"We wouldn't have it any other way," Webb said.

The high stakes against the Steelers, who are on a three-game winning streak, should only increase the intensity of this traditionally close matchup.

“It’s just the rivalry,” strong safety James Ihedigbo said. “It’s the competitive nature. Every game is always vital to a long-term success and our goals. It’s always going to be close. We expect that it’s going to be a dogfight.”

The Ravens are 4-1 at home this season. And they’ve also defended their territory against the AFC North with wins in eight of their last nine home games against division teams.

The exception to that success: a 23-20 loss to the Steelers on Dec. 2, 2012.

“We’re going into the lion’s den,” Steelers coach Mike Tomlin said. “I think anybody that’s a competitor embraces that.”

The Ravens have gone 5-6 against the Steelers since Harbaugh replaced Brian Billick in 2008, going 2-3 at home to Pittsburgh while losing those games by an average of 3.3 points.

During that span, the Ravens have outscored the Steelers by a narrow margin with an average of 18.5 points per game to the Steelers' 16.5 mark.

Although the Ravens’ season has been largely defined so far by narrow defeats, Leach expressed confidence that a turnaround is still a possibility.

“It’s been the story so far, but everything we still want is still ahead of us,” Leach said. “All of our goals can still be attained and we still control our own destiny. We can change the ending.” 

awilson@baltsun.com

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