Two days from now, all the build-up and hype will be over.
It's Ravens-Steelers, and it doesn't get much better.
Sunday night, Baltimore and Pittsburgh will take the field at M&T Bank Stadium and play a game which could very well decide who earns the AFC North title and possibly a first-round bye.
There are still four weeks left in the regular season after this game is behind us, but this contest sure has the feel of a conference championship game. The winner will have the bragging rights and will be set up in good shape near the top of the AFC. The loser will still have some work to do in order to earn a playoff spot.
Here's how the Ravens and Steelers match up statistically going into this crucial matchup:
Ravens: 348.3 (14th)
Steelers: 334.5 (19th)
Ravens: 114.4 (14th)
Steelers: 126.0 (9th)
Ravens: 233 9 (16th)
Steelers: 208.5 (22nd)
Ravens: 307.4 (8th)
Steelers: 304.5 (5th)
Ravens: 101.7 (11th)
Steelers: 64.0 (1st)
Ravens: 205.6 (t-7th)
Steelers: 240.5 (22nd)
Ravens: -2 (t-17th)
Steelers: +11 (t-2nd)
Looking at the above stats, one thing jumps out at me: The difference in the Steelers' passing and rushing defense.
Pittsburgh is traditionally an incredibly tough team to run on, and by no means is that any different this year. The Steelers have only allowed one team to gain more than 75 yards on the ground all season (which is just a ridiculous statistic), and have only seen one running back run for 100 yards in their last 45 games.
That guy just so happened to be Ray Rice, back in Week 16 of last season.
Meanwhile, the Steelers have been surprisingly vulnerable against the pass this season, allowing seven quarterbacks to top 250 passing yards in a game. They've had trouble against teams that spread them out wide and force them to go to nickel and dime packages on early downs, a strategy the Patriots, Saints, and even Bills employed in their games against Pittsburgh.
The Ravens have the personnel to attack the Steelers in that same manner, it's just a matter of how pass-happy offensive coordinator Cam Cameron wants to get.
Offensively for Pittsburgh, having quarterback Ben Roethlisberger back for this matchup obviously gives the Steelers a presence that they didn't have the first time these two teams met this year. We all know Roethlisberger excels at staying on his feet and extending plays, and he's also very accurate on the run.
He's found a chemistry with speedy, big-play wide receiver Mike Wallace (22 yards per catch and eight TDs), and still has the reliable, smiling Hines Ward, who has 40 catches and four touchdowns on the year.
Third-year running back Rashard Mendenhall has really started to come into his own, and he's entering this Sunday's game on a hot streak, rushing for 151 yards last week and having reached the end zone in four of his last five games.
Mendenhall is a physical runner, but talking with members of the Ravens' defense, they weren't aware of how fast the 5-10, 225 pound back was until the Week 4 matchup between these two teams, when Mendenhall posted 79 yards and two touchdowns on the ground.
Overall, I think this will be a tight, hard-fought battle that will come down to the last five minutes of regulation (I'm not going out on much of a limb there, I know), but I see Baltimore coming out on top. Given the Steelers' injuries at offensive tackle - their top two tackles, Willie Colon and Max Starks, are on Injured Reserve - and their issues defending the pass, I think the Ravens have the edge in this one.
Put me down for a 20-17 Ravens win and a sea of happy, purple-clad fans.
How do you see this one turning out? Do you think the Ravens will be able to solve Big Ben for the first time under head coach John Harbaugh and earn the sweep over their arch rivals?
Or do you see the Steelers marching into Charm City and getting the led up in the fight for the AFC North crown?
Who you got?