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Ravens-Steelers: An NFL rivalry for the ages

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Ravens-Steelers: An NFL rivalry for the ages

A Ravens' win would not only draw them even with the Steelers with one week remaining but give them the head-to-head tiebreaker.

If the Ravens win, something else will be the same: the teams' regular-season head-to-head win total, which will be tied (21-21) for the first time since it was 1-1 after their first two meetings in 1996.

Yet, seldom have the two AFC North rivals met this late with so much on the line. This game is in New Orleans, though, and the Superdome can be a notoriously hard place to play, or it used to be at any rate.

It's still Pittsburgh's only victory in the past seven meetings between the two teams that will meet for the de facto AFC North title game on Christmas night, a rare blowout in a series dominated by taut defensive struggles usually decided by a kicker.

To prepare for the frenzied Pittsburgh atmosphere, the Ravens weren't exactly pumping Christmas carols through their practice field speakers.

Anytime the Steelers and Ravens meet, the game is sure to be low scoring and full of flags, but it often includes a tight finish too. Perhaps a bold new look will be the trick that turns the tide in the Steelers' favor?

The Steelers would like to avoid needing any outside help to earn a playoff spot this year. That bodes well for his presence on Sunday, which may lead to sparks with his long-running sparring partner Steelers safety Mike Mitchell. Flacco's late interception nearly cost the Ravens the game. Ravens S Eric Weddle has 20 tackles, a sack and an interception in his last two games. There is too much at stake, too much history when these teams are involved.

"It'll be kind of cool", said tackle Marcus Gilbert. "This is for all the marbles, as far as our season".

"We will watch him participate over the course of the week and see what that participation looks like", Tomlin said Tuesday. "We have to keep an up-pace tempo, get those big guys exhausted".

In a winner-goes-to-playoffs game in 2012, they scored 10 against the Bengals.

I'm speaking primarily of Ben Roethlisberger, Antonio Brown and Le'Veon Bell. We've talked a lot about Ladarius lately. but I think those guys have continued to grow as players and grow within the offense.

For the record, Shazier says he liked the bumble bees but says he'd welcome the all-black unis again for special occasions. Mike Zimmer teams aren't typically quitters, so Minnesota might bounce back from an embarrassing home loss to Indianapolis and put up a fight. But the Ravens will need balance if they are going to win.

In October the Steelers retired their horizontally-striped 1934 throwback jerseys - aka, the bumblebees - after four seasons.

It won't be easy - the Steelers' defense has jumped to another level in the past five games, all Pittsburgh wins.

Baltimore Ravens offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg didn't totally agree with John Harbaugh's criticism that the decision to throw the ball late in the fourth quarter Sunday was the "all-time worst call ever". The receivers are fed up with the quarterback, the running backs want more carries, the head coach recently threw the offensive coordinator under the bus and the No. 1 rushing defense in the National Football League now has problems. "They don't like us, and that is what it is all about".

If the Packers beat the Vikings on Saturday at Lambeau Field, Detroit coach Jim Caldwell can sit some of his injured players - two of whom are running back Theo Riddick and cornerback Darius Slay - and save them for the Packers the following week. We know each other really well, both sides. "They are playing at a really high level".

The respect is there, but the dislike still burns deeply as well. "That probably gets amplified a little bit when you get to silence a crowd". However, if the Broncos don't win this one, you can just go ahead and put a fork in the defending Super Bowl champs. "That's just how it is".

The Steelers are wearing that all-black combo as part of the NFL's Color Rush campaign. Steelers are 13-2 in December games since 2013. EXTRA POINTS1. Baltimore's Shareece Wright could be inserted into the starting lineup with fellow CB Jimmy Smith (ankle) missing his second straight day of practice on Thursday. 2.

Outside linebacker Elvis Dumervil missed the first matchup because of a nagging foot injury that has limited him to six games. In the six games since then, Bell's averaged 26 carries for 128 yards and a touchdown, plus six catches for 56 receiving yards. Baltimore will head to Heinz Field with the NFL's fifth-ranked defense in terms of total yards. The Steelers are eighth.

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