On paper, the Ravens look to be in good shape heading into Sunday's AFC North battle with the Steelers. After all, Baltimore brings a three-game lead into the game and could lock the Steelers out of the division with a win.
In addition, even though the Ravens have battled a number of injuries, Pittsburgh's gotten hit with several also, most notably to quarterback Ben Roethlisberger.
But all of that doesn't matter because the rivalry will always be there between these two teams. Some who follow the NFL or work with it think this could be the best rivalry in the NFL, even though it hasn't been in existence nearly as long as others like Bears-Packers and all that.
The Ravens have played the Steelers without Roethlisberger before, and it didn't affect the intensity of the game. It won't change much this weekend, especially because Pittsburgh desperately needs a win.
That could add to the intensity. In addition, the Steelers are coming off a terrible performance in a loss to Cleveland last week, a defeat that might be the most costly of the year. That pushed the Steelers three games behind the Ravens, a big difference from being two games back.
But don't expect the Ravens to overlook the Steelers. They could play flag football in the parking lot, and the intensity would be there. With players like Ray Lewis and Terrell Suggs pushing the defense, it's doubtful the Ravens would let up against a good team.
That's also something that coach John Harbaugh will probably bring up-- although he wouldn't have to do so. The Ravens need this game also in order to keep pace with Houston and stay ahead of Denver and New England and others. Overlooking the Steelers just will never happen.
On Wednesday, February 14, a horrific school shooting claimed the lives of 17 innocent people at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla.
The tragic event impacted people far and wide, and hit especially close to home for Ravens running back Alex Collins.
The former Arkansas star was born in Plantation, Fla., a suburb of Fort Lauderdale and went to high school just 15 miles south of Douglas High School.
In the offseason, Collins took Irish dancing lessons to improve his footwork, and following the act of terror, the Ravens' tailback learned that one of his dance partners had been killed in the mass shooting.
17-year-old Cara Loughran attended The Drake school of Irish Dance with Collins in addition to two other Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School students and was fatally shot by the gunman on Wednesday afternoon.
Collins took to his Twitter account to issue this heartfelt message.
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“The school shooting yesterday hit home,” Collins wrote.
“We received confirmation a few hours ago we lost one of the girls, Cara Loughran. Two other girls saw and experienced unspeakable tragedy. My heart goes out to these girls, all their families and their teacher Chrissy.”
BALTIMORE -- The Baltimore Ravens and Chicago Bears will launch the NFL's 99th season by playing in the annual Hall of Fame game on Aug. 2.
The Ravens' first appearance in the Hall of Fame game, which launches the league's 2018 Enshrinement Week. Former Baltimore linebacker Ray Lewis is among the inductees, along with former Bears linebacker Brian Urlacher.
Lewis, who played 17 seasons with the Ravens, and Urlacher, who played all of his 13 seasons with Chicago, both were elected on the first ballot.
Lewis joins Jonathan Ogden as the only Ravens in the Hall of Fame. Both were selected by Baltimore in the first round of the 1996 draft.
The other members of the Class of 2018 include Bobby Beathard, Robert Brazile, Brian Dawkins, Jerry Kramer, Randy Moss and Terrell Owens. All will be inducted on Saturday, Aug. 4.
This will be the record-tying fifth time that the Bears will play in the Hall of Fame game. They won the previous four, most recently 27-24 over Miami in 2005.
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