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Ravens aiming to avoid being swept by Steelers for the first time since 2008

Pittsburgh Steelers v Baltimore Ravens Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images

The Baltimore Ravens have not been swept by their arch rival Steelers since 2008. As many will remember, Joe Flacco was a rookie and John Harbaugh a first year head coach in 2008. Pittsburgh pulled off the elusive three game sweep, with a 23-20 overtime win and 13-9 victory in the regular season, followed by a 23-14 win in the AFC Championship game.

The Ravens have managed to at least split the annual two game series every year since. They were on the right side of an overtime win but lost the second leg by a field goal in 2009. 2010 also saw three meetings between these foes, with the Steelers taking two of three including a 31-24 win in the divisional round of the playoffs.

Baltimore exacted their revenge with a 35-7 drubbing in Week 1 of 2011. That game featured plenty of action after the whistle and the Ravens have fared reasonably well against the Steelers ever since. They went on to sweep Pittsburgh in 2011 before splitting the series in each of the next two seasons.

The teams met again in the 2014 postseason, the Ravens went on the road and finally defeated the Steelers in the playoffs. Baltimore earned another regular season sweep the following year. The second meeting proved the competitiveness of the rivalry as the injury decimated Ravens beat the playoff bound Steelers with Ryan Mallett under center.

Last year the Ravens won the first meeting by a touchdown at home before losing a Christmas day game late in the fourth quarter. The loss essentially knocked them out the of the playoffs. And in Week 4 of this season, Pittsburgh won in Baltimore for the first time since 2012 by an impressive 17 point margin.

So here we are, with the Ravens hoping to avoid a season sweep in Pittsburgh on Sunday night football. Both sides are basically locked in to the playoffs, with Pittsburgh expected to win the division and Baltimore almost assured of a wild card spot. Nevertheless, the result will impact postseason seeding at a minimum.

Can the Ravens keep pace with the Steelers explosive offense? Probably not, they will likely have to rely on their opportunistic defense and superior special teams to make impact plays. No matter the outcome, the game will produce some memorable moments. Buckle up for another installment of the greatest rivalry in professional football.