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Jets' Ryan relishing chance to beat Ravens

New York Jets head coach Rex Ryan watches his team play the Oakland Raiders in Oakland
New York Jets head coach Rex Ryan watches his team play the Oakland Raiders in Oakland

By Simon Evans

(Reuters) - The New York Jets and Baltimore Ravens clash in Week Four of the National Football League (NFL) season and while the teams have much in common there is a sense of rivalry fired by Jets head coach, and former Raven, Rex Ryan.

Both teams are 2-1 this season, have been regulars in the American Football Conference (AFC) playoffs in recent years but neither has made the Super Bowl since the Ravens triumph following the 2000 season.

Each have outstanding players on defense - Ed Reed and Ray Lewis for Baltimore, Darrelle Revis for the Jets - but have some lingering question marks over their quarterbacks.

Ravens quarterback, 26-year-old Joe Flacco, and New York's Mark Sanchez, two years his junior, have both proven to be worthy of their high ranking in the draft but neither have sealed their status by taking their team to the biggest game.

But it is on the sidelines where the tension between the two teams can be felt.

Ryan spent 10 years with the Ravens, ending as defensive co-ordinator, and it still rankles that current Ravens coach John Harbaugh pipped him to the top job at the club.

Although Ryan's Jets lost to the Ravens last year he believes he has proven his worth in New York and also feels the need to spell that out.

"We have not beat them since I've been here, that's for sure, but the fact of the matter is, we all said we were going to meet in the AFC championship game. Now, we haven't won the AFC championship game, but we've got there two years in a row. The Ravens haven't. So you can throw that one right back at them as well," Ryan said earlier this week.

"I've gone to the playoffs every year, and I've gone to the championship game every year since I've been here as well. But who cares? This is what it is. They know I did a great job there for 10 years."

It should be a gripping encounter in Baltimore on Sunday that will conclude a day which is expected to offer some tests for the NFL's three undefeated teams.

The Buffalo Bills are the most surprising team at 3-0 and they will fancy their chances of extending their winning start to the season when they visit the Cincinnati Bengals (1-2).

The Detroit Lions (3-0) take on a Dallas Cowboys team that were boosted by their victory over the Washington Redskins on Monday while the Super Bowl champion Green Bay Packers will expect a fourth victory at Denver.

The New England Patriots, who suffered a shock defeat to Buffalo last week, face another tricky test on the road against an Oakland Raiders (2-1) team that is showing signs of being a playoff threat this season.

The Raiders have gone eight seasons without a winning record and will test the Patriots defense against the run in the first game between the two teams in three years.

Michael Vick's rather bruising season for the Philadelphia Eagles (1-2) should continue at home to the San Francisco 49ers if he recovers from a hand injury in time.

The Eagles are smarting from their defeat to the New York Giants and desperate to avoid a third straight loss while the 49ers (2-1) are looking for another road win after last week's 13-8 win at Cincinnati.

(Reporting by Simon Evans in Miami; Editing by Frank Pingue)

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