Baltimore Ravens coach John Harbaugh said Monday he hasn't made a decision on whether NFL MVP favorite Lamar Jackson will start Saturday against the Pittsburgh Steelers, a game that has no ramifications for Baltimore.
The Ravens clinched the AFC North title as well as the AFC's No. 1 seed in Sunday's 56-19 win over the Miami Dolphins.
"We've got to kind of work through the injury part of it first," Harbaugh said. "That'll take us probably 24 to 48 hours to get a real handle on that and then we'll make those decisions. We're not going to keep it a secret. We'll let you know what we're going to do once we start practicing [on Wednesday]."
If Jackson doesn't play, he would have at least a 19-day break in between games. Baltimore would play host to a divisional round game on Jan. 20 or 21.
The last time the Ravens faced this scenario of resting starters was 2019, when Baltimore was the AFC's top seed. Harbaugh chose to sit Jackson and six other starters in the regular-season finale that year.
After that long layoff in 2019, Baltimore looked rusty in a 28-12 upset loss to the Tennessee Titans in the divisional round. The Ravens were held to a season low in points, and Jackson was 31-of-59 (52.5%) for 365 yards, with one touchdown and two interceptions.
"It's a different team, different circumstances, different everything except for the record was about the same and the bye," Harbaugh said. "I remember the experience and the choices we made [in 2019], but the decisions we made, we made for certain reasons. We thought they were the right decisions.
"What impacted how in terms of us not playing our best football that day, it's really hard to say what the cause and effect was. We didn't go out there and we didn't do it. And that's the thing that I kind of take from it the most."
There are nine players remaining on the Baltimore's current 53-man roster who played in that 2019 playoff loss, which was the last time the Ravens hosted a playoff game.
"That learning experience helped us overcome so many things just to get to where we are now," Ravens offensive tackle Ronnie Stanley said. "So we know where we still have to go, and that memory is that's always going to stay with us."
Jackson has become the heavy favorite to win his second NFL MVP award, leading Baltimore to six straight victories and an NFL-best 13-3 record. If Jackson doesn't start, the Ravens would likely turn to backup Tyler Huntley.