The Pittsburgh Steelers may be without All-Pro defensive tackle Cameron Heyward for this Sunday’s matchup with the Baltimore Ravens due to an “undisclosed illness,” per Gerry Dulac of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
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While it is not yet clear whether Heyward is headed to the COVID-19 list, he would be the fourth Steelers player to land on the list this week, joining star edge defender T.J. Watt, linebacker Robert Spillane and guard Joe Haeg.
If vaccinated and positive for COVID-19, Heyward will be eligible to return after two negative tests taken 24 hours apart. If unvaccinated, Heyward would have to isolate for 10 days after a positive test and five days if he was deemed a close contact.
Heyward has been one of Pittsburgh’s most reliable players this season, starting all 11 games and logging at least 40 snaps in each. His 90.3 run-defense grade leads all interior defenders this season, and his 42 quarterback pressures rank fifth at the position. Heyward’s absence against a Ravens rushing attack that ranks fourth in expected points added per rush could be devastating, especially if Watt is also unable to play. Baltimore is averaging 2.0 yards per carry before first contact with a defender, the third-best mark in the NFL this season.
DraftKings currently has the Ravens as a 4.5-point road favorite for the 2021 season's first installment of the fierce AFC North rivalry. The two teams play again in Baltimore in Week 18 in a game that could once again have major playoff implications.
DraftKings currently lists the Ravens as the favorite to win the AFC North at -175 odds (a $175 bet wins $100) and has the Steelers with the longest odds at +3000 (a $100 bet wins $3,000).