Buffalo at New York Giants
Series: Bills lead 6-5
Last Meeting(s): The Giants picked up their last win of the regular season in December 2007 when they beat the Bills 38-21 at Ralph Wilson Stadium. Of course, the next week they nearly ended the Patriots perfect regular season, then went on one of the great postseason tears in NFL history (in my opinion). Justin Tuck and Michael Strahan dominated every offensive line they saw for those four games, and the Giants won their first Super Bowl since 1990…a game in which they beat Buffalo.
In the 2007 game, Ahmad Bradshaw lead the Giants with 151 yards rushing. Brandon Jacobs was second with 143. That pretty much sums up the game—each of those players had more yards rushing than the Bills’ running backs combined. (New York’s Reuben Droughns had -5 yards that day, I wonder how that felt?) Eli Manning completed only seven passes and threw two interceptions, which explains how Buffalo was actually up 21-17 after three quarters. Trent Edwards took care of that by throwing an interception that Kawika Mitchell took back for a touchdown.
Current streak(s): Buffalo won the last three times they came to the Meadowlands to face the Giants (they also go there every year to play the Jets), but they’ve never played the Giants in the New Meadowlands (MetLife?) Stadium. In fact, the Giants have never beaten the Bills in New Jersey (1990, 1996, 2003); the Giants only home win against Buffalo came in 1970 at Yankee Stadium.
Indianapolis at Cincinnati
Series: Colts lead 17-8
Last Meeting(s): Last November, Cincinnati held Peyton Manning to 185 yards passing, but fell 23-17. Neither quarterback (Manning nor Carson Palmer) from that game will be on the field this Sunday.
Current streak(s): The Colts have a seven-game winning streak against Cincinnati; that’s 7-0 for Manning. The Bengals last win over the Colts came in November 1997 at the RCA Dome. Boomer Esiason and Jeff Blake combined for three touchdown passes in a 28-13 win.
Jacksonville at Pittsburgh
Series: Jaguars lead 12-9
Last Meeting(s): In October 2008, Pittsburgh topped Jacksonville 26-21 in a Sunday night game. The Steelers took the lead for good on the first play following the two-minute warning on an 8-yard pass from Ben Roethlisberger to Hines Ward. Roethlisberger had over 300 yards passing that night and Mewelde Moore pitched in 99 yards rushing. Jacksonville could probably use David Garrard this time around, though he was unimpressive in the 2008 matchup.
Current streak(s): Prior to 2008, Jacksonville was on a four-game winning streak against the Steelers, including three straight in Pittsburgh. The last time Pittsburgh beat Jacksonville at home was in November 2001. Kordell Stewart out-dueled Jonathan Quinn in a 20-7 win. The most famous recent game between these two came during the above-mentioned streak: Jacksonville won a wildcard game in Pittsburgh thanks to one of the great quarterback runs of all time (Garrard’s 32 yard run on a 4th and 2 set up the game-winning field goal).
Philadelphia at Washington
Series: Redskins lead 79-69-6
Last Meeting(s): Washington managed to beat Philadelphia 17-12 in Week 4 last year despite Donovan McNabb completing only eight passes for 125 yards. McNabb won in his return to Philadelphia mostly thanks to the fact that Michael Vick was knocked out of the game early. Kevin Kolb played OK, but threw a pick on the last play of the game. In Week 10, Philadelphia travelled to Washington for a Monday Night Football game and absolutely dominated, winning 59-28. Vick played what ESPN calls the “game of the century.” He was 20-28 for 333 yards with four touchdowns and he rushed for 80 yards and two more touchdowns. Philadelphia was up 35-0 when Washington finally got on the board in the second quarter.
Current streak(s): The first time these two franchises met was in October 1934. It’s fun to remember that there are actually quite a few other really old rivalries other than Green Bay-Chicago (I can’t make it through an entire post without my anti-Green Bay bias showing up). Philadelphia has won three of the last four; Andy Reid is 15-9 against Washington. This is the first time since December 2006 that McNabb will not play in the rivalry (he missed the game three times in his career with Philadelphia).
San Francisco at Detroit
Series: 49ers lead 35-27-1
Last Meeting(s): San Francisco topped the Lions 20-6 in December 2009 at Candlestick Park. Alex Smith had a nice game: 20 of 31 for 230 yards and one touchdown. Detroit turned the ball over six times. Drew Stanton threw three interceptions before being pulled and replaced by Daunte Culpepper.
Current streak(s): The 49ers have won seven straight in the series, a streak that started in December 1996. San Francisco has won 12 of 13 dating back to 1988. The 1996 game was in middle of three straight Monday night meetings between the teams (1995, 1996, 1998). The 1995 Monday night game was the last Lions win. These teams also played on Monday Night Football in 1992; I guess Herman Moore was a big draw back then? Jason Hanson played in all four of those MNF meetings and he’s still kicking.
In this season of comebacks, which the both the Lions and 49ers have contributed to, I want to make note of the 1957 playoff game these teams played. The 49ers held a 24-7 lead at halftime and tickets to the following week’s NFL Championship were already being printed with San Francisco’s Kezar Stadium as the site (Lions’ linebacker Jack Christiansen claims the 49ers were drinking champagne in the locker room). 49ers running back Hugh McElhenney ripped off a 71-yard run to start the second half, but Detroit held the San Francisco to a field goal. The Lions finished on a 24-0 run (that link includes comments from McElhenney, Christiansen, and Joe Schmidt) and won the game, then crushed the Browns 59-14 in the 1957 NFL Championship.
St. Louis at Green Bay
Series: Rams lead 46-43-2
Last Meeting(s): Green Bay crushed the Rams 36-17 in September 2009.
Current streak(s): The Packers have won three of four by scores of 36-17 (2009), 33-14 (2007), and 45-17 (2004). The 45-17 score is interesting because, in January 2002, the Rams toppled the Packers by the same score in a divisional playoff game. Brett Favre had maybe his worst game ever: six interceptions, three of them returned for touchdowns (two by Aeneas Williams, who was nine days short of his 34th birthday).
Another matchup with a great deal of history: Between 1948 and 1953 the Rams won 11 straight, part of a 19-3 run that stretched to 1959. Between 1960 and 1963, Green Bay won eight straight. The teams were separated into different divisions in the 1960s; the Rams won 10 of 11 between 1968 and 1981.
Carolina at Atlanta
Series: Falcons lead 20-12
Last Meeting: Atlanta beat Carolina on December 12, 2010 and January 2, 2011, both times by a score of 31-10. In the two games combined, Jimmy Clausen threw for 289 yards, one touchdown, and two interceptions.
Current streak(s): Atlanta has won four of the last five. The Panthers’ last win in Atlanta came in September 2007. For a divisional rivalry, there’s not a lot of interesting history here.
Cleveland at Oakland
Series: Raiders lead 12-8
Last Meeting(s): In December 2009, the Browns beat Oakland 23-9. That gave the two teams a combined record of 9-21. Since 2002, the Browns are 54-94 and the Raiders are 51-98.
Current streak(s): If you draw a line between 1986 and 1987, this series has had two very different lives. From 1970 through 1986, the Raiders were 10-1 against Cleveland. From 1987 to present, the Browns are 7-2 against the Raiders.
Houston at Baltimore
Series: Ravens lead 4-0
Last Meeting(s): The Ravens won 34-28 in overtime in Houston last December. Houston completed a furious comeback after being down 28-7 in the third quarter. Matt Schaub hit Andre Johnson for a touchdown with 29 seconds left, then converted a two-point conversion to Jacoby Jones. Houston forced a punt on the Ravens’ first possession of overtime, but on Houston’s second play Schaub was intercepted by Josh Wilson, who ran 12 yards for the game winning touchdown.
Current streak(s): The Ravens have won all four meetings, which includes one previous game in Baltimore (2005).
New Orleans at Tampa Bay
Series: Saints lead 22-16
Last Meeting(s): Last October, New Orleans crushed the Buccaneers 31-6, out-gaining Tampa Bay 475 to 277. The Week 17 meeting had major playoff implications: New Orleans could clinch the South and a bye with a win and help; Tampa Bay could sneak into the playoffs with a win and lots of help. Neither got their help, but Tampa Bay won 23-13.
Current streak(s): The road team has won the last four meetings. The last season sweep came in 2007 (Tampa Bay). This series is even at 9-9 since the two teams joined the NFC South in 2002.
Dallas at New England
Series: Cowboys lead 7-3
Last Meeting(s): Both teams came into their 2007 meeting 5-0. The Patriots held leads of 14-0 and 21-10 in the first half, but early in the third quarter Dallas took a 24-21 lead on an 8-yard touchdown pass from Tony Romo to Patrick Crayton. Dallas experienced what almost every New England opponent in 2007 would: the Patriots finished the game on a 27-6 run and won 48-17. Tom Brady threw for 388 yards and five touchdowns and Wes Welker and Donte Stallworth both topped 100 yards receiving.
Current streak(s): New England has won the last three games (1999, 2003, 2007). Dallas had won the previous seven meetings. In Brady’s other game against Dallas both teams again had the same record coming in (7-2), but Brady’s day was significantly less exciting: no touchdowns, no interceptions, and the Patriots won 12-0. Dallas last won in New England in 1987.
Minnesota at Chicago
Series: Vikings lead 52-46-2
Last Meeting(s): Chicago swept Minnesota in 2010 in two pretty ugly games. In Week 10, Brett Favre threw three interceptions and Chicago won 27-13 at home. The Week 15 game was played on Monday night in the Gophers’ TCF Bank Stadium during a snow storm. The Vikings had a great opening drive, which was capped by a 23-yard touchdown pass from Favre to Percy Harvin. Minnesota fell apart after that. The next few drives ended with: a Favre interception; a fumbled snap that killed a third down play (punt); a failed 3rd and 2 at midfield (punt); a third down sack that knocked Favre out of the game (punt). Chicago ended up winning 40-14.
Current streak(s): Chicago has won three in a row. The Vikings last win at Soldier Field came in October 2007. Ryan Longwell hit a 55-yard field goal as time expired after the Vikings blew a 31-17 fourth quarter lead and nearly wasted a 226-yard, three-touchdown Adrian Peterson performance.
Miami at New York Jets
Series: Jets lead 47-43-1
Last Meeting(s): In Week 3 last year the Jets controlled the second half and won 31-23 in a game where both teams topped 400 yards. The Dolphins looked like they might save their season when they beat the Jets 10-6 in Week 14 (they didn’t save anything). That time, the Jets managed 280 yards while Miami could only gain 131. To summarize: The 2010 Jets won a game in which they gave up 436 yards, then lost a game when they gave up 131 yards. Go figure.
Current streak(s): The Dolphins have won three straight in Jersey and four out of five overall. Before that, the Jets had won eight of nine in the series. The Jets last home win against the Dolphins came in September 2007.