The Rivalry: Ravens looking for rare sweep

October, 31, 2011
10/31/11
2:00
PM ET
All week, the AFC North blog will feature match-ups, trends and news leading up to the biggest rivalry in the NFL -- Ravens at Steelers on Sunday night.

PITTSBURGH -- The Ravens could gain a big tiebreaker advantage over the Steelers if they can pull off the sweep of Pittsburgh on Sunday. Of course, winning both regular-season meetings with the AFC North rival has been rare.

The Ravens have swept the Steelers only once in this hard-hitting rivalry, beating Pittsburgh twice in 2006 (which just happens to be the last time the Ravens won the AFC North). If the Ravens can defeat the Steelers, they will take a half-game lead over Pittsburgh in the standings and force the Steelers to finish with a better record to finish above them.

Sweeps have been elusive for both teams. The Steelers have done it twice over the previous 12 seasons.

So why has it been so tough for the Ravens and Steelers to sweep each other? Maybe they can't stand seeing a repeat celebration by their rival.

Asked if the season-opening loss to the Ravens has left a bad taste in the mouth, Steelers safety Ryan Clark said Sunday, "Not as much as the dancing and the party they threw when they beat us."

Minutes after the Steelers beat the Patriots, wide receiver Mike Wallace said the attention had already turned to the Ravens. "We're focused right now," he said. "I will tell you right now that I'm not going out. I'm going home and locking in. I'm getting ready for next week. I don't care about nothing else but beating the Baltimore Ravens next week."

Jamison Hensley

ESPN Ravens reporter

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