Last week in the Wild Card round, the Cleveland Browns were missing several coaches and players due to COVID-19 complications.
Over the last month of the season, the Browns dealt with numerous COVID-19 related issues.
But, now, at the most important stage of the season, the team is back together and ready to take on the challenge of defeating the defending Super Bowl Champions, the Kansas City Chiefs.
Head Coach Kevin Stefanski will return to his spot on the sideline leading this group.
G Joel Bitonio — the last person to be activated off the COVID-19 list — will return up front to help lead the way for perhaps the best running back duo in the NFL.
Joel Bitonio Activated Off COVID-19 List
The greatest strength of this Cleveland Browns team is their rushing attack.
Of all teams remaining in the playoffs, the Browns have the best rated offensive line.
G Joel Bitonio is a large reason for that.
Last week against the Steelers, in what should have been Bitonio’s first playoff start, teammates dedicated the performance to him as they knew how much he wanted to be out there.
WR Jarvis Landry touched upon the issue before the Wild Card:
“He’s important to the Cleveland Browns and the history that we’ve accomplished this year. It sucks what he’s going through to be able to be here for the time that’s he been here and now be in this position and he can’t even play the game because of the circumstances…This is definitely one for Joel, absolutely.”
Now, he has been activated off the COVID list and ready to make his playoff debut this Sunday.
We’ve made the following roster moves:
Activated from Reserve/COVID-19:
G Joel Bitonio
S Tedric Thompson
— Cleveland Browns (@Browns) January 15, 2021
Perhaps, Cleveland’s best chance of winning this game is through their run game.
If they are able to control the clock and end offensive drives with touchdowns, they put themselves in a position to at least give themselves a shot of winning.
Although they won last week, they know they need their all pro guard to give themselves their best chance of winning this week.
The Cleveland Browns Underdog Mentality
Last week against Pittsburgh, not too many thought Cleveland was going to be able to go on the road and win.
Although they got a bunch of help on early turnovers from the Steelers, they still won the game.
After the game, Browns players had fun trolling the Steelers as they mocked WR JuJu Smith-Schuster.
Adding more fuel to the fire, Chiefs WR Sammy Watkins, took a shot at the Browns on social media.
I wouldn’t go that far lol..!
— King me (@sammywatkins) January 11, 2021
Las Vegas — favoring the Chiefs by 10 points — feels that Cleveland doesn’t stand a chance this weekend as Andy Reid is one of the better coaches coming off a bye week.
But, that certainly doesn’t mean it cannot happen.
One Browns player in particular, thinks his team is going to walk away victorious this Sunday.
Don’t be suprised this weekend when they win….just throwin it out there now
— Odell Beckham Jr (@obj) January 14, 2021
If there is anything we have learned over the course of this irregular season, it’s too not sleep on the underdog minded Cleveland Browns.