When the Ravens and Pittsburgh Steelers clash Sunday night, it will be the final scheduled meeting between the AFC North rivals.
A scheduling quirk has the Ravens wrapping up their annual series with Pittsburgh before having tangled with fellow divisional rivals the Cincinnati Bengals and the Cleveland Browns.
Historically, the Ravens and Steelers have faced each other in December, meeting in the final month of the regular season in nine of the last 10 seasons. The only year over that span the sides did not square off in December was 2006.
But Ravens inside linebacker Ray Lewis said no one should be quick to close the 2011 book on the series.
"One thing we know – and the same thing they know – is at the end of the year, we're going to be the same two teams there seeing each other, one way or another," Lewis said. "From that standpoint, we get them out of the way early, we get them out of the way early. That's the beauty of, I think, their season and our season because then you go ahead and do what you have to do. Just like us, we have to do what we have to do. But to get them out of the way in the first half of the season, why not get it on?"
Pittsburgh coach Mike Tomlin was slightly briefer in his summation of ending the series in the first weekend of November.
"I personally don't care," he said. "I don't make the schedule. We just play it. So whenever they ask us to play people, if they put it on paper, the Steelers will be there."