A year ago, John Abraham had to leave the New York Jets' playoff game at Oakland because of flu. Losing the All-Pro defensive end and team sacks leader was a huge blow, and the Jets fell to the Raiders, 38-24.
Although Abraham played Dec. 2 at Oakland -- a 26-20 defeat -- he is eager to get on the field for a postseason game at Oakland.
"That's a painful memory," Abraham said of last year's playoff loss, during which he took intravenous treatments. "I felt bad physically, but felt bad more that I couldn't contribute to my team the way I normally do. It was really indescribable, a real bad, uncomfortable feeling."
Abraham, who had knee surgery before the season, didn't really hit his stride until midseason. He has played well down the stretch as the Jets rallied to win the AFC East and then blank the Colts, 41-0, in the wild-card game.
So does going back to Oakland for another playoff game mean a lot more for him?
"I'm motivated for the playoffs, whether we are playing Tennessee or Oakland," he said. "What happened last year left me a long time ago, but everyone is asking me about it, they won't let it die."
Geography has had no bearing on this rivalry. Nor has realignment.
Somehow, the Raiders and Jets manage to face each other nearly every season. On Sunday, these old AFL foes will play for the fourth time in a little more than a year.
"It's incredible," Jet Coach Herman Edwards said. "It's like they are our rivals from our other division."
Although the Jets are in the AFC East and the Raiders play in the AFC West, they wind up on each other's schedule frequently.
Since the Raiders moved back to Oakland in 1995, they have played the Jets six times in the regular season, once in the playoffs.