Pittsburgh (4-6) at Baltimore (8-2) Sunday 1:00 pm EST
BALTIMORE (Ticker) -- The Baltimore Ravens can deliver another
huge blow to the Pittsburgh Steelers' playoff hopes Sunday
when the bitter AFC North rivals meet for the first time this
After winning the Super Bowl last season, the Steelers will have
an uphill climb to even make the playoffs. Pittsburgh is
behind both Baltimore (8-2) and Cincinnati (5-5) in the
The Steelers have a huge task against the Ravens, who are
seeking their first five-game winning streak since a seven-game
run to close the regular season in their Super Bowl-winning
season in 2000.
Pittsburgh has won its last two games over New Orleans and
Cleveland, with quarterback Ben Roethlisberger finally
starting to play better.
Roethlisberger has thrown for 536 yards and five touchdowns with
three interceptions in the last two games. He went 25-of-44 for
272 yards and two TDs with three interceptions in last week's
24-20 triumph at Cleveland.
Roethlisberger capped a 21-point fourth quarter in the win over
the Browns with a four-yard TD pass to running back Willie
Parker with 32 seconds remaining.
Parker also had a one-yard TD run earlier in the fourth quarter.
The speedster rushed for 122 yards on 32 carries in a pair of
games against the Ravens last season.
The Ravens continued their winning ways last Sunday with a 24-10
victory over Atlanta. Jamal Lewis rushed for 90 yards and
three second-half touchdowns and B.J. Sams totaled 212 yards on
six kick returns.
It also was another efficient performance for Steve McNair, who
completed 24-of-34 passes for 236 yards. He has completed over
61 percent of his passes in four straight games.
Baltimore will be hoping to regain the services of Pro Bowl
middle linebacker Ray Lewis, who has missed the last two games
with a back injury.
The teams split two meetings last season, with each winning at
In the game at Pittsburgh, Roethlisberger engineered a late
drive that resulted in Jeff Reed's 37-yard field goal with 1:36
remaining to give the Steelers a 20-19 victory.
With Roethlisberger sidelined with a knee injury, the Ravens
posted a 16-13 victory in overtime last November. Matt Stover
provided the winning points with a 44-yard field goal.
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This should be a great divisional matchup between two teams coming off wins. The Steelers were supposed to be the class of the AFC North, but the Ravens have clearly snatched that label away and made it their own. On a two-game winning streak, the Steelers still have flickering playoff hopes and need this victory to keep their heads above water. The Ravens hold a three-game lead in the division and are battling for home-field advantage in the playoffs. These teams are not found of each other and the crowd in Baltimore will have a little extra for the hated Steelers.