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Steelers vs. Ravens Flexed into Week 17 SNF Slot; Replaces Rams vs. Chargers

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured Columnist IVDecember 25, 2022

PITTSBURGH, PA - DECEMBER 11:  T.J. Watt #90 of the Pittsburgh Steelers in action during the game against the Baltimore Ravens at Acrisure Stadium on December 11, 2022 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Joe Sargent/Getty Images)
Joe Sargent/Getty Images

An AFC North rivalry game will take center stage in Week 17.

Tom Pelissero of NFL Network reported the showdown between the Pittsburgh Steelers and Baltimore Ravens on New Year's Day will be moved to the Sunday Night Football slot on NBC. It will replace the scheduled game between the Los Angeles Rams and Los Angeles Chargers, which will shift to 4:25 p.m. ET on CBS.

That a game featuring the Rams is being moved out of primetime comes as no surprise.

While they are the reigning Super Bowl champions, they are 4-10 and playing without Matthew Stafford, Aaron Donald and Cooper Kupp because of injuries. That is hardly a primetime-worthy attraction in the penultimate week of the regular season, even if it is a battle of Los Angeles.

It seemed as if the Steelers were headed to a similar type of season when they got off to a 3-7 start. However, they are 4-1 in the last five and still in the AFC playoff race.

Pittsburgh is one of four 7-8 teams in the AFC that are one game behind the 8-7 Miami Dolphins in the race for the conference's final wild-card spot. The Dolphins have also lost four games in a row with the latest one coming as they blew a 10-point lead in Sunday's loss to the Green Bay Packers.

Baltimore is also fighting for playoff positioning, although it has its eyes on a division crown instead of a wild-card slot. It is 10-5 and one game behind the 11-4 Cincinnati Bengals in the AFC North.

The Ravens also defeated the Bengals in Week 5 and will have a chance to potentially win the division in the Week 18 rematch depending on how Week 17 unfolds.

The status of quarterback Lamar Jackson will be one key storyline for the Sunday Night Football game. He has not played since Dec. 4 because of a knee injury and is considered week-to-week at this point.

That means Baltimore may still have Tyler Huntley under center in what is shaping up to be a critical game.