The Steelers and Ravens are set to face each other on Thursday night, but after some positive COVID-19 tests, this Thanksgiving game could get postponed.
After securing their 10th straight win to begin the 2020 NFL season, the Pittsburgh Steelers were set to take on the Baltimore Ravens in what should be one of the most anticipated and most matched games of the year. The Steelers are better than anyone expected them to be this season, and they will look to hold onto the number one seed with Kansas City still nipping at their heals at 9-1. Meanwhile, the Ravens have disappointed as of late and look to bounce back in the AFC standings after falling to 6-4 following a loss to the Titans.
Unfortunately, this highly-anticipated contest is subject to postponement. According to an official statement by the Baltimore Ravens, multiple members of the organization have tested positive for COVID-19. This comes just three days before the Ravens and Steelers are set to battle it out under the lights at Heinz Field:
Statement from the Baltimore Ravens: pic.twitter.com/2J3zWytk8i
— Baltimore Ravens (@Ravens) November 23, 2020
As of now, the game has not been rescheduled and the plan is to continue on as normal. However, the Steelers are one of the few teams in the NFL that have already been in this situation before and they know what can happen. Back in Week 4, Pittsburgh was set to take on the Tennessee Titans. However, the game was ultimately postponed after positive COVID-19 tests continued to show up among players and staff members within the Titans organization.
While I don’t want to speculate what will happen, we need to be mindful that there is a chance this game won’t be able to be played on Thanksgiving night. If more Ravens players continue to test positive, this game may be rescheduled for the end of the season.
The Steelers hold an advantage if the game is played on Thanksgiving
While it’s never ideal to have a short week, both teams are coming off 1:00 PM ET games on Sunday. However, the Steelers hold a few advantages against the Ravens if this game is to be played on Thursday. In addition to owning home field advantage this week, Pittsburgh was able to play their defensive starters sparingly in the second half against the Jacksonville Jaguars on Sunday after compiling a 24-point lead in the fourth quarter.
Because of this, essential players like T.J. Watt, Cameron Heyward, Stephon Tuitt, and Bud Dupree were able to get some much-needed rest heading into the short week. Here’s a look at the drop in their playing time last week, according to The Athletic’s Mark Kaboly:
With the Steelers playing on a short week, the DL/OLB were targeted to play fewer snaps against the Jags and they did:
Tuitt: 82% past 4 games to 72% against Jags
Heyward: 88% to 64%
Dupree: 94% to 67%
Watt: 90% go 86%
— Mark Kaboly (@MarkKaboly) November 23, 2020
Meanwhile, the Ravens not only lost a hard-fought battle against the Titans that forced their starters to play until the last minute but their Week 11 game also went into overtime. When you have to play against a 10-0 team just four days later, this isn’t an ideal scenario to be in.
The Ravens have not looked like the same team as of late, and quarterback Lamar Jackson doesn’t exactly look like the same player who won the NFL MVP just a season ago. The Steelers appear to have the upper hand in this contest. Let’s hope the league does not have to reschedule.