Denzel Ward not being healthy is a very bad thing for the Cleveland Browns

The Houston Texans may catch a break against the Cleveland Browns.
Houston Texans v Cleveland Browns
Houston Texans v Cleveland Browns / Jamie Sabau/GettyImages

The Cleveland Browns are known for their defense this season. It's a staple of their identity and they're building that unit around neutralizing the passing game. The front four can get after the quarterback and the secondary can interrupt routes and cause timing issues. It's a good unit; when it's healthy.

Their secondary is anything but healthy, however, with Grand Delpit out for the game and Rodney McLeod out for the season, the secondary doesn't need any more injuries. So it was a bit of good news bad news situation this week. Greg Newsome is battling with an injury but despite that, he is in fact expected to play.

His corner-mate, however, Denzel Ward, may not. Ward is the team's best cornerback and has a history of injuries that have limited him at different times in his career and that recurring issue is popping up yet again; this time at the least wanted time. Ward was limited at practice on Thursday and there's genuine concern he won't be able to go.

If he can't play in Saturday's matchup, that means that the Browns will have to rely on less impactful corners to try and cover the Houston Texans' best receiver, Nico Collins. Collins has torn up a lot of teams this season, and with C.J. Stroud back and healthy, Collins and Stroud are expected to link up a lot already. Even more so now that Ward is out.

Ward's injury is compounded by the fact that other players, namely Myles Garrett, have fallen off to close out the season. Clearly, there's something bugging Garrett physically that is limiting his play style, and without him, the secondary risks are even more exposed than they already are. Losing, arguably, your two best safeties and your best corner is bad enough, but losing them when your sack machine, Garrett, can't actually sack the quarterback? That's even worse.

The Houston Texans would be wise to take advantage of this situation and attack the secondary as often as they can, while still giving reps to Devin Singletary.

Think an injured Ward is enough to put Houston over the edge? Still not ready to believe the Texans will advance to the Divisional Round? The good news is that FanDuel and DraftKings' guaranteed bonuses pay out in full whether we win or lose. Just deposit $10 and bet $5 on the Texans on each book to unlock their best promo offers — a guaranteed $150 from FanDuel and a guaranteed $200 from DraftKings Sportsbook. These offers wont be around forever though, so sign up before kickoff to cash in!

Next. The Houston Texans guide to victory over the Cleveland Browns. The Houston Texans guide to victory over the Cleveland Browns. dark