OWINGS MILLS, Md. —Ravens tight end Mark Andrews has already heard the chatter among the naysayers.
After losing three of the past four games, Baltimore's outlook for the playoffs has become increasingly dim.
The challenge does not get any easier with a showdown against undefeated Pittsburgh on Thanksgiving night with a short-handed roster.
"There’s definitely an urgency, " Andrews said. "We’ve got to start winning games, and we’ve got the players to do it, [and] we’ve got the guys to do it. This is still a very talented football team. People are starting to count us out, and that’s fine. Our back is up against the wall, and we’ve got a lot of good character guys on this team that is going to fight their way through this."
The Ravens are 6-4 and are just on the outside of the postseason race heading into the final stretch of the season. The Ravens are dealing with key injuries on the defensive line with defensive end Calais Campbell (calf) and Brandon Willams, who is dealing with an ankle injury and is also on the Reserve/COVID-19 list.
Baltimore (6-4) is also down two running backs — Mark Ingram and rookie J.K. Dobbins — after they also tested positive for COVID-19 earlier this week.
The Ravens are underdogs for the first time this season in Pittsburgh. The Steelers already beat the Ravens 28-24 in Week 8 and can mathematically eliminate Baltimore from winning the division with a victory.
"They’re a physical defense; they’re going to fly around," Baltimore coach John Harbaugh said. "Obviously, this is a rivalry game, so these games are never going to be easy – it’s going to be a bloodbath until the end. It’s going to be a dogfight. Just going in there with the mindset that it’s going to be a full 60 minutes, and everybody on this team knows that.
"They know it. We know it. It’s just about who’s going to go out there and execute, run their plays better, and want it more. So, I’m excited about this game. It’s going to be fun.”
After the game against the Steelers, the schedule gets much easier and the Ravens will have an opportunity to make up some ground. Baltimore closes out the year with games against Dallas (Dec. 3), at Cleveland (Dec. 14), Jacksonville (Dec. 20), New York Giants (Dec. 27), and at Cincinnati (Jan. 3).
"I don’t lack any confidence in our ability and what we can do in this last stretch of the season," Andrews said. "I’m excited to go show the world what we can do. And we’ll see; we’ll see how this all plays out. But I’m confident.”