10-28-2005, 12:31 AM
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Re: It's Ratbirds Week !!!
Steelers players said the standings mean nothing when the Ravens are on the docket.
"They're going to come to play," tailback Jerome Bettis said. "It's Monday night. The biggest stage of the year. So, they're going to be ready."
Five years ago when the Ravens were on their way to capturing the Super Bowl, they split with a Steelers team that went 9-7 and missed the playoffs. Last year, the Ravens earned the distinction of giving the Steelers their only blemish, despite going 9-7 and missing the postseason.
That's why the double-digit point spread could be misleading.
"This is a real rivalry; it's nothing the media needs to hype," Porter said. "There's a true dislike between both teams, and it can't get any better than that. Cheap shots. Dirty play.
"You can expect everything when you have a Baltimore-Steelers game. It's what it's hyped up to be, and it's going to be like that on Monday night."
Porter believes the rivalry has taken on a life of its own because both teams are cut from the same cloth -- power running and aggressive defense. The Ravens rank No. 2 in defense, six notches above the Steelers.
Not surprisingly, Porter disagreed with the defensive statistics, saying, "They're beating us on paper, but we have a long season to go." He also added that he'll miss seeing Lewis on the field, considering the two have similar personalities and are the emotional leaders of their teams.
"I try to keep the comparison going (when we go head-to-head)," Porter said. "He likes to make plays, and it makes me rise to my level because I want to make just as many plays as he makes.
"So, it keeps the chip on my shoulder to have somebody I'm competing with. It's hard to compete with a guy on defense, but he brings it out of me every time. But the game's going to go on. I'm still going to go out there with a chip on my shoulder and be ready to play."
What should observers expect from this latest installation of the rivalry?
"Expect the unexpected, especially because it's Halloween," Porter said. "All the tricks are going to be out."