The Baltimore Ravens are facing the Pittsburgh Steelers on a flexed game one day sooner than they should, making this the second short week in a row for the Flock after playing the Niners on a Monday last week, the Dolphins on Sunday, and now Pitt six days after that.
The Ravens didn't practice on Tuesday but with the game scheduled for Saturday, they already released their initial injury report for Week 18, which is based on estimations, listing as many as 11 players as either missing or limited in practice.
NFL franchises, if you remember, are limited by a 53-man gameday squad, which means the Ravens will face constraints in managing their roster for Saturday's matchup without even considering the fact that they are still deciding whether or not to rest some starters ahead of the playoffs now that they have clinched the No. 1 seed in the AFC (and thus a bye week).
Unlike in the offseason, when teams can utilize a 90-man roster, only 48 players can be active on game days, including an emergency third quarterback.
If just half of the players listed above cannot play on Sunday, that already puts Baltimore at the 48-man figure for their gameday roster, and that doesn't even factor in the possibility of resting players on the injury report such as QB Lamar Jackson.
Key players on the injury list include cornerback Marlon Humphrey and wide receiver Zay Flowers, both suffering from calf injuries and estimated as non-participants. None of the two should risk any setback ahead of the playoffs, although not having them on the field would definitely lower the depth of their positions substantially.
Linebacker Malik Harrison (groin) and defensive back Daryl Worley (shoulder/ankle) were also estimated to be absent on Tuesday, but they're far from key contributors compared to many other starters listed by the Ravens.
Safety Kyle Hamilton (knee), cornerback Brandon Stephens (ankle), and right guard Kevin Zeitler (knee/quadricep) were listed as limited after missing the game against the Dolphins last weekend entirely.
Good news, yes, but perhaps it's better to err on the safe side of things here by ruling all three out for Saturday.
Other injuries also bear some watching, including Patrick Queen's shoulder issues as well as Arthur Maulet's banged-up hip as both have featured prominently of late for the Ravens and would be greatly missed.
The Steelers also released an estimated injury report following a walk-through session on Tuesday. Safety Minkah Fitzpatrick (knee) and inside linebacker Elandon Roberts (pectoral) were listed as not practicing.
Four other players, including RB Najee Harris (knee), DT Cameron Heyward (groin), G Isaac Seumalo (shoulder), and S Trenton Thompson (neck) would have logged limited practices.
Quarterback Kenny Pickett (ankle) participated fully following his recovery from injury, although Pittsbrugh's head coach Mike Tomlin already confirmed on Monday that backup quarterback Mason Rudolph will be the starter for Week 18 against the Ravens.