NFL football on a Saturday for Week 18 features two games. A clash between the visiting Pittsburgh Steelers and the Baltimore Ravens, plus the Houston Texans visit the Indianapolis Colts.
This is an open thread for game chat.
Below some of the BTB staff made game picks using Tallysight. Check them out and the explanation for the picks.
Dave Halprin: Steelers/Ravens - This is the classic situation of one team resting for the playoffs while the other is desperately trying to make the playoffs. With Lamar Jackson and Co. resting, the Steelers get a win by four points.
Texans/Colts - C.J. Stroud has done wonders for the Texans along with coach DeMeco Ryans. But the Colts are also a nice story for 2023 that people overlook. Take the Colts at home by seven.
Tom Ryle: Steelers/Ravens - I hate games where the better team has no true incentive to win, and the other does. Will the Ravens sit Lamar Jackson and other starters? That seems the smart play, and if they do, the Steelers have to see this as a major opportunity to keep their playoff hopes alive. I think Baltimore will play the long game and let their backups handle things, keeping Pittsburgh’s hopes alive for at least one more day.
Texans/Colts - The Texans are one of the feel good stories this year with their turnaround from 2022. I think they are actually a year away from being a real problem in the playoffs, but that does not mean at all that they are not deserving in a year where there are few really good teams at the top of either conference. I think they battle to a narrow win and leapfrog the Colts for the seventh seed.
David Howman: Steelers/Ravens - This is a tough one to pick due to the Ravens resting their starters. The Steelers will be playing their starters in a must win game, but Baltimore has pretty good depth and are well coached. I still like the Steelers in this one, but I think it’ll be close, something along the lines of 24-20.
Texans/Colts - I’m really excited for this one, as it should be extremely close. Picking this game is basically a coin toss, given how even these teams seem, but I’m siding with the better quarterback. I’ll take Houston winning 35-31.
Matt Holleran: Steelers/Ravens - Even though the Ravens seem to be resting most of their starters in this game, I still don’t trust Pittsburgh’s offense enough to pick them to win. Tyler Huntley is a more than capable backup quarterback and the Ravens’ defense, even with backups in, will be able to hold Pittsburgh in check. Give me the Ravens, 20-16.
Texans/Colts - This has a chance to be the best game of the week. If Anthony Richardson was healthy this would be an even better matchup, but C.J. Stroud trying to lead Houston to the playoffs will be exciting nonetheless. Stroud has had an outstanding season, but I think Houston’s magical year comes to an end on Saturday night. The Colts lean on their run game and defense and win a low-scoring matchup. Give me the Colts, 23-20.
Brian Martin: Steelers/Ravens - Even if the Ravens rest the majority of their starters, this won’t be an easy victory for the Steelers. I think it’s going to be a close game, but one Pittsburgh somehow squeaks by with a win.
Texans/Colts - Thanks to an outstanding rookie season by CJ Stroud, the Texans have a shot to secure a playoff spot with the victory over the Colts to close out the 2023 regular-season. I’m expecting them to do just that against their division rival.
RJ Ochoa: Steelers/Ravens - Given that the Ravens do not have anything to play for and that Pittsburgh has it all on the line I am going to lean with the Steelers here. Beyond those facts it also benefits Baltimore more for Pittsburgh to get in over say Buffalo if things come down to that. Welcome to the way that things work in Week 18.
Texans/Colts - We all deserve to see C.J. Stroud in the playoffs and this feels like a game where he is going to really captivate the national audience. Give me the Texans in a win where he completely carries them and then watch out for them in the Wild Card Round.
OCC: Steelers/Ravens - Normally you’d pick Baltimore in a blowout in this one, but this resting-your-starters business is throwing a spanner in the works. But good on the Baltimore faithful for paying full prices in Week 18 for a preseason quality product. They should expect a Ravens win at least.
Texans/Colts - DeMeco Ryans deserves Coach of The Year honors, and will cement his claim on the title with a win in Indy.