The more featured matchups include: Andy Reid’s Kansas City Chiefs vs. the Philadelphia Eagles, Mike Shanahan’s Washington Redskins vs. the Denver Broncos, and Rex Ryan’s New York Jets vs. the Baltimore Ravens.
Reid was in Philadelphia and Shanahan was in Denver for the same amount of years before landing at their current stops: 14. Chiefs ended up beating the Eagles in Week 3. Redskins lost to the Broncos 45-21 in Week 8.
While Reid and Shanahan played their respective former teams for the first time, this will be Ryan’s third shot at playing the Ravens. Ryan’s Jets have not had luck in their first two meetings against Baltimore.
They lost 10-9 in their 2010 season opener at MetLife Stadium and 34-17 away at M&T Bank Stadium. New York’s offense was heavily scrutinized for not scoring an offensive touchdown (3 field goals in the first game, kickoff and interception returns for TDs in the second game).
To show how much his Ravens tenure meant to him, Rex Ryan dedicated an entire chapter in his 2010 book, “Play Like You Mean It”, called “Loving Baltimore”. Ryan was the Ravens’ defensive line coach from 1999-2004 and promoted to defensive coordinator from 2004-2008.
He went on to rave about several defensive players that helped in their 2000 Super Bowl season such as: Ray Lewis, Sam Adams, Rob Burnett, Tony Siragusa, and Michael McCrary.
This was one of the most telling quotes about Ryan’s affection for “Charm City”: “When I first got to Baltimore, I really thought that would be it. That’s really strange to say when you’re in this job, but I just had this feeling that my days of bouncing around the country from job to job were over.”
Today in his press conference, Rex Ryan told reporters about returning to Baltimore, “I'd be lying if I didn't say it was special.”
All emotions aside, this is a big game for both the Ravens (4-6) and Jets (5-5) as they try to grab the last wild card spot.
There will be a lot of new faces this time around for both teams since their last meeting in 2011.
The Jets have a new starting QB in Geno Smith and three new offensive lineman in Willie Colon, Brian Winters, and Austin Howard. New York also has seven new defensive starters. Gone for the Ravens is WR Anquan Bolden, and key defensive stalwarts in Ray Lewis and Ed Reed.
The winner of this game will have a slightly clearer path to the wild card. The loser will take a huge hit in playoff implications.