PITTSBURGH (93.7 The Fan) – The best rivalries don’t need trash talking, they just need a kickoff. Such is the Ravens-Steelers with the first matchup of the year for first place in the AFC North Sunday in Baltimore.
“We are back in the kitchen,” said Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin on Tuesday. “It’s AFC North ball, you know we like that. We respect it.”
Tomlin said you know what Ravens games are about, called them a top-notch organization and team with talent across the board. Tomlin says they know each other well.
“You should anticipate it being a physical and rough-and-tumble game because history tells us that. And I think how the two teams are playing this year also gives you that indication.”
Tomlin went through the roster praising what Baltimore has done on defense with the addition of Calais Campbell who Tomlin called “a goon that gets after people” and said Marlon Humphrey is a top-notch defender, maybe the best in football.
Offensively, Tomlin said 5-1 Baltimore a tough nut to crack and said the diversity of their run game makes it a different challenge than facing Tennessee or the Giants. He said it starts with quarterback Lamar Jackson and his ‘unbelievable talents’.
So how can the Steelers slow down Jackson who over the last 21 games has 4,262 yards and 46 touchdowns passing, 1552 yards and 9 touchdowns rushing?
“I wish I had the answer to that,” Tomlin said.” “I think I wish the National Football League had the answer to that.”
“We are just going to play to the best of our abilities. We are going to play within our personality. We need to be on the details and need to play fast and collectively. Hopefully that’s enough.”
In the only full game that Jackson played against the Steelers, the Ravens did win a game the Steelers played without Ben Roethlisberger, but Jackson was held to 233 total yards with a fumble and 3 interceptions.
Tomlin believes in the Steelers commitment to defense and quipped, “if they don’t score, we can’t lose”.
That defense faces the ultimate test again and we the viewers are the winners Sunday at 1 on KDKA-TV.
“It’s cool to be in what we believe is the game of the week for the third week in a row,” Tomlin said. “We are humbly honored to be in that. We like to show that respect with how we prepare and ultimately with how we play.”