By Teresa Varley
LaMarr Woodley National Conference Call It's a theme that is going to be repeated time and time again this week, a question players are going to be asked over and over again.
How hard is it to beat a team three times in a season?
And the answer so far has been pretty plain and simple.
"It's this game," said fullback Carey Davis. "Those two games are in the past. We have a new game this week. Both teams are going to have a different mindset. They aren't going to come in to the game thinking we lost twice it's over. We can't go into the game thinking we beat them twice it's over.
"It's going to be a great game and we have to go out there and fight. We have to show up Sunday ready to fight and they have to show up Sunday ready to fight."
The Steelers won the two regular season meetings against the Ravens this year, defeating them 23-20 on Sept. 29 at Heinz Field in overtime and 13-9 at M&T Bank Stadium on Dec. 14.
"You have to put the other two behind you," said running back Willie Parker. "We have to put all of that behind us."
The Steelers had a similar situation in 1994 and 2002 when they defeated the Cleveland Browns twice during the regular season and both times defeated them in the playoffs.
"I personally don't subscribe to that hocus-pocus to be honest with you," said head coach Mike Tomlin of the difficulty of winning three times. "We are going to go play them; it is two good teams. They play the way that we play. It is going to be a knock-down, drag-out (game). What happened in the other two games will have no bearing on the outcome of this game. The other two games were close; one went into overtime and the other one was low scoring. It doesn't mean that is going to be the case this week.
"We are going to prepare with respect to that; and understand that each individual performance stands on its own. We aren't buying into that."
The bottom line is when the ball is snapped on Sunday, nothing that happened during the season is going to matter. What is going to matter is what's on the line during 60 minutes of football at Heinz Field.
"There is a lot at stake," said Parker. "It's a chance to go to Tampa. We are so close, just like they are so close. One game and you are there. It's going to be a great game, a brutal game."