There are many fans that continue to claim this is one of the best rivalries in football. There are many great rivalries in the NFL today. The best one is probably the Ravens and the Steelers. That is an excellent matchup of two very physical teams. After that, in what might be considered the rivalry of the last decade, there is the Patriots and the Colts matchup. Certainly there are other rivalries around the league like; Giants – Cowboys, Redskins – Cowboys, Eagles – Giants, 49ers – Cowboys, 49ers – Cardinals, Bears – Packers, Packers – Vikings, Saints – Falcons. All are very solid rivalries. Most of those teams have been to a Super Bowl in the last 30 years and if they haven’t, they’ve been to the Playoffs more often than not.
What makes great rivalries is not just one team dominating the other team though. The Jets used to dominate the Patriots but in the last 10 years the tables have turned. The Jets have been dominated by the Patriots. Including the postseason, the Patriots have 51 wins and the Jets have 51 wins. Those numbers certainly indicate that there is a rivalry. However, the Patriots have played in 6 Super Bowls in the last 25 years. The Jets? 0. Yep, none. The Patriots also have 3 Super Bowl wins in that timeframe. The Patriots franchise is a higher class of team than the Jets. Does that matter? The answer: A little bit.
What makes the Patriots and Jets a true rivalry is that the fans really do not like each other. On top of that, Boston vs. New York is always going to be a great rivalry. The Red Sox and Yankees probably hold the title for the best rivalry in all of professional sports. The Yankees certainly have a long history of winning while the Red Sox success has been very spread out. If you are looking at the Patriots performance separate from the games agains the Jets, it is clear that Patriots aren’t in the same league as the Jets. The Patriots are one of the best franchises in the NFL. The Jets, while they are on the rise, aren’t even the favorite team in their own city. This is a rivalry, however. The Patriots and Jets are division rivals with fans that hate the opponent and the cities that they represent. The games are close year after year and the trash talking grows ever more present (if only one-sided). This is a solid rivalry. This is not a great rivalry, however, because the Patriots are in a different class of teams. The Jets haven’t proven that they can win anything since they won with Joe Namath.
Is this a rivalry? Absolutely. Is it a great one? Not even close. If the Jets want to move this rivalry into the category of being a great rivalry, they must win the game on Sunday. The Jets have never won against the Patriots in the playoffs. If they can beat Tom Brady and Bill Belichick in the playoffs, then there is a case to be made for this being a great rivalry. Especially because the last time these two teams played, the Patriots beat the Jets 45-3.
My prediction. Patriots win and this continues to be a mediocre rivalry. The Jets misery will continue.
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