BIG-GAME RAMIFICATIONS: Brett Keisel knows what Steelers-Ravens games are all about, and he also understands what a victory might mean for the winning team.
"It's a grudge match, it really is," Keisel said. "It always seems to be close. It always seems to come down to the end. It always seems to come down to who made a mistake and who didn't. Hopefully, we don't.
"Usually the winner of these games goes on and does good things in the playoffs. One of us has been in the AFC Championship Game, I don't know how many of the last years. It's just a very important, tough matchup."
The Steelers and Ravens have appeared in a combined nine of the last 13 AFC Championship Games, including once against each other. The Steelers' appearances came in 2010, 2008, 2005, 2004, and 2001; the Ravens' came in 2012, 2011, 2008 and 2000.
As for this particular installment, the Ravens will walk onto the grass at Heinz Field with a 3-3 record and coming off a loss to the Green Bay Packers, while the Steelers are now 1-4 after snapping their losing streak last Sunday with a road victory over the New York Jets.
The Cincinnati Bengals currently lead the AFC North with a 4-2 record.
BOLSTERING BEACHUM: Kelvin Beachum's first start at left tackle in last Sunday's win over the Jets had ominous overtones. Beachum was beaten cleanly by Jets defensive lineman Muhammad Wilkerson on the Steelers' fourth offensive snap, a play that almost resulted in a safety.
After the narrow escape from the end zone, Ben Roethlisberger sought out Beachum on the sideline and delivered the following message: "Settle down now, you're fine. Everything will be fine. Don't worry about early on, just move on."
As the Steelers were preparing for Sunday's game against the Ravens, Roethlisberger explained the purpose behind his encouraging message to Beachum:
"I try to do that with young guys or in big games, Monday night, Sunday night, playoffs, things like that," Roethlisberger said. "Listen, everyone's going to have jitters early. You're going to have nerves, maybe screw up, be a little anxious. Just settle in now.
"I think he did a good job of doing that."
PHOTO GALLERY - Eye on the Opponent: Baltimore Ravens