Rivalries in sports are always good. In the NFL, It doesn't matter if you are talking about the Baltimore Ravens vs. Pittsburgh Steelers, Chicago Bears vs. Green Bay Packers, or the Washington Redskins vs. Dallas Cowboys. All three of the rivalries listed are very popular and they are must-see TV. To add to it, I think the NFL should expand more on rivalries and introduce local rivalries between non-conference opponents.
Each year, AFC and NFC teams face four non-conference opponents a year which are decided by a four-year rotation of divisions from the other conference. For example, in 2012, the Ravens (Which play in the AFC North) faced non-conference opponents in the NFC East and four years later in 2016, the Ravens are scheduled to face the NFC East again. In general, non-conference games are pretty plain and don't have an edge to it.
The NFL should seriously consider letting local/in-state teams which reside in the AFC and NFC face each other once a year which both teams rotating home field advantage every other season.
For example, you would have games like:
- Baltimore Ravens vs. Washington Redskins
- Pittsburgh Steelers vs. Philadelphia Eagles
- Dallas Cowboys vs. Houston Texans
- New Giants vs. New York Jets/Buffalo Bills/New England Patriots (A rotation of the three AFC teams)
- Oakland Raiders vs. San Francisco 49ers
- Los Angeles Rams vs. San Diego Chargers
- Miami Dolphins vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Of course, there are states that only have one NFL team so those teams could pair up in a regional rivalry from another state. For example, the Chicago Bears can create a natural rivalry with the Indianapolis Colts, and the Cleveland Browns can create a natural rivalry with the Detroit Lions.
Other possible natural rivalries:
- Arizona Cardinals vs. San Diego Chargers
- Cincinnati Bengals vs. Green Bay Packers
I think this idea could be beneficial for all 32 teams as there would be less wear and tear in terms of travel. Creating local/regional rivalries would actually make Thursday Night Football more appealing as the NFL would have the opportunity to put local/regional teams against one another without worrying about a real competitive disadvantage for the road team.