There will be no fourth postponement of the Week 12 battle between the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Baltimore Ravens, but it won't be a full roster on either side. The matchup was initially set to take place on Thanksgiving evening, but a COVID-19 breakout within the Ravens organization forced a postponement to Sunday, that then changed to Tuesday and , with Baltimore having now yielded zero positive tests for the first time in 10 days. That's the good news, but the Steelers suffered one final blow only hours ahead of kickoff that could benefit the Ravens in a big way.
Maurkice Pouncey, the Steelers' eight-time Pro Bowl center, has been ruled out of this pivotal AFC North clash -- moved to the reserve/COVID-19 list only hours ahead of kickoff, the team announced. This is a significant blow for Mike Tomlin's offense, made worse by the fact they'll also be without running back James Conner. Defensively, they'll be absent dynamic pass rusher Stephon Tuitt, also on the COVID list and serving a quarantine away from the team.
In a game that will likely determine playoff seeding for multiple teams, neither the Steelers nor Ravens fielding whole rosters will make an already interesting contest that much more so.
It'll be Robert Griffin, III starting for the Ravens with reigning Super Bowl MVP Lamar Jackson on the COVID list, joining a slew of key players that include running back Mark Ingram, defensive end Calais Campbell, linebacker Matthew Judon, tight end Mark Andrews, wide receiver Willie Snead and more. All told, the Ravens are taking the field with 16 players sidelined due to COVID-19 protocol, but not everyone on the list even remotely equates to what Pouncey means to the Steelers front. His absence will impact quarterback Ben Roethlisberger in a major way, as well as the run game on the whole.
It's indeed a drastically fractured and severely postponed contest set to kickoff on Wednesday, but it is finally a go.