There's a lot of chatter that comes with the Ravens-Steelers rivalry. The trash talk is part of what makes the matchups between the teams so great, along with the bone-jarring hits and consistently close games.
Steelers Pro Bowl defensive tackle Casey Hampton says that the bulk of the chatter leading up to and during the games between the division rivals comes from the Ravens' side.
Why does Hampton think that's the case? Because, he says, the Ravens have to talk trash to make themselves believe that they can compete with the Steelers.
"They talk a whole lot," Hampton told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. "They don't like us. I think they don't like us a lot more than we don't like them. I think they have to talk themselves into it, kind of, know what I mean? Since I've been here, we've beat them a lot more than they beat us. They have to talk about it a whole lot."
The Steelers are 14-9 against Baltimore since Hampton's first NFL season back in 2001, including a 3-0 mark in the postseason. That record has been more skewed in the Steelers' direction since 2008, as Pittsburgh has won six of the eight meetings between the two teams over the last three seasons, including both playoff games.
Last season, the Ravens held a fourth-quarter lead over the Steelers during the Dec. 5 game at M&T Bank Stadium before losing late in regulation after Troy Polamalu's strip sack of Joe Flacco and Isaac Redman's touchdown reception. In the divisional round of the playoffs, Baltimore had a 14-point halftime lead, but Pittsburgh chipped away and earned a 31-24 win.
It's the manner in which the Steelers have won those games which makes Hampton feel the Steelers have a bit of an edge over their arch rivals.
"It seems like they always have us beat and we always end up beating them, and they always feel like they should have won." Hampton said. "That's what makes it so sweeter. At the end of the day, if you win you win, no matter how you get it done. We have two physical teams that kind of play similar styles. We just seem to come out on the winning end more."
Hampton also feels the Steelers' big-play potential on offense, with quarterback Ben Roethlisberger and speedy wide receivers Mike Wallace and Antonio Brown, gives them another advantage over their opponent in Sunday's regular season opener.
"I think our defenses are similar, but I think our offense can score a lot of points," Hampton said. "I think that's kind of been the difference, our offense being able to score points at crunch time. They got a really good offense running the ball, but I think our passing game, being able to pass the ball, I think that's kind of (been the difference) the last few times we played them."