PITTSBURGH — Steelers coach Mike Tomlin has experienced the highs and lows of the AFC North rivalry with the Ravens.
Tomlin has also been the center of controversy.
In 2013, Tomlin stood on the field as Baltimore's Jacoby Jones ran past him during a 73-yard kickoff return that could have been a touchdown. Tomlin was fined $100,000 by the NFL for the incident.
The Ravens-Steelers rivalry is full of those unexpected moments. The team's meet again in Week 8 in Baltimore for one of the season's most anticipated matchups.
"You know what the Ravens games are about," Tomlin said. "They are a top-notch organization and football team. They have talent across the board. They're familiar with us. We're familiar with them. There's continuity within schematics and both staffs and core players and things, and I think that's what adds to the intrigue.
"We should anticipate it being a physical and rough-and-tumble game because history tells us that, and how the two teams are playing this year also gives you that indication."
The Steelers enter the game as the NFL's only remaining unbeaten team at 6-0. Nonetheless, Pittsburgh is 4.5-point underdogs.
Baltimore swept the Steelers last year, but the difference this season is the return of quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, who missed much of 2019 with an elbow injury.
"We have respect for the Baltimore Ravens and AFC North football and playing ball in their venue this week," Tomlin said. "We have enough veterans on our team who know and understand that and that history."
While the Ravens are 5-1, they've been inconsistent at times on offense. Baltimore has the NFL's top running attack, but they are ranked 31st with its passing game.
Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson has thrown for 1,135 yards with 10 touchdowns, two interceptions and has already absorbed 15 sacks. The Steelers will counter him with a pass rush that has a league-leading 26 sacks and is also solid in the secondary with cornerbacks Joe Haden and Steve Nelson, along with safety Minkah Fitzpatrick.
A victory will provide Pittsburgh with a further cushion atop the division.
"We're back in the kitchen. It's AFC North ball, and you know we like that," Tomlin said. "We respect it. It's cool to be in, what we believe, is the game of the week for the third week in a row. We're humbly honored to be in that. We like to show that respect by how we prepare and ultimately by how we play."