The Steelers and Ravens will meet on Sunday for a Christmas classic, a game that could decide the AFC North if the Steelers win.
The Ravens defeated the Steelers earlier this season, winning 21-14 at M&T Bank Stadium. Since then the Steelers have gone 5-1, and are playing good team football.
“Pittsburgh is playing great football,” said Harbaugh. “It’s a great team, all phases, a very well coached, obviously, excellent playmakers, tough, hardnosed team, and we’re looking forward to the challenge.**
“We go against them twice a year. We have a lot of respect for them. Their coaching staff is excellent. They have a great head coach and great coordinators, great players, a great organization. We know each other really well, both sides. We respect them, and we look forward to it every time we play them.”
Both Harbaugh and former Steelers’ receiver Mike Wallace weighed in even more on the game:*Harbaugh on how to contain Le’Veon Bell: *
“It is just team defense. That is the only chance you have with a back of that caliber. He is so patient, he is so big and strong, and he has burst and all that. They have a big, physical offensive line that does what they do well. You have to play team defense. Everyone has to play together, do their job, be physical and do it as a group.”* Wallace on what Steelers’ defender reminds him of a defender from the time he played for the Steelers: *
“I would have to go with No. 25 (Artie Burns) as an Ike (Taylor) type of player. Really fast guy. Smart. Young guy, but I see him getting better every week. I just really like him. He is always in the right position and he plays the deep ball really well.
“I think Artie is going to be a great player. Honestly I like him. I wish we had him over here. I think he is a good player. I think he is going to be a great one. He is evolving. He has some great hands. He is patient and that is important.”
Harbaugh on William Gay:
“Tremendous respect for James Harrison and the way he has played. You can tell he loves the game. The little I know about him, he trains at an unbelievably high level. He is playing as well as he has played for as far back as I can remember coaching the Ravens.”
Wallace on what would have happened if he re-signed with the Steelers:
“I would have enjoyed my whole time and played my whole career there. I am fine. But it was a great organization. Anybody who came through there, you will miss it because of the type of people that are in the building and the type of way it is ran.”
Harbaugh on the difference in the Steelers now than when they played in November:
“They always do a great job of getting better as the season goes on. They do a great job of correcting the things they think they need to correct, that they see on tape. I think they do a great job as a coaching staff doing that. They have some young guys on defense and really coach those guys up and they are playing at a very high level. You can tell the veteran leaders are taking charge on both sides of the ball. The run game, offensively they have been doing a great job with that. Ben (Roethlisberger) is the straw that stirs the drink. He is a first rate player all the way around. I have a lot of respect for them. They are playing at a really high level.”
Harbaugh on why the Steelers and Ravens have had so much success:
“It starts at the top with great leadership. The Rooney family has been at the top of the heap since the beginning in the National Football League. First class family, first class organization. I have so much respect for them.”