PITTSBURGH -- It's Ravens Week for the Pittsburgh Steelers, as they inch closer to what has held strong as their most intense game of the season.
Steelers-Ravens continues to hold the AFC North threshold the NFL has set for them, holding strong as one of the league's toughest rivalries throughout history.
This year only increases that intensity. The Steelers currently sit 6-0 as the last remaining unbeaten team in the NFL. The Ravens, only a game behind in the division, hold one loss, falling to the defending Super Bowl champions Kansas City Chiefs.
"It's a fun game," center Maurkice Pouncey said on Friday. "The fans are so into it, the players are so into it. I tell people all the time that it's great for the NFL."
There's a theme to the Zoom interviews during Ravens Week, though. Despite a tough and physical battle between two of the NFL's best, the Steelers and Ravens praise each other with nothing but respect.
"It's tough. It's a physical one, it can be nasty at times," quarterback Ben Roethlisberger said on Wednesday. "But I've always felt, as much as my nose has been broken, we've had injuries, a close game, it's always been football in its truest form in the sense that it's never been dirty, it's never been nasty. It's just been hard-nosed football. This is one you always want your bye week to be after."
Not every moment is perfect within the trenches.
"Whenever you're competing against anyone, there's a certain amount of plays that you feel you went a little bit too hard or you said something that you shouldn't of said," Pouncey said on tension during the game. "There's always a little bit of conflict in that way."
But even Pouncey knows that when everything is said and done, the Pittsburgh Steelers and Baltimore Ravens walk away with praise for the other, knowing they just competed in what might be the toughest battle amongst two sports teams.
"It is a respectable thing," Pouncey said. "The intensity of the whole entire game is the reason why it's such a big rivalry. There's always been big plays in it. It's usually low-scoring games. Usually, the defense prevailed on both sides."