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Pittsburgh Steelers vs. Baltimore Ravens Preview and Predictions 12-29-2019

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The battle between rivals Baltimore and Pittsburgh in the regular season finale lost a little luster when the Ravens announced that several starters would sit the game out with the team having already clinched the No. 1 seed in the AFC playoffs. The Steelers still have a chance to clinch a wild-card spot and will try to take advantage of the absences when they visit Baltimore on Sunday.

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The Ravens will keep quarterback and MVP candidate Lamar Jackson on the sidelines along with running back Mark Ingram II, guard Marshall Yanda, safety Earl Thomas, defensive tackle Brandon Williams and others, but the team still intends to go for the win. "It's a rivalry game. It's the Steelers," Baltimore coach John Harbaugh told reporters. "They have everything to play for. We recognize that, and we'll be looking to put our absolute best foot forward and play our best football game with the guys that we'll be playing with." The Steelers surrendered control of their own destiny when they suffered a 16-10 loss to the New York Jets last week and now need a win and some help to earn a wild-card spot. "We're hoping and wishing again, like last year," Pittsburgh linebacker Bud Dupree told reporters. "Waiting on guys to lose. We just shouldn't be in that situation. We had opportunities early in the season. ... Even with all the adversity we've been through the whole year, we still had control of our own destiny. And we failed that."

TV: 4:25 p.m. ET, CBS. LINE: Steelers -2 O/U: 38

ABOUT THE STEELERS (8-7): Pittsburgh will give Devlin "Duck" Hodges another start at quarterback on Sunday after Mason Rudolph was placed on injured reserve with a shoulder injury. Hodges got the start against the Jets last week but was pulled in favor of Rudolph in the second quarter due to ineffectiveness and owns one touchdown pass and six interceptions over the last two games. "We have to take care of the football," Steelers coach Mike Tomlin told reporters. "You can make a bad decision but a ridiculously awesome throw, and (the decision) is irrelevant. I mean that in all sincerity. We have to take care of the football and some of that minutiae is less important, about intentions relative to performance."

ABOUT THE RAVENS (13-2): Baltimore is balancing rest versus rust in its decision to sit key players and didn't have to think long about the choice to sit Jackson and others. "It's not a hard decision really, if you sit back and think about it," Harbaugh told reporters. "It's a solid decision. ... There's a strong case to be made either way. I really recognize the other side of it. I think like it's a fair and valid case and it's real. You just got to balance it out between two good choices really." Robert Griffin III will take over for Jackson at quarterback while Ingram, who suffered a calf injury in last week's 31-15 triumph at Cleveland, will make use of two straight weeks off and vows to be ready for the postseason.

EXTRA POINTS

1. Ravens RB Gus Edwards is expected to start in place of Ingram.

2. Steelers C Maurkice Pouncey (knee) is not expected to play while RB James Conner (quad) is doubtful.

3. Baltimore earned a 26-23 overtime win at Pittsburgh on Oct. 6.

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Stadium

M&T Bank Stadium
Baltimore, Maryland, USA.
Capacity: 71,008

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Last Injuries

Baltimore Ravens

  • Ronnie Stanley

    Ankle
    Prob Mon | probable

    Stanley left the previous game with an ankle injury, but he is expected to take part in Monday's battle against the Chiefs.

  • Anthony Levine Sr.

    Abdominal
    Prob Mon | probable

    Levine Sr. has an abdominal injury, but he is likely to play against the Chiefs on Monday.

  • Chris Moore

    Finger
    Out Mon | out

    Moore has missed the past two games due to a broken finger, and he will not be available versus the Chiefs on Monday.

  • D.J. Fluker

    Shoulder
    Prob Mon | probable

    Fluker is saddled with a shoulder injury, but he is projected to be in Monday's lineup versus the Chiefs.

  • Justin Madubuike

    Knee
    Out Mon | out

    Madubuike has sat out the previous two games with a knee injury. He will not return to the fold Monday versus the Chiefs.

  • Justice Hill

    Thigh
    Out Mon | out

    Hill has been held out the last two games with a thigh injury, and he will not suit up against the Chiefs on Monday.

  • Tavon Young

    Knee
    I-R | I-R

    Young has been added to the injured reserve list due to a torn ACL in his left knee.

  • Ronnie Stanley

    Hip
    Prob Sun | probable

    Stanley left the last game with a hip injury, but it is unlikely to affect his status for Sunday's clash against the Texans.

Pittsburgh Steelers

  • Derek Watt

    Hamstring
    Out indefinitely | out

    Watt sustained a Grade 2 hamstring pull and will miss an undetermined length of time.

  • Diontae Johnson

    Concussion
    day-to-day | questionable

    Johnson left the last game to be evaluated for a concussion and his status for Week 4 against the Titans is in question.

  • David DeCastro

    Knee
    Prob Sun | probable

    DeCastro has sat out the previous two games with a knee injury, but it is likely that he will play against the Texans on Sunday.

  • Bud Dupree

    Shoulder
    Prob Sun | probable

    Dupree has a shoulder injury, but it is anticipated that he will play Sunday versus the Texans.

  • Tyson Alualu

    Knee
    Prob Sun | probable

    Alualu is tending to a knee injury, but he is expected to face the Texans on Sunday.

  • Diontae Johnson

    Toe
    Prob Sun | probable

    Johnson is managing a toe injury, but it is likely that he will line up against the Texans on Sunday.

  • JuJu Smith-Schuster

    Knee
    Prob Sun | probable

    Smith-Schuster is bothered by a knee injury, but it is projected that he will take the field Sunday versus the Texans.

  • Stefen Wisniewski

    Pectoral
    Out indefinitely | I-R

    Wisniewski has hit the injured reserve list with a pectoral injury, and there is no timetable for return.