As expected, Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Antonio Brown will not suit up for his team’s Week 16 game versus the Houston Texans due to his calf injury.
Though the Pittsburgh Steelers have already clinched the AFC North, the team did suffer a series of tough blows in Week 15’s loss to the rival New England Patriots. Jesse James’ touchdown catch was overturned, Ben Roethlisberger threw a horrible red-zone interception and New England grabbed the No. 1 seed from Pittsburgh’s grasp. Worst of all, No. 1 wide receiver Antonio Brown injured his calf.
Brown had to exit the ball game early with his calf injury. He did not return and had to be taken to a nearby hospital for further evaluation. Though he had been initially ruled out for the rest of the regular season, this seems to be a week-by-week sort of injury. Hopefully Brown can be back in January for the AFC playoffs, as he won’t play against the Houston Texans this week.
According to Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin, Brown has officially been ruled out for Week 16’s road contest against the Texans on Christmas afternoon. Tomlin confirmed Brown’s status on 93.7 The Fan on Tuesday morning. It came as a surprise to no one.
There is zero reason for Brown to play against a lousy 4-10 Texans team if he’s not even close to 100 percent. Pittsburgh does not control its own destiny to the No. 1 seed in the AFC anymore. Losing at home in heartbreaking fashion to the Patriots gives New England upper hand.
That being said, Pittsburgh may need to win out to avoid getting leapfrogged by the Jacksonville Jaguars in the AFC standings. Jacksonville is 10-4 and only a game back of Pittsburgh in third place. The Jaguars do have the head-to-head tiebreaker over the Steelers. Should both teams finish 12-4, Jacksonville would get the first-round bye and not Pittsburgh.
Regardless, Pittsburgh is guaranteed a top-three seed in the AFC playoffs. This is a franchise that has already won six Super Bowls. Pittsburgh once won a Super Bowl as a No. 6 seed. Anything can happen with this step-up franchise. The Steelers just need Brown to get healthy by the time the AFC playoffs start and they should be alright. Look for the Steelers to crush a rudderless Texans team to improve to 12-3 on Christmas Day in Week 16.