AFC South: rivalry
As with many things in the broad NFL picture, the AFC South's rivalries don't quite measure up. It's hard to have Bears-Packers, Redskins-Cowboys or Raiders-Chiefs when the 14-year old team in your division isn't even the baby of the family.
Our focus is supposed to be since realignment in 2002, so any mention of rivalries including the AFC South in that span has to start with the Colts and Patriots. They've played eight times since realignment, including three times in the playoffs, with Indy posting a 3-5 record. Five of those games were decided by seven points or less. And Peyton Manning's Colts vs. Tom Brady's Patriots definitely qualifies as the league's current marquee matchup. It's no coincidence the meeting this year in at Lucas Oil Stadium is on Nov. 2, during television's sweeps period.
In the division, I've got to go Jaguars-Titans as the current No. 1. Among the longer running series, it's the division's tightest with Tennessee holding a 15-12 edge after an opening day win over Jacksonville. And the two teams have twice peaked at the same time. In 1999, Jacksonville lost only three games, all of them to Tennessee, including the AFC Championship Game. Before Super Bowl XXXIV, Jeff Fisher joked that Alltel Stadium in Jacksonville counted as one of his team's many home fields. Last year they both went to the playoffs as wild cards. The two teams, which started their lives in SEC country within a year of each other, now have coaches in Fisher and Jack Del Rio who have what can only be classified as a "frosty" relationship.
Intensity Rating: Sport the away team's colors at your own risk.
Honorable mention: Colts-Jaguars is second, with Jacksonville finishing second three times in the Colts' current five-season run atop the division. But it's hard not to like Texans-Jaguars, too, as the upstart Texans actually own a 7-5 edge in the infant series.
All-Time Series Results:
Colts 11, Texans 1
Titans 10, Texans 2
Colts 11, Jaguars 3
Colts 15, Titans 11
Texans 7, Jaguars 5
Titans 15, Jaguars 12