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fordfixer
10-06-2010, 12:16 AM
* October 5, 2010, 6:00 PM ET

The NFLís Best Rivalry
http://blogs.wsj.com/dailyfix/2010/10/0 ... t-rivalry/ (http://blogs.wsj.com/dailyfix/2010/10/05/the-nfls-best-rivalry/)

By Carl Bialik

When you see Ravens-Steelers on an NFL schedule these days, you can pencil in a last-minute finish.


The AFC North rivals have met five times in the last three regular seasons, and all five times the games have been decided by four points or fewer. In 2008, the Steelers swept their pair of games, winning the first on an overtime field goal and the second on a touchdown catch with 43 seconds left. The next season, the Ravens won the first meeting on an overtime field goal of their own, but the Steelers avenged that loss on a field goal with 5:25 remaining the next month. And last Sunday, the Ravens dealt Pittsburgh its first loss of the season with a touchdown pass with 32 seconds left.

No other pair of teams has delivered classics so reliably in recent seasons. The closest pair is Indianapolis and Jacksonville, which have met five times and decided four games by four points or fewer. In the fifth game, the Colts won by a touchdown. Four other pairs of division rivals have had three close games since 2008 ó including two including the Saints, paired with the Falcons and Bucs ó and 15 other pairs have had two close games.

Pittsburgh and Baltimore have had a penchant for producing classics mostly because the two teams have been so closely matched lately. In 2008, the Steelers and Ravens were 12-4 and 11-5, respectively. Last year they were both 9-7. And this year they are both 3-1 through four games. In all games against other opponents, playing identical divisional slates, the teams are each 21-10 in that span.

It doesnít appear that there is any deeper reason for the string of close finishes, such as some sort of intrinsic characteristic of the rivalry. Consider that in the teamsí 24 regular-season meetings before 2008 ó the Baltimore franchise was born in 1996 ó just seven were decided by four points or fewer. Thatís 29% of all meetings, barely above the 28% rate for the NFL as a whole during that span, according to numbers compiled using Pro Football Referenceís Game Finder tool. During that span, Baltimore was an average team, winning one more game than it lost, while Pittsburgh was much better than average ó 41 games over .500. So fans of either team should enjoy the classics now, before one team or the other pulls ahead in the rivalry.

Stay tuned for the Week 13 rematch Dec. 5 in Baltimore.

JTP53609
10-06-2010, 08:54 AM
* October 5, 2010, 6:00 PM ET

The NFLís Best Rivalry
http://blogs.wsj.com/dailyfix/2010/10/0 ... t-rivalry/ (http://blogs.wsj.com/dailyfix/2010/10/05/the-nfls-best-rivalry/)

By Carl Bialik

When you see Ravens-Steelers on an NFL schedule these days, you can pencil in a last-minute finish.


The AFC North rivals have met five times in the last three regular seasons, and all five times the games have been decided by four points or fewer. In 2008, the Steelers swept their pair of games, winning the first on an overtime field goal and the second on a touchdown catch with 43 seconds left. The next season, the Ravens won the first meeting on an overtime field goal of their own, but the Steelers avenged that loss on a field goal with 5:25 remaining the next month. And last Sunday, the Ravens dealt Pittsburgh its first loss of the season with a touchdown pass with 32 seconds left.

No other pair of teams has delivered classics so reliably in recent seasons. The closest pair is Indianapolis and Jacksonville, which have met five times and decided four games by four points or fewer. In the fifth game, the Colts won by a touchdown. Four other pairs of division rivals have had three close games since 2008 ó including two including the Saints, paired with the Falcons and Bucs ó and 15 other pairs have had two close games.

Pittsburgh and Baltimore have had a penchant for producing classics mostly because the two teams have been so closely matched lately. In 2008, the Steelers and Ravens were 12-4 and 11-5, respectively. Last year they were both 9-7. And this year they are both 3-1 through four games. In all games against other opponents, playing identical divisional slates, the teams are each 21-10 in that span.

It doesnít appear that there is any deeper reason for the string of close finishes, such as some sort of intrinsic characteristic of the rivalry. Consider that in the teamsí 24 regular-season meetings before 2008 ó the Baltimore franchise was born in 1996 ó just seven were decided by four points or fewer. Thatís 29% of all meetings, barely above the 28% rate for the NFL as a whole during that span, according to numbers compiled using Pro Football Referenceís Game Finder tool. During that span, Baltimore was an average team, winning one more game than it lost, while Pittsburgh was much better than average ó 41 games over .500. So fans of either team should enjoy the classics now, before one team or the other pulls ahead in the rivalry.

Stay tuned for the Week 13 rematch Dec. 5 in Baltimore.


steelers/ravens are number one with no doubt..I will even say pats/colts even though they are not the same division
i thought the cowboys vs the whole nfc east was the best..not because the games are good or that they are 500 miles away???, but because the media loves the cowboys, and it is great to watch meaningless games :Blah :Blah