Ben Roethlisberger knows that no matter what time kickoff is on Sunday at M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore, the atmosphere is going to be the same.
"It's a very hostile place," said Roethlisberger. "This will be the first time that I can remember in a while playing a 1 o'clock game there. It always seems to be a prime time game. To go for a 1 o'clock game is going to be different, but I still expect it to be hostile and crazy."
The game was originally scheduled for an 8:30 kickoff on Sunday Night Football, but was flexed by the NFL to a 1 p.m. start. And if things play out right, it could be a game where the Steelers clinch a playoff berth. A win over the Ravens, coupled with the New York Jets losing to the New England Patriots, would land the Steelers in the postseason.
And what does Roethlisberger thing about that.
"Baltimore," said Roethlisberger. "That is all that is creeping into anybody's mind, trying to beat an AFC North opponent at their place."
The Ravens are one up on the Steelers this year, winning 23-20 at Heinz Field in October. But it was a game where Roethlisberger didn't play, sidelined with a knee injury. He knows, though, that it will be just as difficult this time around even though the Ravens are without one of their top defensive players, linebacker Terrell Suggs who is on injured reserve.
"They beat us here so there is a lot of focus going into this game," said Roethlisberger. "They have some different guys who have filled in, but did a great job. They have some high motor guys up front, in the secondary, doing different looks, mixing things up. It's not going to be easy trying to identify who is coming, who is not, where is someone lining up. We have a lot of film study to do."
More from Ben:
On Ron Jaworski comparing the offense to "The Greatest Show on Turf:"
"We play on grass. That was an awesome offensive football team, and they were a lot of fun to watch. We're not trying to be them. We're just trying to be the best we can be. But, that's a compliment and an honor."
On if he thinks of what might have been had you not been injured early on in the season, as far as the numbers go: "Well, we're not in it for numbers, we're in it for wins and losses. Things happen for a reason, so we're just trying to be the best we can be right now." On being selected to the Pro Bowl:
"It's an awesome honor. It's an honor that couldn't be done alone. Obviously, we have so many guys who contribute to it, but anytime you can get an award like this, it's humbling."On David DeCastro making the Pro Bowl:
"I was really excited. I texted David last night, because that's awesome. Every team, every player, everybody's got their snubs or whoever you think should have gone, but to have David go for his first time I think is just great."On DeCastro this season:
"It's something we expected. We've seen it, just his hard work, his tenacity, he can run block, he can pass block. He's very smart, technically sound and finishes every play, so I think other teams and other defensive linemen and linebackers have given him the ultimate honor." On if he has an opportunity to enjoy his family at Christmas:"That's one of the things I think we're very lucky for, playing for this team, obviously a family-oriented organization. Coach Tomlin has given us Christmas morning off for a couple of hours, pushing everything back two hours, so those who have kids can enjoy the Christmas morning. I'm just thankful for the family organization and Coach giving us the morning off to be with our families. Then, right back to work, of course."
On how he would describe Antonio Brown's season:
"Unbelievable, but not surprising. I've used this a lot when talking to you guys and other people, it surprises me more when he doesn't do something. I get asked, "Does he surprise you when he catches for this many yards or passes or touchdowns?" No. I'm more surprised when he doesn't do those things, because he's so special. He's obviously a very deserving Pro Bowl player and all the accolades that come his way are deserving, because he's such a good football player.
"He was always a hard worker and was kind of bound and determined to not just be the small guy who wasn't your typical wide receiver. I think that always pushed him, small school, multiple colleges, maybe people not always believing in him, just fueled his fire, I think."
On what stands out about the receiving group as a whole:
"I think it's that each one brings something different to the table, but each one brings hard work and determination. I think each one goes about their job a little bit differently, but it's always 100 percent. To me, whether it's sitting at a locker talking about something, or on the side of the field, or at practice, they're all going about it at 110 percent."
On if Pro Bowl is especially satisfying after missing time:
"I think it has to do with the guys around me. Typically, you don't get honors when you miss time, but because we've had such a good group around me, wide receivers, running backs, tight ends and then the way the line has played. That's why I say it's an awesome individual honor, but it's more than individual, it's this whole offense that's honored in our Pro Bowl selections."