One of the best rivalries in the NFL; two defensive-oriented teams, that hate each other with a passion. When the Ravens and Steelers play, be ready for hard hits, plenty of penalty flags, and an exciting day of football.
When it was announced that Ben Roethlisberger would be suspended, many thought that this could be the game that the Ravens put a nail in the coffin of the Steelers, since many believed that the Steelers would be 1-2 at best.
Since that day, many things have changed across the NFL.
The Ravens have lost starting corner Dominique Foxworth, who tore his ACL and is now on the season-ending injured reserve list, as well as All-Pro safety Ed Reed, placed on the PUP list and ineligible to play until Week 6.
The Pittsburgh Steelers defied the odds, winning their first three games without the help of Ben Roethlisberger, and have a chance to take a commanding lead over the Ravens with a victory at Heinz Field on Sunday.
Instead of the Ravens getting the chance to end the Steelers' season, Pittsburgh has the chance to put the Ravens in a hole that they might not be able to dig out of. If the Ravens were to fall to 2-2, there would still be a lot of time left to play in the 2010 season, but having lost two games in the AFC North (Cincinnati and Pittsburgh), their playoff hopes would dim significantly.
They still would have another game against both the Bengals and Steelers, but they would also still have to play the New England Patriots, Miami Dolphins, Atlanta Falcons, New Orleans Saints, and Houston Texans.
That means the Ravens play seven teams, out of a possible 12, that have a very realistic shot at making the 2010 Playoffs.
If the Steelers were to defeat the Ravens, without the services of Ben Roethlisberger, it would also give a mental advantage to the Steelers when they play again on December 5th.
If the Steelers were to find a way to defeat the Ravens, and complete a four-game sweep in the absence of Ben Roethlisberger, the odds of them falling apart would be slim.