On paper, the Ravens look to be in good shape heading into Sunday's AFC North battle with the Steelers. After all, Baltimore brings a three-game lead into the game and could lock the Steelers out of the division with a win.
In addition, even though the Ravens have battled a number of injuries, Pittsburgh's gotten hit with several also, most notably to quarterback Ben Roethlisberger.
But all of that doesn't matter because the rivalry will always be there between these two teams. Some who follow the NFL or work with it think this could be the best rivalry in the NFL, even though it hasn't been in existence nearly as long as others like Bears-Packers and all that.
The Ravens have played the Steelers without Roethlisberger before, and it didn't affect the intensity of the game. It won't change much this weekend, especially because Pittsburgh desperately needs a win.
That could add to the intensity. In addition, the Steelers are coming off a terrible performance in a loss to Cleveland last week, a defeat that might be the most costly of the year. That pushed the Steelers three games behind the Ravens, a big difference from being two games back.
But don't expect the Ravens to overlook the Steelers. They could play flag football in the parking lot, and the intensity would be there. With players like Ray Lewis and Terrell Suggs pushing the defense, it's doubtful the Ravens would let up against a good team.
That's also something that coach John Harbaugh will probably bring up-- although he wouldn't have to do so. The Ravens need this game also in order to keep pace with Houston and stay ahead of Denver and New England and others. Overlooking the Steelers just will never happen.