Diontae Johnson tested positive for COVID-19 and the Pittsburgh Steelers star wide receiver will miss quarterback Ben Roethlisberger’s final game before he retires at the end of the season.
In addition to Johnson, the Steelers also added center Kendrick Green to the reserve/COVID-19 list. Neither player will have enough time to clear health and safety protocols before the final game of the season.
The Steelers head to Baltimore to play the Ravens in Week 18, with a postseason berth still on the line. According to FiveThirtyEight, the Steelers have a 6% of advancing to the postseason with an AFC wild-card berth. They need to defeat the Ravens while the Indianapolis Colts must defeat the Jacksonville Jaguars, and the Los Angeles Chargers and Oakland Raiders game must not end in a tie.
If all three of those events happen, then the Steelers will punch their ticket to the postseason. If not, then Sunday’s game against the Ravens will mark the end of an era for Big Ben and the Steelers.
The Ravens are -6 favorites against the Steelers, who won the first meeting of the season with a 20-19 victory in Week 13.
Diontae: Big Ben’s favorite target
In his third season with the Steelers, Johnson leads the team with 100 receptions, 1,110 yards, and eight touchdowns. He passed the 1K mark for the first time in his career.
In Week 17’s victory against the Browns, Johnson caught eight passes for only 31 yards, but scored a touchdown. He scored a touchdown in his previous two games, and he saw the endzone four times in his last five games.
Without Johnson in the lineup, Chase Claypool will be Big Ben’s primary target, but he’s scored only one touchdown this season. Ray-Ray McCloud will move up into the #2 wideout role, while James Washington and Cody White will split time as the third receiver.
Big Ben is a shell of his former self, but he’ll face the worst pass defense in the NFL. The Ravens had their secondary gutted with injuries and have allowed a league-high 30 touchdowns this season.