- Pittsburgh (9-7) is a 4-point road favorite over Baltimore (13-3) in the regular season finale
- Tyler Huntley will be making his ninth-career start with John Harbaugh resting his starters in week 18
- Saturday’s matchup kicks off from M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore, MD at 4:30pm ET
With the AFC’s No. 1 seed and a first-round bye all locked up, the Ravens will sit MVP favorite Lamar Jackson against the Steelers. A win over their resting AFC North rivals in week 18 would give Pittsburgh a strong shot to make the playoffs.
Ravens vs Steelers
|Ov 35.5 (-110)
|Un 35.5 (-110)
Mason Rudolph shines
Following consecutive losses to the Cardinals and Patriots, Pittsburgh looked dead and buried in the AFC playoff race. However, turning to journeyman Mason Rudolph has provided the spark they needed. Rudolph passed for 567 yards, two touchdowns and no picks in consecutive wins over the Bengals and Seahawks.
Sitting at 9-7, Mike Tomlin has already secured his 17th-straight winning season in the Steel City. A victory over the Ravens on Saturday, combined with a Bills or Jaguars loss, would put the Steelers in the postseason for the third-time in four years.
Absolutely ma’am I would love to sign your baby! pic.twitter.com/Vz0dsAU5GD
— Pittsburgh Steelers (@steelers) January 1, 2024
Ravens resting starters
Will history repeat itself? Following Lamar Jackson’s 2019 MVP campaign, John Harbaugh decided to sit his star quarterback and six other starters in the regular-season finale. After enjoying a bye week, Baltimore then suffered an ugly 28-12 upset loss to the Titans in the divisional round.
Harbaugh has already announced that Tyler Huntley will start for the Ravens on Saturday. This means that Lamar will have at least a 19-day break in between games before suiting up in playoffs. Still, given that Jackson missed the end of both the 2021 and 2022 seasons because of injuries, taking a safe approach is probably wise.
Baltimore vs Pittsburgh
Pittsburgh is a 4-point road favorite in M&T Bank Stadium on Saturday afternoon with the over/under set at 35.5 points. While the Ravens will be resting starters, they shouldn’t be expected to lay down completely against their AFC North rivals. Tyler Huntley has a 3-5 record as a starter. In his 19 appearances over the past four season, he has 7 TD passes vs 7 interceptions with a 78.9 QB rating.
Riding a six-game winning streak, Baltimore has the No. 1 defense in the NFL, limiting opponents to just 16.4 points per game. However, Rudolph has led the Steelers to their only two 30-point efforts of the campaign, helping ignite sophomore receiver George Pickens (11 receptions, 326 yards and 2 TDs) over the past two games.
NEWS: Pro Bowl QB Tyler Huntley will start for the #Ravens on Saturday.
Lamar Jackson will ride the bench. pic.twitter.com/28NP5eGczU
— MLFootball (@_MLFootball) January 3, 2024
T.J. Watt for DPOY?
T.J. Watt is tied for the league lead with 17 sacks. If the 2021 NFL Defensive Player of the Year gets his Steelers into the playoffs and finishes atop the category, he could leapfrog Myles Garrett and Micah Parsons for the award.
While it’s tough to bank on Mike Tomlin’s team winning by anything more than a field goal, it’s also hard to back a Baltimore squad that won’t be anything close to full strength on Saturday.
We’ll take the Steelers to cover (-4) with the OVER 35.5.
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