The Baltimore Ravens are going to the playoffs. It's quite the achievement for a team that has not had the services of star quarterback Lamar Jackson since December 5. The Ravens have actually done quite well with Tyler Huntley at QB. They won three of their last four games, including their latest victory over the Atlanta Falcons in Week 16. Now they will try to build on that by beating division rivals the Pittsburgh Steelers at home in Week 17. At 10-5, the Ravens can still win their division and even potentially move up to third or second seed in the AFC. Now let's look at our Ravens Week 17 predictions as they take on the Steelers.
The rivalry between the Ravens and Steelers is one of the most storied in the league. In the past, these teams have always given it their all, and the games are usually decided by just a single score. This year, the Ravens are trying to do something even more special. If they beat Pittsburgh in Week 17, that will break Mike Tomlin's streak of seasons with a winning record.
The Ravens have been relying heavily on their defense in recent weeks due to the absence of their former MVP quarterback, Lamar Jackson. Recall that he suffered a knee injury in Week 13 and has not played or practiced since. Instead, backup Tyler Huntley has taken over, similar to how he finished the season last year when Jackson was injured.
The Ravens have a 3-1 record in the four games without Jackson, with wins against the Denver Broncos, Atlanta Falcons, and interestingly enough, the Steelers (Week 14). However, the offense has struggled without Jackson. Keep in mind that they have scored 20 or more points in nine of the 11 games he played in, but have not scored more than 17 without him.
With all these in mind, here are our four bold predictions for the Ravens in their Week 17 game against the Steelers.
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4. Run, Ravens, Run!
The return of RBs JK Dobbins and Gus Edwards has allowed the Ravens to rely on their rushing attack to control the game. In their recent win over the Atlanta Falcons, the Ravens relied on their ground game, as they have often done during the Lamar Jackson era.
Dobbins was limited to 59 yards in that game, but he still had 12 carries and has been a key part of the offense with at least 10 touches in three consecutive games. This week, Dobbins faces a tough matchup against the Steelers defense, but he is likely to see a lot of action again. Put him up for 60+ yards here.
"Before the scope, I was like 70%. Now I'm probably in the 90's. I've just got to get that last little bit, which comes with time and strengthening."
— Baltimore Ravens (@Ravens) December 29, 2022
Meanwhile, Gus Edwards had 11 carries for 99 yards against the Falcons and seems to be a key part of the Ravens' rushing attack. We expect him to have 8-12 carries this week and 60+ yards against the Steelers as well.
3. Mark Andrews finds the endzone
There has been a drop in efficiency for All-Pro tight end Mark Andrews. As such, the Ravens have once again relied on their running game more than most other teams.
Andrews had a mediocre outing in last week's game against the Falcons, catching three of his five targets for only 45 yards. He also hasn't scored a touchdown since October. This has been a by-product of the Baltimore offense struggling with Tyler Huntley at quarterback.
Despite his recent struggles, Andrews has a favorable matchup this week against the Steelers. Even though his performances have been underwhelming in recent months, Andrews should put up 70+ yards and a touchdown here.
2. Tyler Huntley starts in place of Lamar Jackson again
On Wednesday, the Ravens released their first injury report for the upcoming game against the Steelers. Quarterback Lamar Jackson was among those who did not participate in practice. If Jackson is unable to play in Week 17, Tyler Huntley will continue to start in his place.
Huntley has had mixed results in his four appearances, posting wins in three of them. However, he had a difficult outing last week against the Falcons. Huntley threw for only 115 yards and had just a 52.9 completion percentage. He also rushed for 26 yards on 11 attempts.
Huntley has struggled to produce offensively in relief of Jackson, likely due to a lack of healthy targets. He has just not been efficient in throwing the ball. Also, his rushing production has not been enough to compensate for it. In his three full starts, Huntley has rushed for at least 15 yards. However, he has never thrown for more than 187 yards in a game and has only scored one passing touchdown.
His prospects for this game should be a bit better, but we still have him putting up 160+ yards total.
1. Ravens fall to the Steelers in a close one
The Steelers may be motivated to play well in this final stretch due to the recent passing of their great player Franco Harris. Meanwhile, the Ravens have already secured a playoff seed. However, they likely won't maintain the highest wildcard seed or catch up to the Bengals in the AFC North.
In the first meeting between these teams, the Ravens won 16-14 despite rushing for only 94 yards. Three Pittsburgh turnovers helped Baltimore secure that win.
The Steelers will focus on avoiding turnovers and finding success with RB Najee Harris. That will give them a good chance of winning and bringing their record to .500. However, the Steelers offensive line has been a weakness all season. That is something the Ravens should exploit. It is unlikely to be a blowout, but the Ravens are likely to win their 11th game in Week 17.