Dec 30, 2022, 11:00:31 PMyebscore

Still no Lamar Jackson as playoff-bound Ravens welcome Steelers

Another week, another game Lamar Jackson will watch from the sidelines. The former league MVP was ruled out for a fourth straight game and Tyler Huntley will start at quarterback for the Baltimore Ravens when they host the Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday night. Ravens coach John Harbaugh has said he's optimistic Jackson will play again this season, but Jackson has missed 12 straight practices since spraining the posterior cruciate ligament in his left knee during Baltimore's 10-9 win over the Denver Broncos on Dec. 4. The hope was that Jackson would return for the season's first matchup with Pittsburgh the following week, but Huntley has been the starter ever since. The Baltimore offense has been a mere imitation of itself without Jackson providing electrifying runs and the occasional deep throw. The Ravens (10-5) have averaged just 11.5 points per game over the past four games, though they won three of those contests to seal an AFC playoff berth. "To clinch the playoffs with two games left is pretty remarkable. It's not something that's done too often," Harbaugh said. In a 17-9 home win over the Atlanta Falcons last week, Baltimore had 184 rushing yards -- 99 from Gus Edwards -- three short field goals from Justin Tucker and a defensive effort that kept the Falcons out of the end zone. However, if the Ravens are to do anything besides just making a playoff appearance, they probably will need Jackson on the field. Huntley has averaged less than 9 yards on his 61 completions, and his touchdown pass last week was his first in 91 attempts this season. Meanwhile, the Steelers (7-8) remain alive in the playoff hunt entering Sunday but could be eliminated from playoff contention before kickoff if Miami wins at New England. Still, the opportunity to beat their archrival would provide enough motivation in case postseason hopes are snuffed out. The Steelers are trying to finish on a high note and avoid a rare sub-.500 season. They rallied late on Christmas Eve to top the host Las Vegas Raiders 13-10 as rookie quarterback Kenny Pickett found fellow rookie George Pickens for a 14-yard touchdown pass with 46 seconds left. It was the fifth win in seven games for Pittsburgh, which has only lost to the AFC North-leading Cincinnati Bengals and Baltimore in that span. Pickett missed most of the Baltimore game after sustaining a first-quarter concussion as the result of a hit from Ravens linebacker Roquan Smith. Defense has fueled the late-season surge. The Steelers, who last finished a season with a losing record in 2003, have allowed just 17.4 points per game in the past seven contests, and that includes allowing 37 to Joe Burrow and Cincinnati on Nov. 20. "We're still in the hunt," said defensive lineman Cam Heyward, the reigning AFC Defensive Player of the Week after collecting seven tackles, three tackles for loss, two sacks and one pass defended against the Raiders. "I like to think we just keep getting better and better as the weeks go on." Ravens cornerback Marcus Peters (calf) was ruled out for a second straight game. Defensive end Calais Campbell (knee), tight end Nick Boyle (illness) and safety Geno Stone (hamstring) are questionable. For the Steelers, only defensive back Tre Norwood (hamstring) was ruled out. Linebacker Myles Jack (groin) and defensive lineman Larry Ogunjobi (toe) are questionable. --Field Level Media