super Bowl, while many believe that the Saints just got robbed of a shot of an appearance and an attempt on the Pats and Lombardi. These teams split the past ten in the series and are consistent in battling each other and the Panthers for NFC supremacy. Since starting play in 1967, these geographic rivals have squared off exactly 100 times, with the Saints holding a very slight lead. Both boasting high powered offenses and veteran MVP quarterbacks, these two franchises will continue to battle each other for division supremacy for years to come.
No. 9 Minnesota Vikings/Green Bay Packers
Green Bay leads the all-time series 60-54-3
The teams of the North have known each other forever and while these northern teams have only played one another since 1960, this has become a bitter feud much like their respective matchups with the Chicago Bears. The Purple People Eaters have gone 5-1-1 in the last seven vs. the “Men of Acme”, but Green Bay went 10-1-1 in the previous 12. With Kirk Cousins and Aaron Rodgers leading potent offenses and re-emerging defenses, this prime rivalry will continue to thrive and impress.
No. 10 Denver Broncos/Kansas City Chiefs
Kansas City leads the all-time series 63-55
When this feud started in 1960 between the then-Dallas Texans and the Denver Broncos, the Texans/Chiefs thoroughly dominated with a record of 25-2. But Denver got it together and are 53-38 since then. KC has won the last six straight as Denver has suffered from a couple of down years since winning SB 50. But these proud franchises put it all on the line and battle with white-hot intensity when they meet. It’s usually must-watch, no matter the record.
Jacksonville Jaguars/Pittsburgh Steelers
New York Giants/New England Patriots
Washington Redskins/Dallas Cowboys
Chicago Bears/Minnesota Vikings
Pittsburgh Steelers/Cincinnati Bengals
While there is sure to be much debate of where these teams are ranked and I know that you, the reader, will voice your differences of opinion in the comments section and even wonder aloud why I even bothered to write this. But nonetheless, let’s hear what you think in the comments below.
What is the best current, not historical, rivalry in the NFL?
This poll is closed
Kansas City Chiefs/New England Patriots
New England Patriots/Pittsburgh Steelers
Los Angeles Chargers/Kansas City Chiefs
Baltimore Ravens/Pittsburgh Steelers
Philadelphia Eagles/Dallas Cowboys
Chicago Bears/Green Bay Packers
Seattle Seahawks/Los Angeles Rams
New Orleans Saints/Atlanta Falcons
Minnesota Vikings/Green Bay Packers
Denver Broncos/Kansas City Chiefs
Other (Please specify in comments)