PITTSBURGH — Mike Tomlin isn’t into hypotheticals. The longtime Pittsburgh Steelers coach prefers to deal with what is happening, not what might happen.
This season, however, has challenged that approach. The unbeaten Steelers (10-0) are scheduled to host some semblance of the Baltimore Ravens (6-4) in a game already pushed back three times, first from Thanksgiving to last Sunday, then from last Sunday to Tuesday night, then from Tuesday to Wednesday. The game is the first NFL contest scheduled for a Wednesday since the 2012 season opener.
Watch the game LIVE at 3:30PM ET / 12:30PM PT on TSN and TSN Direct.
Assuming, of course, that they play. Hardly a given in a year when uncertainty and chaos is just one positive COVID-19 test away.
“It’s day to day,” Tomlin said. “It’s a sensitive situation.”
An ever-changing one too. The Ravens had more than a dozen players on the reserve/COVID-19 list as of Tuesday afternoon, a group that includes reigning NFL MVP Lamar Jackson. The Steelers have COVID-19 issues of their own, with defensive end Stephon Tuitt and starting running back James Conner among the four players who will not play.
The NFL is making every attempt to keep the league on track to finish a 16-game season in 17 weeks; look for quarterback-less Denver’s loss to New Orleans on Sunday as proof.
“We understand that every team is going through something like this,” Steelers defensive end Cam Heyward said. “Not to this extent, but we have to be ready for any situation. I think (Tomlin) has laid out the plan. It’s up for us to follow it and it’s up for us to bounce back with it.”
With a win, the Steelers would effectively eliminate Baltimore, the defending AFC North champions, from the division race. It would also keep Pittsburgh a game clear of reigning Super Bowl champion Kansas City for the top seed in the conference — and the one bye available this season.
Yet the Steelers remain wary. The previous time they saw Ravens backup quarterback Robert Griffin III, scheduled to start in place of Jackson, the 2012 Offensive Rookie of the Year guided Baltimore past Pittsburgh in the 2019 regular-season finale. Baltimore could also have its entire stable of running backs available if Mark Ingram and J.K. Dobbins both continue to test negative for COVID-19.
“They have a mobile quarterback who has beaten us this last time,” Heyward said. “Their defence is opportunistic, and they can be on long fields and have a kicker that can buy them out of any situation. I know we are dealing with a lot of uncertainly with guys going in and out, but we will deal with that when the time comes. We are ready for what they throw at us.”
If the pandemic offers both clubs a chance.
Conner’s absence means Pittsburgh will have to rely on second-year back Benny Snell Jr. and rookie Anthony McFarland Jr., to help out quarterback Ben Roethlisberger. Snell ran for 113 yards in a season-opening win over the New York Giants while filling in for an injured Conner, but has been largely unproductive since outside of short-yardage situations.
Snell has 82 yards on 38 carries and three touchdowns over Pittsburgh’s past nine games. McFarland has been used sparingly since running for 42 yards in Week 3 against Houston.
TACKLING A PROBLEM
The Ravens had trouble bringing down Derrick Henry in an overtime loss on Nov. 22, and they didn’t get any practice time to correct the situation because of the COVID-19 outbreak within the team.
So, they’ll be working on muscle memory.
“Our guys know how to tackle, and we tackled, for most of the game, very, very well,” coach John Harbaugh said in reviewing the Titans game. “I think toward the end, we weren’t able to finish it for whatever reason.
“We can tackle better in those situations, but it’s not from a lack of knowing how to tackle or anything like that. It’s not something that we need to be in pads every day to get ready to do in a game. So, we just need to do better in a game situation. These are professional players. They certainly know how to tackle. They wouldn’t be on our team if they weren’t good tacklers.”
The ripple effect of postponing the game will linger well into the stretch run. The NFL moved both Pittsburgh and Baltimore’s next games as a result of the delay. The Steelers will now host the Washington Football Team on Monday, Dec. 7, with the Ravens hosting Dallas on Tuesday, Dec. 8.
Assuming the Ravens and Steelers ultimately do make it onto the turf at Heinz Field, it means the NFL could potentially play a game on every day of the week this season. There are Saturday games scheduled for both Dec. 19 and Dec. 26 and Minnesota is slated to visit New Orleans on Christmas Day, which is a Friday.
Advantages of Live Casino Games
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The Good Side of Online Casinos
As mentioned before, live casinos are seemingly blowing up, given the tons of opportunities that are available online. Ever since live casino games were introduced online, gaming enthusiasts have had a reason to smile. The convenience that online gaming brings, alongside the same thrill gotten from a physical casino location is just out of this world.
Get to enjoy games in real time with Live Dealers!
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Indulge in your favorite Live Casino Games from anywhere and at any Time!
Playing on the go has never been so easy. Never has it ever been so effortless and easy to access fun gaming, with the best thing being the fact that you need not travel for miles on end to be able to do this. Not only do you get to cut on all those travel expenses, but you also get the chance to enjoy high quality gaming just as if you were in an actual brick and mortar location.
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Nearly all leading live casinos will integrate high quality gaming technology and systems, offering players a smooth wagering process. Thanks to the live streaming feature, gamers can observe all action to detail as it happens from the beginning of the game to the end of it. This high level tech also comes with high level kind of protection to user information, adding on to the peace of mind.
Thanks to cutting edge technology, bettors can interact with other game participants and the dealer as well. This not only makes the game more enjoyable and real, but the personal connection established takes things to a whole new level.
LeBron James re-injures ankle
James departed the 121-114 loss to the Toronto Raptors with 6:42 remaining in the contest.
“His ankle is battling some soreness,” Los Angeles coach Frank Vogel said afterward. “We decided not to bring him back.”
James was playing for the second time since missing 20 games due to the injured ankle. He said it has tightened up on him at halftime in both games.
Vogel and James were both in wait-and-see mode per whether the star forward could play against Denver.
“The plan is to see how I feel and go from there,” James said.
James also was thinking about the big picture.
“The most important thing for me is to be healthy and be at full strength when it really matters,” James said.
James recorded 19 points, seven rebounds and six assists against Toronto as the slumping Lakers lost for the sixth time in seven games. They are 0-2 since James returned.
“I think our team is predicated on health,” James said. “That is the No. 1 thing for our ball club. We need to be healthy and we need to be at full strength.”
–Field Level Media
FTB: What’s in store for the Maple Leafs in their final five games? – Pension Plan Puppets
Next week the Leafs have three games against the Habs; Monday, Thursday and Saturday. Monday’s game is in Montreal, while the others are in Toronto. Saturday’s game is also the final home game for the regular season. These games could help determine who the Leafs play in the first round since the Jets continue to flounder, losing six games in a row, and are now only two points up on the Habs. Some Montreal wins next week could put them in third place, knocking the Jets down to fourth where they would face the Leafs in the playoffs. That would also mean the Leafs would have to lose to the Habs all week, which… I don’t like any of these options! Just win all the games, Leafs.
The following week the Leafs wrap up the season on the road, with a trip to Ottawa, and then ending it rather unceremoniously on Friday in Winnipeg in what looks to be a regionally blacked-out game broadcast only on TSN4 in Toronto. That certainly lacks the grandeur of the final scheduled game of previous seasons, but hopefully it will be the start of a very long playoff run. The playoff games will all be on Sportsnet with no blackouts on NHL Live.
Hardev caught us up on the Marlies yesterday morning.
The Marlies played the Senators yesterday afternoon and lost 5-3. Joseph Woll was in net. He’s being backed up by Veini Vehvilainen who you may recall the Leafs picked up in exchange for Mikko Lehtonen in early March.
The Marlies host the Senators again this afternoon at 3:00 p.m.
Sportsnet is at it again with the wonky charts. I don’t even know what to do with this one. As Fulemin noted, if Matthew Tkachuk is down to bringing nothing but “size” to his line, it’s no wonder the Flames are having such a bad season.
Then again, this all sort of played out last night as the Flames lost 4-1 and Tkachuk fought (checks notes) Tyson Barrie? What?! Yes, it actually happened. Here’s the video!
The Hurricanes’ goalie picked up a primary assist on this game winner. Also <3 Dougie
The next Connor: Hockey’s latest phenom went distance to find a game in pandemic – CBC
Connor Bedard, the first player granted exceptional status to suit up in the WHL a year early and tabbed as the likely first pick in the 2023 NHL draft, saw his inaugural junior season put on ice by COVID-19. That began a long road, including a trip to Sweden with his sister, to where he is now.
Capital Gains: Van Riemsdyk Making Most of Opportunity – Japers’ Rink
The 29-year-old has maintained a positive attitude despite an up-and-down season, and it’s paying off in his return to the lineup and sudden resurgence.
High school hockey in desert flourishing despite lack of AIA sanction – PBS
Hockey is one of the few sports not sanctioned by the AIA, but it has managed to be successful. Much of that has to do with the Arizona High School Hockey Association.
Enjoy your Sunday. Our Back to Excited podcast has been postponed until Tuesday this week.
Canada sends medical supplies to India as COVID-19 overwhelms country’s health care – Global News
Coronavirus: What's happening in Canada and around the world on Wednesday – CBC.ca
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