Week 18 doesn't mean a whole lot for the Baltimore Ravens. When they square off against their bitter rival on Sunday, they won't be at full strenght, but for good reason.
Lamar Jackson will be sitting this one out as the Pittsburgh Steelers watch their playoff hopes hang by a couple of threads. The entire list of inactives hasn't been given yet, either, so the Ravens could choose to sit a few more.
With Jackson sitting out, though, that gives Pittsburgh a fighting chance. The Steelers need to win and they also need a loss by either the Jacksonville Jagaurs (against Tennessee) or the Buffalo Bills (against the Miami Dolphins).
Should Pittsburgh win and either Buffalo or Jacksonville lose, then they're in. It's that simple. And, there is a good chance one of those scenarios happens.
If the Steelers get into the playoffs because of Baltimore's decision, the Ravens better make sure they don't regret this move.
On one hand, it makes sense for the Ravens to sit Jackson. The MVP candidate has been playing out of his mind as of late, and they're going to need him as healthy and fresh as possible once the postseason starts. Pair Jackson's play with the league's top defense in many categories, and the Ravens look like Super Bowl contenders.
But, in the NFL, anything can happen. Should the Ravens be afraid of Pittsburgh if they were to meet in the playoffs? Of course not. But, at the same time, they cannot afford to take a division rival lightly.
Think about it. This is a team you play twice a year, at least. There are many of the same big names on both rosters, and each team has had the same head coach for a very long time. These organizations know each other well.
And, there's that T.J. Watt guy, who has been known to be the one dude who can contain Jackson and make him look human.
Look, I'm not saying to play Jackson. It's the right move to sit him. But, the Ravens are doing their rival a favor, and that could come back to bite them.