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Ravens Insider: Ravens vs. Steelers staff picks: Who will win Saturday’s Week 18 game in Baltimore?


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Here’s how The Baltimore Sun sports staff views the outcome of Sunday’s Week 18 game between the Ravens (13-3) and the Pittsburgh Steelers (9-7) at M&T Bank Stadium.

Brian Wacker, reporter

Ravens 17, Steelers 14: No Lamar Jackson, along with some other key starters sitting, means this one will be close. The Steelers need to win to keep their postseason hopes alive, and quarterback Mason Rudolph has been solid the past two weeks, but the weather figures to be sloppy and Baltimore still has enough juice on both sides of the ball to end their division rival’s season after losing to them in October.

Mike Preston, columnist

Steelers, 21, Ravens 18: Despite losing to Pittsburgh, 17-10, earlier this season, the Ravens clearly have the better team, even though the Steelers have won two in a row with Mason Rudolph at quarterback. Ravens coach John Harbaugh said he will start back quarterback Tyler Huntley in place of Lamar Jackson, and he might rest several other players as well because Baltimore has already locked up the top seed in the AFC playoffs. The Ravens will play hard and the team has a lot of depth, but they might not have the intensity or sense of urgency of the Steelers, who need a win and some help to get into the postseason. If the Ravens won, that would not be much of a shocker, but Pittsburgh coach Mike Tomlin is a fighter when his back is against the wall.

Childs Walker, reporter

Steelers 20, Ravens 19: The Ravens would be favored by at least a touchdown if they needed to win this game, but they don’t, and the Steelers will be fired up to keep their season alive. Mason Rudolph has given their offense a jolt, and they’ll move the ball against the Baltimore reserves. The Ravens will keep it close — is it ever not when these teams play? — but won’t sacrifice the greater good to chase victory.

C.J. Doon, editor

Ravens 19, Steelers 17: Tyler Huntley has thrown nine passes this year. Four resulted in a first down, and two of them went for touchdowns. Sure, that came in garbage time of blowout wins, but how many teams can claim a Pro Bowl quarterback under 30 as their backup? The Steelers can with Mitch Trubisky, but Mason Rudolph is starting Saturday after leading the offense to a combined 64 points against the Seahawks and Bengals. The league’s best defense will offer a tougher challenge, even with several top players expected to sit out. In a kicker’s duel between Justin Tucker and Chris Boswell, the Ravens pull the upset.

Tim Schwartz, editor

Steelers 18, Ravens 16: This won’t feel like a usual rivalry game with Lamar Jackson resting and several other Ravens likely to follow suit, but these teams would play a close game on the moon. Mason Rudolph has kept Pittsburgh’s season alive with two stellar starts, but even an undermanned Ravens defense is going to cause problems. The Steelers are playing to win; the Ravens are playing to stay sharp and healthy. That’s too big of a gap in mindsets to pick Baltimore, but it wouldn’t surprise me to see the Ravens pull out a close one. Pride matters, and sending the Steelers off to Cancun’s golf courses has got to be enticing.

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