PITTSBURGH — The Pittsburgh Steelers still have slim hopes of making it to the 2022 NFL playoffs as the team enters its Week 17 divisional showdown with the Baltimore Ravens.
But that tiny carrot of potentially playing in the postseason doesn’t do much for motivation when the team is already raring to go to get another shot at the Ravens after being embarrassed in Week 14.
Down to their third-string quarterback, the Ravens still managed 215 rushing yards in a two-point victory at Acrisure Stadium on Dec. 11.
“We did a lot of good things, but there’s some things we needed to improve on,” free safety Minkah Fitzpatrick said on Monday. “Definitely smashing the run is one of the things we didn’t do well that game. We’ve been doing a good job of that the last couple of weeks. We’ve just got to carry over some weeks to this game.”
The Steelers did shut down the Carolina Panthers and NFL leading rusher Josh Jacobs of the Las Vegas Raiders over the following two weeks. And while those wins have them still eligible for the postseason tournament, none of that will matter if they don’t take care of business against the Ravens on Sunday.
A motivated Steelers team heading into Baltimore for a January football game? That’s must-see-TV, and the NFL acknowledged that by moving the game to Sunday Night Football.
“It’s Baltimore versus Pittsburgh,” Fitzpatrick said. “You saw how the first game went. A physical game, a low-scoring game, two great defenses, great running offenses on both sides of the ball. It’s something that people like to watch.”
The Steelers want to play in it, too. Even if they don’t make the playoffs, getting right against Baltimore will pay dividends in the future.
Nick Farabaugh provided reporting from Pittsburgh.