Steelers-Ravens * Saturday, January 3 * Heinz Field
AFC Wild Card Round
Gates open at 6:15 pm * Kickoff at 8:15 pm
You can't talk about the Steelers-Ravens rivalry without one word always creeping into the conversation.
It's used by players on offense, defense, and special teams. You hear it from coaches, athletic trainers and video staff. Anyone within 100-feet of the Steelers' practice facility will likely utter the word this week when talking about what Saturday night's Wild Card playoff game is going to be like.
"Intense. It's the kind of game you want to play," said linebacker Jason Worilds, a veteran of some battles against the Ravens. "I think everyone understands what this challenge is."
He is correct. They definitely understand, even those who are new to the bitter rivalry.
"It's a very intense rivalry," said rookie linebacker Ryan Shazier. "We are both really good teams and this gam
e is a big one.
"I don't think it gets any better. It's the toughest division in football. We are going at it every week in the regular season and we get to see each other one more time in the playoffs."
The Steelers and Ravens split their season series this year, both teams winning games at home. The Steelers hope the home field advantage works in their favor this week.
"It's going to be physical," said linebacker Sean Spence. "We know each other well. It's intense. It's going to come down to who wants it the most. It's going to be the team that executes the fundamentals, has the least mental errors and plays the hardest."
What the Steelers are saying:Linebacker Sean Spence on his first career sack:"It was great. I have been waiting so long to make a splash play, to get a sack or interception. What better way to get it than against the Cincinnati Bengals for the division title. It felt great. After I got it, I paused. I didn't go too crazy. I just pointed above. Without the man above I wouldn't be here."
Center Maurkice Pouncey on what he expects the playoff atmosphere to be like:
"The stadium is alive. It's about the feeling that you get pulling up to it, the feeling when you run out of the tunnel. That first play you are like wow, what is it going to be? It's intense. It's not like that when you play teams outside of your division. It's a division game, a division rivalry. They are going to come ready to play and we need to as well."
What the Ravens are saying:
Coach John Harbaugh on facing the Steelers in the playoffs:**
"It's a great challenge. And I say great challenge in the sense that it's a challenge that we do ... We love this rivalry. We love being a part of it. We've said that many times before, and I believe they feel the same way about it. It is just going to be another one of those great moments in the Ravens-Steelers rivalry that we are looking forward to. It's another playoff game there."
Harbaugh on what stands out in the Steelers-Ravens rivalry:
"The physicality, first of all, and the intensity – those two things. Every play – whether it's a playoff game or not – is played at that level. Those two things stand out."