December 31, 11:45am: Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports reports that Brown was still limping at the start of this week but has shown progress since, and the Steelers believe he will be ready for the team’s first playoff game two weeks from now. Brown probably could not have returned for the wildcard round if Pittsburgh had not secured a first-round bye, but since it did lock in one of the AFC’s top two seeds, Brown will get an extra week to recover.
December 24, 1:49pm: If the Steelers don’t secure a first-round playoff bye, they’ll probably be without star wideout Antonio Brown for their first postseason game. Brown is considered unlikely to be available for a potential Wild Card round contest as he recovers from a partially torn calf muscle, according to Adam Schefter of ESPN.com.
While Pittsburgh’s chances of advancing would certainly be reduced without Brown, the Steelers are nearly a lock to get a bye in the first round of the postseason. In fact, a Jaguars loss to the 49ers on Sunday and a Steelers victory over the Texans on Monday would give Pittsburgh a bye. Overall, FiveThirtyEight gives Pittsburgh a 89% chance of locking down a bye for Wild Card weekend.
Brown, 29, leads the NFL in both receptions (101) and yards (1,533) and has scored nine touchdowns on the season. Without him on the field for at least the next two weeks, the Steelers will turn to a bevy of other pass-catching options including JuJu Smith-Schuster, Martavis Bryant, Eli Rogers, and Jesse James.
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