As the Baltimore Ravens gear up for their final regular-season game, more eyes will be locked into the injury report released by the franchise before and after the Week 18 matchup against the Pittsburgh Steelers. In possession of the No. 1 seed of the AFC and having already earned a bye week, the game has no impact on the Ravens' season anymore.
The Ravens already played in Week 17 against the Dolphins with a banged-up squad including three gametime inactive players in right guard Kevin Zeitler (knee/quad), cornerback Brandon Stephens (ankle), and safety Kyle Hamilton (ankle).
Not only were those out, but they were eventually joined on the sidelines by cornerback Marlon Humphrey (calf), inside linebacker Patrick Queen (shoulder), defensive tackle Michael Pierce (stinger, he returned), and safety Daryl Worley (stinger), per Jeff Zrebiec of The Athletic.
With an ever-growing injury list, the rest will be welcomed but the worries won't be gone until later this month when the status of all injured players gets clearer as we approach Jan. 21st, the day in which the Ravens are scheduled to play their first postseason game.
Ravens head coach John Harbaugh will need to decide whether he wants to rest all, some, or none of their starters for the Week 18 regular-season finale. That's because the last time he did rest players, back in 2019 in a similar situation, the Flock went on to lose their first game in the postseason in what looked like a Super Bowl-bound year.
Lamar Jackson said after the game that he's focusing on the regular season for now and won't move on to think about the playoffs until the game against the Steelers is over. "We have one obstacle," he said. "We have the Steelers next week, so that’s how I’m staying focused this season," Jackson said. It's worth reminding that Lamar was one of the starters benched back in 2019.
On top of the players above, the Ravens are without top playmaker and tight end Mark Andrews, who was placed on Injured Reserve but could return in time for the playoffs according to Harbaugh.
The Ravens will also face another (little but still) challenge thrown their way by the NFL as they will host the Steelers on Saturday in a semi-sort week as the divisional matchup (which has no impact on Baltimore's season but could clinch a postseason berth for Pittsburgh) was scheduled for Saturday instead of Sunday.