Steelers-Ravens Preview

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Coming off an impressive performance against the NFL's top defense, the Pittsburgh Steelers hope to continue riding its hottest offense to a postseason berth.

The banged-up Baltimore Ravens are in the midst of their worst finish in eight years, but sweeping their rivals would go a long way toward alleviating the disappointment.

Seeking their sixth trip to the playoffs in coach Mike Tomlin's nine seasons, the Steelers try to do their part with an 11th straight December win Sunday at M&T Bank Stadium.

Since scoring its season low in a 16-10 loss to Cincinnati in Week 8, Pittsburgh (9-5) has averaged an AFC-best 35.0 points and league-high 474.5 yards while scoring more than 30 in six straight games for the first time in the franchise's 82-year history.

The Steelers had perhaps their biggest win Sunday when Ben Roethlisberger threw for 380 yards and three touchdowns while leading them out of a 17-point hole in a 34-27 home win over Denver. The Broncos came in having avoided allowing over 29 points or 262 passing yards in a game.

Roethlisberger has been a catalyst during this stretch, throwing for an average of 365.8 yards - by far the league's best - to go along with 13 touchdowns. However, he's thrown three interceptions and been sacked five times in his last two games.

The four-time Pro Bowler did not play in a 23-20 overtime loss to the Ravens in Week 4, but threw for six touchdowns Nov. 2, 2014, in his most recent regular-season meeting. He's thrown for three scores and four picks while losing his last three at Baltimore.

Antonio Brown, who leads the NFL with 1,586 receiving yards, totaled 64 receptions, 868 yards and six touchdowns over his last six games. Martavis Bryant has 32 catches and 497 yards in his past five, while Markus Wheaton has a touchdown in three of his last four.

"(Brown is) one of the best receivers in the league and we know we have a challenge," Baltimore safety Kendrick Lewis said. "They, along with Cincinnati, have the best receiving corp that we are going to face this whole season."

Pittsburgh hopes to continue that production as it goes after its fourth straight win while extending a run in December that is tied with Carolina for the longest active streak. The Steelers need a rare road victory in this series and a loss by the New York Jets against New England to secure a postseason berth for the second straight season.

They've dropped nine of their past 12 in Baltimore dating to the 2003 season.

"We are going to continue to control what we can control (and) that's how we play," Tomlin said. "We are excited about that. It's a division game. It's a division road game. We respect all of those elements of the game regardless of scenarios or circumstances."

Pittsburgh's DeAngelo Williams could have a busy day against a Baltimore defense that's given up an average of 124.3 rushing yards over three straight losses. The Ravens also have surrendered 69 points in their last two following a 34-14 home loss to Kansas City in Week 15.

Although cornerback Jimmy Smith could play through a bruised thigh, quarterback Joe Flacco, running back Justin Forsett, receiver Steve Smith and left tackle Eugene Monroe are among the league-high 19 players currently on injured reserve.

The Ravens (4-10) are already assured of their worst season since a 5-11 finish in 2007.

"We're going to keep playing. We're not going to back down," defensive tackle Timmy Jernigan insisted. "They're going to have to take it from us; they're not coming in here and just beating us. We're going to get ready to fight."

Coach John Harbaugh said he might wait until Sunday to announce his starting quarterback. Matt Schaub has missed two games with chest and shoulder injuries, while Ryan Mallett is still learning the offense. Jimmy Clausen has started the past two, throwing for a combined 555 yards with two touchdowns and three interceptions.

Kamar Aiken is making the most of his opportunity and finished with career highs of eight receptions and 128 yards to go along with a touchdown against the Chiefs. He had five catches for 77 yards and a score in the October win at Heinz Field.

Pittsburgh says it has learned from its defensive miscues after allowing Denver to put up 27 points and 295 total yards in the first half. It blanked the Broncos while allowing 90 total yards in the final two quarters, the fewest it has given up in the second half this season.