The Ravens and Steelers were originally supposed to play on Thanksgiving evening, but Baltimore’s COVID-19 outbreak forced the NFL to move the game to Sunday. The game was then pushed back to Tuesday after more positive tests, including one for Lamar Jackson.
John Harbaugh and the Ravens are going to be heavy underdogs against the Steelers, who are the only undefeated team in the NFL. Not only is Baltimore going to be without Jackson, Mark Andrews, Mark Ingram, J.K. Dobbins and Willie Snead, but the team will be starting a reserve center since Matt Skura has COVID-19 as well.
Let’s take a look at four bold predictions for the contest from a Ravens point of view, assuming this game actually gets played on Tuesday night.
1. Robert Griffin III throws one touchdown, two interceptions
With Jackson out, former Heisman Trophy winner Robert Griffin III will start for the Ravens at quarterback. RG3 is 16-25 as a starter in the NFL with the Washington Football Team, Cleveland Browns and Ravens. He has thrown for 9,238 yards and 43 touchdowns in his career.
Against the Steelers, we have Griffin tossing one touchdown and getting picked off twice. He’s facing a really good Steelers defense, so it’s going to be tough sledding. Pittsburgh has the No. 1 scoring defense in the NFL right now with only 17.4 points per game allowed. The team also has 15 interceptions on the season, led by Minkah Fitzpatrick’s four.
The last time Griffin faced the Steelers was last season. He only threw for 96 yards and had one interception, but the Ravens won the game by a final score of 28-10. While Griffin is a veteran quarterback who knows Baltimore’s system very well, we just can’t see the former Pro Bowler having success against the Steelers, who are playing lights out football on defense.
2. Ravens allow Chase Claypool to score two touchdowns
When the Ravens and Steelers met back on Nov. 1, Pittsburgh earned a 28-24 victory. Steelers rookie wideout Chase Claypool, who could win Offensive Rookie of the Year, caught five balls for 42 yards and one touchdown. He has 39 receptions on the season for 559 yards and eight touchdowns. Claypool hasn’t looked like a rookie at all and already has a tremendous rapport with Ben Roethlisberger.
Even though the Ravens have a great defense, we have Claypool scoring two touchdowns against Baltimore. This Steelers offense is clicking on all cylinders at the moment. The Ravens, unfortunately, are going to have a hard time planning for Roethlisberger and Claypool due to the team’s COVID-19 outbreak.
While Baltimore does have an elite pass defense, Roethlisberger and Claypool have shown all season there is no secondary they are afraid of. Look for Claypool to run free all game long on Tuesday and cement himself as the best rookie wide receiver in the NFL in 2020.
3. Marquise Brown catches one touchdown
A few weeks ago, Marquise Brown took to social media to complain about his lack of touches on offense. Not much has changed since the tweet, as Brown has just 32 receptions on the season for 431 yards and two touchdowns.
However, since the Ravens are going to be without so much firepower on offense, Griffin is going to have to rely on Brown a lot against the Steelers.
With that being said, we have Brown scoring a touchdown versus the Steelers for his first score since Week 8. Ironically, the last time Brown got into the end zone was against Pittsburgh. He caught a short touchdown pass from Jackson, but actually voiced his frustrations about his role on offense after that game.
Week 12 is the perfect contest for Brown to have a breakout performance.
4. Ravens lose to Steelers, drop to 6-5
We have the Ravens losing to the Steelers in Week 12 and dropping to 6-5 on the season. It’s just hard to imagine Griffin leading the team to an upset win over an undefeated Pittsburgh team without so many key players in the lineup.
COVID-19 forced the Ravens to cancel Monday’s practice at the last minute, meaning the Griffin-led offense is going to be even more out of sync than normal. Even though Harbaugh is a good coach and won’t make excuses for this game, it’s going to be nearly impossible for the one-time Super Bowl champion and his coaching staff to come up with a game plan and expect his players to execute it after basically zero practice time.