Ravens could face Steelers in 2009 opener

Posted by ESPN.com's James Walker

This much we know: The Pittsburgh Steelers will open the 2009 season with a marquee Thursday night game in September.

This much is possible: Their Week 1 opponent could be the Baltimore Ravens.

It makes perfect sense. The NFL likes to showcase its Super Bowl champion in the first game of the season in primetime and it will be against a quality opponent.

No team pushed the Steelers last season quite like the Ravens. Pittsburgh won all three meetings in close, physical contests with tons of juicy story lines. The meeting in the AFC Championship only increased its reputation as one of the league's most intense, yet underrated, rivalries in the NFL.

The Steelers have other marquee games on their schedule against playoff teams such as the San Diego Chargers, Miami Dolphins, Tennessee Titans and Minnesota Vikings. A rematch at Heinz Field against the towel-stomping Titans also looks like a solid possibility.

But why not start the year off right by pitting two AFC North rivals in a nationally televised game?