NFL Schedule Release 2023: Ranking the Best Rivalry Games of the Season

The NFL's best rivalry games of the 2023-2024 season promises to deliver excitement to rabid fan bases. Here are the top five of 2023.

The best sports leagues in the world know how to capitalize on the best rivalry games their league has to offer. It is these rivalries that make the leagues great and endear them to fans. Rooting for your team to win is as fun as rooting for your hated rival to lose. In fact, the very essence of fandom, fanaticism, is rooted in irrationally being able to admit anything bad about your favorite team, and anything good about your rival.

Whether it’s Yankees-Red Sox, Manchester United-Manchester City, Celtics-Lakers, or Bruins-Canadiens, these games make for must-see television for the fans of their sport. Below are my top five NFL rivalries that will make for the best rivalry games in the 2023-2024 NFL season.

Best Rivalry Games on the Schedule for the 2023 NFL Season

There are historic rivalries in the NFL that make every fan stop and pay attention. Then there are rivalries that are newer, but clearly worthy of the “rivalry game” title. Some of these games are between bitter division rivals, some are conference rivals, and some go back so far that division and conference are irrelevant. These are the NFL’s best rivalry games for the 2023-2024 season.

The best rivalry games of the 2023 NFL season.

5) Week 2: Baltimore Ravens at Cincinnati Bengals

Yes, this is a division matchup, but not the one from the AFC North that typically makes these lists. For years, Steelers-Ravens was must-see television. Hard-hitting, nasty smash-mouth football at its finest. But in recent years, this matchup has been the rivalry that matters for the AFC North crown.

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The Baltimore Ravens and Cincinnati Bengals have played each other five times in the last two years, meeting in the playoffs last season. Lamar Jackson has missed three of the last four matchups, but even without him, these games have largely been close. With him? This game promises to be one of 2023’s best rivalry games.

4) Week 12: Miami Dolphins at New York Jets

This matchup has all the elements to be one of the best rivalry games in the NFL this year. Historical? Check. Same division? Check. Both teams relevant? Check.

Aaron Rodgers coming to the Big Apple has put the New York Jets back into contention and national relevancy. Meanwhile, Tua Tagovailoa and the Miami Dolphins took a step last season toward being considered a team the people need to see more of.

This game can add to the lore of the “Fake Spike,” the “Monday Night Miracle,” Marino-O’Brien combining for 1,000 yards of offense in 1986, and the 1982 AFC Championship Game. This game means something for the first time in a while.

3) Week 16: New York Giants at Philadelphia Eagles

Same as the one above. This rivalry has a deep-rooted history, playoff implications, and both teams are relevant. Last season, they met three total times.

The New York Giants are trying to get to where the Philadelphia Eagles are, and the Eagles are trying to remain at the top of the mountain in the NFC. Add that this is a Christmas Day game, and this has the makings of one of the best rivalry games in the NFL.

2) Week 14: Buffalo Bills at Kansas City Chiefs

This game is of the newer variety. Since Patrick Mahomes and Josh Allen got to their respective teams, this game has been must watch. Incredible offense. Highlight plays galore. But more importantly, this game matters for the postseason.

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The Buffalo Bills-Kansas City Chiefs matchup could determine home-field advantage. That matters because these teams could very realistically meet again in the postseason. This has been one of the best rivalry games these last few years, and it shows no signs of slowing down while these two signal-callers are upright.

1) Week 17: Cincinnati Bengals at Kansas City Chiefs

What better way to bring in the new year than to have these two AFC behemoths face off in what could be a clinching scenario for the AFC’s No. 1 seed? Just like Kansas City’s rivalry with Buffalo, this one is only a few years old — but it’s fierce. This is like the Steelers-Ravens matchups of yesteryear in that these teams genuinely dislike one another.

On top of that, this game means something every year, and after this Week 17 matchup, we could see them face off again in the AFC Championship Game just a few weeks later. Where we see that game could be determined here. This is easily the best rivalry game of the 2023 season.

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