BALTIMORE (AP) -A spirited rivalry will be renewed Sunday when the Oakland Raiders face the Baltimore Ravens, one that has nothing to do with two teams from opposite ends of the country.
The Raiders and Ravens are among the most feisty teams in the league, but there's no hatred between them. They have played in only four regular-season games, and much time has passed since their lone playoff encounter, Baltimore's 16-3 victory in the 2001 AFC championship.
The stakes Sunday are not nearly as high - except perhaps to Baltimore defensive coordinator Rex Ryan and his twin brother Rob, who holds the same job with the Raiders.
hat every week.''
It's a friendly duel between two men who learned the trade from their father, former NFL head coach and noted defensive specialist Buddy Ryan. The proud papa will be at the game Sunday, although it's uncertain if he will favor one son over the other.
``He's a Raider fan,'' Rob insisted.
``No way he takes sides,'' Rex said.
Asked which team Buddy Ryan might choose to give a pep talk, Ravens coach John Harbaugh replied, ``We're putting our bids in for Buddy right now.''
In this Xs and Os duel, the advantage appears to be in Rex Ryan's favor. Led by standouts Ray Lewis, Ed Reed and Terrell Suggs, the Ravens (3-3) are second in the NFL in total defense and No. 1 against the run. Oakland is ranked 26th overall, and the Raiders (2-4) have yielded at least 24 points in four of six games.
Rob Ryan has received some of the heat for Oakland's struggle this season, but he's got a backer in Baltimore.
``We're the biggest fans of each other. I want him to win every week except this one,'' Rex said. ``I do want him to do well. I always say, 'Keep those guys playing and you have a chance to be second in the league in defense.' Because I always know that we're going to be ahead of him.''
Rex Ryan probably calls more blitzes, but both are known for having aggressive defenses that make few mistakes and tackle with authority.
11 guys on defense making plays,'' Raiders quarterback JaMarcus Russell said of the Ravens. ``They fly around that ball, man. It's just something we have to be ready for.''
Rob Ryan said, ``He has some big bullies to stand behind, just like I do. But great players make great defenses, and two of the best defenses in the league are going to show up Sunday.''
Rex Ryan knows that neither he nor his brother will make a tackle or bat away a pass Sunday. Talent is far more important than strategy, yet that won't take away the pride each man will feel when looking across the field at the other sideline.
``It does make it special. You're going against your brother, and you're both at the highest level you can be as a coach,'' Rex said. ``It's great to see the success he's had in the past. I know his guys will be ready. They'll be champing at the bit to play. That's just the way he motivates them each week - and I do the same.''
The brothers often discuss their trade during the week, but such talk was suspended in the days leading up to the game.
``I may run something by him or visa versa,'' Rex said. ``This week it's more like just ripping the other guy.''
Would it be perfect for Rex Ryan if Baltimore won 3-0?
``Hey, I'll take that right now,'' he said. ``At the end of the day, if that was the case, that would be great. Everybody in this organization would take the win, no matter how it happens.''
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