The Cleveland Browns are once again dealing with COVID-19 issues heading into a must-win game.
Last week, the Cleveland Browns were one day removed from a very winnable game against the New York Jets. However, their entire starting receiving corps was ruled out after being listed as high-risk close contacts with linebacker B.J. Goodson, who tested positive for COVID-19. Days later, the struggles grew.
On Wednesday morning, the Browns had to close their facility after a practice squad player and coach yielded a positive COVID-19 test result. However, the facility reopened later in the day for practice after undergoing contact tracing.
Browns-Steelers expected to be played as scheduled
Prior to the facility shutting down on Wednesday, Cleveland placed tight end Harrison Bryant and safeties Karl Joseph and Andrew Sendejo on the reserve/COVID-19 list on Tuesday. Even with the number of players on the COVID list, the Browns’ Week 17 game against the Pittsburgh Steelers is still expected to take place as scheduled.
As mentioned earlier, Cleveland lost wideouts Jarvis Landry, Rashard Higgins, Donovan Peoples-Jones and KhaDarel Hodge, as well as linebacker Jacob Phillips for Week 16 after they were placed on the reserve list. Cleveland essentially used a skeleton crew, and it resulted in them losing 23-16 to the lowly Jets.
The hope for the Browns is that all of those players who missed last week will be able to go in a must-win game. If the Browns beat a Steelers team that will start Mason Rudolph over a resting Ben Roethlisberger, they clinch their first playoff berth since 2002. If they lose, they’ll need a variety of factors to happen if they want to make the postseason. Those include a loss by the Tennessee Titans or Indianapolis Colts, on top of wins by the Miami Dolphins and Baltimore Ravens.
As you can tell, the win provides a much easier and less stressful path for the Browns.