Pittsburgh Looks like another winter classic in Pittsburgh.
Some NFL rivalries are manufactured. Some ebb and flow depending on the teams’ records. Then there’s Ravens vs. Steelers, one that is as real as it gets. The games usually are meaningful, with an intensity that isn’t faked and a physicality that caused Pittsburgh wide receiver Hines Ward to label it the Black and Blue Bowl.
The eighth meeting in three seasons between AFC North rivals that are very much alike in makeup and personality will leave the winner one victory short of the Super Bowl. The survivor of today’s AFC divisional game meets the winner of Sunday’s Jets-Patriots game in the AFC championship game on Jan. 23.
Yes, another big Ravens-Steelers game, only a month and 10 days since the last. Yet many in Baltimore and Pittsburgh couldn’t wait for it.
“Both sides know when the whistle blows, you’re going to get what we got and we’re going to get what they got,” said Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis, whose renowned nastiness fits perfectly into a rivalry where emotions run high and scores run low. “So, once again — I love to use this — here we go again.”
Falcons to take on Packers
Atlanta — Bart Starr. Lambeau Field. Ray Nitschke. Heck, they even named the Super Bowl trophy after Green Bay’s most famous coach.
Yep, the Packers are just oozing with tradition. The Atlanta Falcons? Not so much.
But the Falcons (13-3) are the top seed in the NFC playoffs heading into tonight’s divisional game against Green Bay (11-6). Atlanta merely needs to win two more games to reach the Super Bowl for only the second time in franchise history. Both would be at the Georgia Dome, where the team is 20-4 over the last three seasons.
Up first, Atlanta will have to get by a franchise with a much more impressive resume over the long haul. The Packers have won a record 12 NFL titles, compared to zero for the Falcons. Green Bay has 21 Hall of Famers. The Falcons have none.