The Baltimore Ravens have nothing to play for in Week 17 of the NFL season, and as such, they will avoid taking any chances on the football field with some of their best players.
According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, the Ravens are going to be sitting down several star players next week against the Pittsburgh Steelers, including quarterback Lamar Jackson, running back Mark Ingram, safety Earl Thomas, offensive lineman Marshal Yanda and defensive end Brandon Williams.
That’s a good chunk of the team that will not be in action for the Ravens, even as Jackson had maintained he might want to play against the Steelers.
The team is smarter than to let the quarterback do that and risk injury, and that is true for plenty of other players. It will be interesting to see who else the Ravens elect to sit down when all is said and done, but for now, this list will start the week.
This week’s game is vital to the Steelers for their playoff lives, but not so much to the Ravens, who are already in.
Lamar Jackson’s Statistics
Obviously, the headliner on this list is Jackson, and without him, the Ravens will turn to Robert Griffin III. This season, Jackson has been the epitome of a dual threat quarterback and one of the leaders in the next generation of quarterbacks that will make waves in the league. After this week’s game, Jackson has put up 3,127 passing yards and 36 touchdowns through the air. On the ground, he has rumbled for 1,103 yards and 7 touchdowns. As a whole, the Ravens have managed to find the best of Jackson on the field. Arguably, he’s become the most obvious MVP candidate in the league given these type of things.
Since being drafted out of Louisville, Jackson has begun to rewrite the book in the league in terms of what a quarterback is and can be. These numbers and plays only help to prove that in the end.
Obviously, the Ravens will miss Jackson badly. The Steelers won’t, however.
Ravens Clinch Important Bye With Win
With their 31-15 win over the Cleveland Browns, the Ravens have clinched home field advantage for the 2019 playoffs, which is a huge advantage for the team. That means all of the teams will have to come through M&T Bank Stadium if they want to advance in the playoffs.
Now that the Ravens have locked up home field, the focus will become where everyone else will get slotted. Baltimore won’t have to worry about playing a game during the first weekend as they have now clinched themselves a bye week. As the top seed, Baltimore will also get to play the worst remaining seed after the first weekend of the postseason.
All of that could add up to be huge for the Ravens in terms of momentum and could be a significant advantage for the team. Another advantage is having this time to rest and heal for a key player such as Ingram. Safe to say the Ravens will take all the time they can to get him healed up.
Also safe to say the Ravens will use Week 17 as yet another week to squeeze out some rest for their top players.