Thursday December 2nd, 2021 1:00PM

Browns without 6 players, 3 assistant coaches vs. Steelers

By The Associated Press

The Cleveland Browns are missing six players and three assistant coaches because of COVID-19 for their biggest game in nearly two decades.

Cleveland makes the playoffs for the first time since 2002 with a win over the Pittsburgh Steelers, who clinched the AFC North last week and are sitting out quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, T.J. Watt and other starters to rest up for the postseason.

The Browns didn’t have that luxury and will be missing top cornerback Denzel Ward, linebacker B.J. Goodson and four other rotational players on the COVID-19 list. They’ll also be without three coaches, the most notable being offensive line coach Bill Callahan.

Cleveland’s running game will get a boost as starting right guard Wyatt Teller is back after missing two games with a sprained ankle.

Pittsburgh’s secondary will be without cornerback Joe Haden, who tested positive with COVID-19 on Saturday. He’ll also miss the first playoff opener.

Also, Steelers kicker Chris Boswell (groin) is out. The team activated kicker Matthew Wright from the practice squad Saturday.

Miami has DeVante Parker back against the Buffalo Bills after he missed the past two games with a hamstring injury. He returns with the Dolphins (10-5) needing a win to clinch just their third playoff berth in 18 years. Miami can also clinch should Baltimore, Cleveland or Indianapolis lose.

The Dolphins were already minus backup Ryan Fitzpatrick, who tested positive for COVID-19 on Thursday. Though rookie Tua Tagovailoa was already pegged to start, Fitzpatrick proved valuable last week by taking over in the fourth quarter and rallying Miami to a last-second 26-25 win at Las Vegas.

Buffalo is resting several starters with cornerback Tre’Davious White and defensive ends Jerry Hughes and Mario Addision inactive. The 32-year-old Hughes is inactive for the first time since he was with the Colts in 2011, ending his games-played streak at 146. It was the NFL’s longest active streak among defensive ends behind New Orleans Cameron Jordan (159).

The Bills can clinch the AFC’s No. 2 seed with a win or a Steelers loss, and can fall no further than No. 3.

Backup tackle Ty Nsekhe was also listed as inactive because of an illness, leaving Buffalo with just seven active offensive linemen. The Bills were are without receiver Cole Beasley, who had already been ruled out with a knee injury, and tight end Tyler Kroft added to the reserve/COVID-19 list Saturday.

The Giants’ struggling offense will again be without wide receiver Golden Tate III, missing his second straight game with a calf injury. Linebacker Cam Brown is active after being listed as questionable with an illness.

As expected, Dallas is without cornerback Rashard Robinson (knee) and linebacker Leighton Vander Esch (ankle), but safety Xavier Woods is active after missing last week with a rib injury.

Tampa Bay will be without starting LBs Shaquil Barrett and Devin White, as well as backup nose tackle Steve McLendon who are all on the reserve/COVID-19 list.

Detroit Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford and center Frank Ragnow are active against Minnesota. Stafford was questionable on the injury report after adding a sprained ankle to his rib and thumb ailments.

Ragnow is active for the first time since playing with a fractured throat last month against Green Bay. The Lions previously ruled out receiver Kenny Golladay, who was healthy enough to play just five games after leading the league in receiving touchdowns last season.

Vikings running back Dalvin Cook is missing the game following the death of his father. Vikings kicker Dan Bailey is active after being questionable with a back injury. Minnesota is without four injured starters on defense: cornerback Cameron Dantzler (hamstring), defensive ends Jalyn Holmes (groin) and defensive end Ifeadi Odenigbo (chest) along with linebacker Eric Kendricks (calf).

The Patriots will be without starting center David Andrews, right guard Shaq Mason and running back Damien Harris for Sunday’s finale against the Jets.

Harris, who has missed the past two games with an ankle injury, was placed on injured reserve on Saturday. Andrews and Mason were both ruled out Friday with calf injuries. Also out is rookie linebacker Anfernee Jennings, who is inactive with a shoulder issue.

The Jets previously announced that cornerback Bless Austin would be out with a non-COVID-19-related illness that kept him sidelined at practice all week. Austin didn’t travel with the team.

The Baltimore Ravens will have two key defensive players out, along with receiver Willie Snead.

Cornerback Jimmy Smith (shoulder) will miss his third game in the past four, and defensive end Yannick Ngakoue (thigh) also is sidelined.

Ravens punter/holder Sam Koch will miss the first game in his 15-year career because he’s on the reserve/COVID-19 list. Baltimore also will be without center Patrick Mekari (back).

The Cincinnati Bengals will be without four key defensive players.

Cornerback Mackensie Alexander (illness) is out. Cornerback William Jackson (concussion), LB Logan Wilson (ankle) also are inactive. Nose tackle Mike Daniels is on the reserve/COVID-19 list.

Margus Hunt will start in place of Daniels, and Jalen Davis and LeShaun Sims will go in place of Alexander and Jackson, respectively.



Falcons: CB Darqueze Dennard, CB Tyler Hall, WR Julio Jones, TE Jared Pinkney, RB Qadree Ollison, DT Deadrin Senat.

Buccaneers: CB Carlton Davis, QB Ryan Griffin, TE Tanner Hudson, DL Jeremiah Ledbetter, RB LeSean McCoy.



Cowboys: QB Ben DiNucci, CB Rashard Robinson, RB Sewo Olonilua, LB Leighton Vander Esch, DE Bradlee Anae, G Zack Martin.

Giants: WR Golden Tate III, P Ryan Santoso, DB Madre Harper, G Kyle Murphy, T Jackson Barton, DE R.J. McIntosh.



Patriots: C David Andrews, G Shaquille Mason, OLB Anfernee Jennings, OLB Terez Hall, CB D’Angelo Ross, CB Dee Virgin, QB Brian Hoyer.

Jets: CB Bless Austin, WR Lawrence Cager, OL James Murray, TE Ross Travis, DL Trevon Coley, QB James Morgan.



Vikings: RB Dalvin Cook, CB Chris Jones, CB Cameron Dantzler, LB Eric Kendricks, OG Kyle Hinton, DE Jalyn Holmes, DE Ifeadi Odenigbo.

Lions: WR Kenny Golladay, LB Jamie Collins, OL Tyrell Crosby, OL Logan Stenberg, S Bobby Price, DT Albert Huggins, OG Joe Dahl.



Steelers: QB Ben Roethlisberger, K Chris Boswell, S Terrell Edmunds, C Maurkice Pouncey, LB T.J. Watt, DT Cameron Heyward.

Browns: S Tedric Thompson, C Nick Harris, G Blake Hance, T Kendall Lamm, WR Alexander Hollins, DE Joe Jackson.



Ravens: WR James Proche II, CB Jimmy Smith, C Patrick Mekari, NT Justin Ellis, WR Willie Sneed IV, DE Yannick Ngakoue, DT Broderick Washington.

Bengals: K Randy Bullock, CB Mackensie Alexander, CB William Jackson III, LB Logan Wilson, G Alex Redmond, G Keaton Sutherland, TE Mitchell Wilcox.



Dolphins: WR Jakeem Grant, OT Adam Pankey, LB Kamu Grugier-Hill, RB DeAndre Washington, QB Jake Rudock, DT Benito Jones, WR Kirk Merritt.

Bills: WR Cole Beasley, CB Tre’Davious White, DE Jerry Hughes, DE Mario Addison, OT Ty Nsekhe, TE Reggie Gilliam, QB Jake Fromm.


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