It’s official, the road to the Super Bowl runs through Baltimore. The Ravens clinched the top seed in the American Football Conference for the first time in team history on Sunday and tied a franchise-best, 13 wins in a single season. The Ravens could shoot for the franchise record 14 wins with an all-out effort against the Steelers this Sunday, but Baltimore would rather not risk injuries.
Ravens head coach John Harbaugh announced in Monday’s press conference that he planned to sit many of Baltimore’s starters. Lamar Jackson, Mark Ingram, Earl Thomas, Marshal Yanda, and Brandon Williams are all officially ruled out for the game, and other starters could be added to the list later this week. Harbaugh noted that defensive back Brandon Carr will play. The veteran cornerback turned safety made it clear he wants to stay. Sitting would end his career-long streak of starting every week.
Without Lamar Jackson commanding the offense, Robert Griffin III will make his first start since 2016. He may not be the only Ravens quarterback to play on Sunday though, as John Harbaugh said the team is considering whether or not to play rookie third-string quarterback, Trace McSorely. The Ravens drafted McSorely in the sixth round of this year’s draft. As the third quarterback on the depth chart, McSorely faced an uphill battle to make the Ravens initial 53-man roster. McSorely’s impressive performance in the preseason cemented his place on the roster.
The players sitting will get an extra three weeks of rest until the divisional round home game. Players like Mark Ingram, Mark Andrews, and Marcus Peters could all use the rest, as the Ravens got banged up against the Browns. None of the injuries appear serious, but the extra rest will surely help the Ravens to be as close to 100% as they can to start the playoffs.