The Baltimore Ravens have known who they will play in their 2023 regular-season finale and where it will take place. When the schedule was released in the spring, it was revealed that they’d host their AFC North archrival Pittsburgh Steelers in Week 18. Hours after their division and No. 1 seed-clinching rout of the Miami Dolphins in Week 17, they know the time and date and fans know which network it’ll be broadcasted on.
Our game vs. the Steelers is set for Saturday at 4:30 p.m. ‼️ pic.twitter.com/mom3IzsaPj— Baltimore Ravens (@Ravens) January 1, 2024
The Ravens and Steelers will be the first of two games on January 6 in a Saturday night double-header that will be played at 4:30 pm Eastern Standard Time broadcasted on both ESPN and ABC. This means that Baltimore will have a quick turnaround for the second week in a row after having just played the San Francisco 49ers last Monday night on Christmas in a game that was nationally televised on ESPN.
While the Ravens don’t have anything to play for in their regular season finale having just locked up the division and home-field advantage throughout the postseason, the Steelers will be fighting to keep their playoff hopes alive. They are coming off back-to-back impressive wins and will be looking to complete a season sweep of the Ravens for the second time in the last three years then will cross their fingers that they’ll get the help they need later that night and on Sunday in hopes of claiming the seventh and final Wildcard spot.
This is the first time that a top-seeded Ravens team could play spoiler and keep a scrappy Steelers team out of the playoffs. The last time they were the No. 1 seed was in the record-breaking 2019 season and they had nothing to play for in their regular season finale that year either. That game also took place at M&T Bank Stadium and despite resting several key starters including their eventual unanimous league MVP-winning quarterback, Lamar Jackson, the Ravens emerged victorious 28-10 to win a franchise-record 14th game to close out the year.
Jackson and several key starters who either missed or left their Week 17 win over the Dolphins will likely get a jump start on resting up ahead of their first-round bye for this game. However, if their backups and reserves showed anything this past Sunday especially in the second half when more starters went down, it was that they’re more than capable of playing winning football against the starters of a quality opponent.
Fourth-year backup signal-caller Tyler Huntley is likely in line to make his 10th career start including the playoffs and first of this season. He has seen extensive action in the second half of the last two seasons for the Ravens in place of an injured Jackson and has a record of 3-5 as a starter. While he won’t have the same complement of weapons that Jackson had during his second MVP season for this game, he is capable of making plays with the available talent at his disposal.
Other starters that will likely sit out this game in addition to Jackson include second-year star safety Kyle Hamilton, veteran guard Kevin Zeitler, third-year starting cornerback Brandon Stephens, and probably three-time Pro Bowlers Marlon Humphrey and Odell Beckham Jr. to name a few.