For the third time in a decade, the Ratbirds will visit Heinz Field in the playoffs. The Ravens lost the first two postseason meetings. The first ended Baltimore's only reign as champions. The second denied them a trip to the Super Bowl. A third defeat might signal an ignominious end to the careers of possibly Derrick Mason and Ed Reed, if not others.
Of course, the Ravens won their game in Pittsburgh in the regular season, albeit with the significant caveat that the Steelers were without the quarterback who has not lost to the Ravens since 2006. But of course, these things always have a way of ending close. After weeks of mostly uninspired play, the Ravens looked good in Kansas City and didn't appear to sustain any injuries that might constrain them the following week.
It'll be a nerve-racking week in advance of next Saturday afternoon, but improving to 3-0 over the Ravens in the playoffs would be a glorious triumph. It might be the highest tension of the opponents the Steelers could have gotten out of the first round, but I think we all knew it was coming. Then again, it also has the highest ceiling of satisfaction with a win. And as we've seen, the Steelers have found ways to do just that against Bawlmer.