Two desperate AFC teams face-off with similar goals in mind late in the season.
Where: MT&T Stadium
When: 01.30 (GMT)
Watch live: Click here to watch on NowTV from Sky!
The Pittsburgh Steelers are playing their best football of the season, but are still on the outside of the muddled AFC playoff picture. With a Thanksgiving night visit to the arch-rival Baltimore Ravens, they face a team that’s essentially in the exact same position.
Both AFC North teams are among the half-dozen teams in the conference currently tied for the final wild-card berth, making this game a potentially season-altering contest.
The two teams are tied with Titans, Chargers, Jets and Dolphins for the sixth and final playoff spot in the AFC, though Tennessee would make the cut currently.
The top two tiebreakers for the wild card are head-to-head record and winning percentage within the conference, and with Baltimore having already lost in Pittsburgh, the Ravens may be especially desperate Thursday.
Pittsburgh (5-6) has won three games in a row, all by double-digits. During the stretch, quarterback Ben Roethlisberger has been mostly mistake-free, completing 63.3 percent of his passes while throwing seven touchdowns to just one interception.
Roethlisberger threw for two scores in a 27-11 win at Cleveland in Week 12, but the Steelers’ best performance came from their defense.
The unit had a season-high five sacks, held the Browns to just 55 rushing yards, and cornerback William Gay sealed the win in the fourth quarter with a 21-yard interception return for a touchdown.
The Ravens have been a much better team this season at M&T Bank Stadium. Baltimore is 4-1 at home, allowing just 10.8 points per game in those contests.
The Steelers have won three of their last five visits to Baltimore, though, including a 23-20 win last December with Charlie Batch filling in for an injured Roethlisberger. The Ravens have lost only five of their other 42 home games since 2009.
Though having such an important game on a short week makes for potentially challenging circumstances, the two sides won’t have to go through much new information.