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Browns will be without key starters on both sides of the ball against the Steelers

by Mike Spector | Browns Correspondent |
Wed, Jan 6th 8:37am EST

Per Ian Rapoport on Twitter, Cleveland Browns pass-rusher Olivier Vernon tore his achilles last week, and is out for the remainder of the season. In addition, three-time Pro Bowl left guard Joel Bitonio will also miss this week's Wild Card game against the Pittsburgh Steelers, after testing positive for COVID-19. (Ian Rapoport)

Betting Impact:

With news that key starters on both sides of the ball would be out for the Browns, their line against the Steelers was sure to rise. The Steelers are currently six-point home favorites, which is up 1.5 points from the previous line of -4.5, per BettingPros consensus odds. Vernon finished the regular season second on the team with nine sacks, and thus the only active player on Cleveland's defense with more than five sacks on the year is Myles Garrett. In addition, Bitonio's run-blocking is a big reason why Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt combined for over 1,900 rushing yards this year. However, perhaps the most important member of the Browns organization that will miss this week's game is head coach Kevin Stefanski, who also tested positive for COVID-19 less than 24 hours ago.

Categories: Injuries