The Pittsburgh Steelers have a rosy playoff history against division opponents and have beaten Baltimore twice in the postseason, but it hasn't been easy for them against the Ravens.
The two teams split their regular-season games, each winning on the other's field with late scores by three points. In fact, their past four regular-season games have been decided by three points and of their past six regular-season games the biggest winning margin was by four.
This is a rivalry among the best in sports. The teams have similar philosophies in how they play the game and their defenses have consistently been at or near the top of the league for a decade.
"They run the ball and they (have) a good defense -- that's a good formula to have, especially in the playoffs," said linebacker James Farrior. "That's why our games are so close, we feel we do the same thing."
Touchdowns have been hard to come by when these two teams play but two late TDs decided each game this season. The Ravens moved 40 yards on four plays to score with 36 seconds left in Pittsburgh Oct. 3 for a 17-14 victory. The Steelers' Troy Polamalu forced a Joe Flacco fumble late in Baltimore that led to the winning touchdown in a 13-10 final at Baltimore Dec. 5.
"We're familiar with them, they're familiar with us," Steelers coach Mike Tomlin said. "Not much has changed, really, since the last time we played them."
Both teams are relatively healthy. Baltimore Pro Bowl safety Ed Reed and Pittsburgh quarterback Ben Roethlisberger missed the first game and Ravens tight end Todd Heap left after the first series of the second game with a hamstring injury. All three are playing at the top of their game entering Saturday's showdown.
The Steelers are especially concerned about Heap and some matchup problems he gives them.
"He's a multi-talented guy," Tomlin said. "He's capable of splitting out and running receiver-type routes. He's a matchup issue and problem for a lot of people. Are linebackers athletic enough to cover him? Are safeties, or DBs in general, big enough to cover him?"
Copyright (C) 2011 The Sports Xchange. All Rights Reserved.
Pittsburgh Steelers Youth Fitted Hat
$24.95 Shop Now!