By Danny Cox

The Pittsburgh Steelers can lock up a playoff spot and the AFC North crown with a win over the Baltimore Ravens at home Christmas day. While the team hopes to gift wrap a division title and playoff berth on Sunday, the Steelers’ injury report has grown. 

Look for the Steelers to be entrenched in a hard-nosed fight to the finish in the AFC North. Unfortunately, the Steelers will have to overcome some adversity. After having one of the shortest injury reports of their season in week 15, the Steelers had a number of players who missed or were limited in practice this week and one ruled Out. 

The Steelers will be playing without safety Shamarko Thomas, who is still in the NFL’s concussion protocol. He will definitely miss this week’s game and possibly week 17, as Pittsburgh may rest him even if he is cleared to play.

Another big blow for the Steelers will be the loss of tight end Ladarius Green who is listed as Doubtful. He did not practice at all on Wednesday and Thursday. Even though he isn’t listed as Out, it is not expected that he’s going to play. As of now, it appears Jesse James could start for the Steelers in his place.

Wide receiver Sammie Coates has dealt with a number of injuries this season and a new hamstring issue could sideline him for the Ravens’ game. The injury happened at practice on Thursday and even though he’s listed as Doubtful, it is not expected that he will play. The good news is that Darrius Heyward-Bey could suit up for week 16 despite being hurt for much of this season.

Ravens’ have injury issues too

The Ravens need every available body to play and at a high level against the Steelers. Unfortunately for them, they have a few big names listed on their injury report as well. Guard Marshal Yanda, linebacker Terrell Suggs, and center Jeremy Zuttah all landed on the report or didn’t practice at some point this week, but they will play since all the reasons were Non-Injury Related.

The only two players listed as Out are linebacker Kamalei Correa (ribs) and cornerback Jimmy Smith (ankle). The loss of Smith is a big one for the Ravens and Big Ben will likely look to capitalize on his absence in the game. Plus, wide receiver Steve Smith Sr. is listed as Questionable with a thigh injury, but it’s almost a given that he will play against the Steelers.

Out

  • (S) Shamarko Thomas (Concussion) – Did Not Participate In Practice

Doubtful

  • (TE) Ladarius Green (Concussion) -Did Not Participate In Practice
  • (WR) Sammie Coates (Hamstring) – Did Not Participate In Practice

Questionable

  • (LB) Anthony Chickillo (Ankle) – Full Participation
  • (WR) Darrius Heyward-Bey (Foot) – Full Participation
  • (DE) Stephon Tuitt (Knee) – Did Not Participate In Practice
  • (DE) Ricardo Matthews (Ankle) –  Full Participation