I only put one other AFC East team in this top 5. As much as we don't like each other, the Buffalo Bills and the Miami Dolphins just haven't been competitive enough to make it a proper rivalry. Sure we play them twice a year, but (apart from last year at Buffalo), the result has been a formality for quite some time. We have bigger fish to fry. This point also goes for the San Diego Chargers. We've had a few heated encounters over the years, but I believe again that as soon as LaDainian Tomlinson left, the rivalry was gone, as I always felt going into a Chargers game that we would beat them.
So, with those teams out of the way, here's the top five.
5. The Indianapolis Colts - Yes. Those Colts. That other good quarterback from the 21st Century. Meeting in the regular season and playoffs for so many years, each one surrounded by major hype, and each contest was enthralling. Despite the fact we usually had Peyton Manning's number in Foxboro, he was (and still is based on his Denver Broncos debut), a great QB. This would be a lot higher, but with Manning gone, and Andrew Luck in, this rivalry probably won't see any bigger games anymore.
4. The Pittsburgh Steelers - No one enjoys a trip into Heinz Field. Certainly not the Gotham Rogues (any Batman fans out there?). Once again, a team we seem to play twice a year. Steeler fans probably hate us more, as we beat them. A lot. But none the less, in the early '00s, this was a marquee matchup in the AFC, and it was one we wanted to win badly. Just watch the 2001 episode of America's Game.
3. The Baltimore Ravens - A newer rival. But a rival that will be with us for years to come. Despite the likes of Ray Lewis and Ed Reed getting towards the end of their careers. I still have very dark memories of the 2009 playoff game in Foxboro, and this team would have been pushing for first if it wasn't for Sterling Moore/Billy Cundiff. (Ahh... Billy, you hero, you!). The Ravens are at the top of the AFC to stay. As are we. Get ready for more playoff games, and more smack talk, and more drama.
2. The New York Giants - Despite the lack of games played against each other, I really hate the Giants. They've left such a sour taste in the mouth. So inconsistent, so mediocre, but when they play the Pats, they always come up with something. Eli Manning getting away from that sack, David Tyree making that catch, ruining the perfect season. Eli coming up with two last minute drives to beat us twice last season (Oh, did I mention one was in the Super Bowl?). That safety. That interception. That hail mary. Those two rings. Yes, I really hate the Giants.
1. The New York Jets - I might hate the Giants. But I hate the other New York team more. Twice a year we have to put up with Rex Ryan, Antonio Cromartie, and all their cronies. Everything they say about us is mainly out of jealousy. It certainly adds some spice to our games. Now add Tim Tebow to the mix.
The playoff defeat two years back was a killer. I'm not sure if I've been more annoyed after a game. Not even the Super Bowl defeat last year, or in '07. The way they celebrated a divisional playoff win. If you celebrate like that after a Super Bowl win. Sure, go nuts. Even if that was an AFC Championship game, you made the Super Bowl after beating your rivals, again, reasonable. But you didn't. You got to go to Pittsburgh the week after. Don't act like you won the whole thing. It winds me up thinking about it.
Ryan still has a brash, arrogant attitude, even after we whipped them 45-3 in 2010, or swept them last season. The Jets haven't even won the division since 2002. Don't brag until you have something to brag about. Rant over.
To end, let's have a look at teams who could become potential rivals.
Houston looks like the dominant force in the AFC South, with a mix of explosive offense and strong defense. They'll be division champions and Super Bowl contenders for years to come, and we'll have to get used to playing them. Depending on how long Peyton sticks around, also look out for Denver. There seemed to be tension there during both games last year, and the addition of Manning makes it a lot more competitive.
Do you agree with my picks? If not, let me know! Comment below, or give me a shout on Twitter, @Brendan_Annely