Cleveland (6-3 straight up, 6-3 against the spread) quarterback Deshaun Watson needs season-ending surgery to fix a fracture in his throwing shoulder sustained in the first quarter of Sunday’s thrilling 33-31 comeback win at Baltimore as a six-point road underdog.
According to a statement from the Browns this morning, an MRI revealed a fracture to the glenoid in his right shoulder. To avoid further structural damage, team doctors decided that immediate surgery was required.
Watson has already missed three games and nearly all of another contest due to a rotator cuff injury. Cleveland went 2-2 in those games, winning 39-38 at Indianapolis and 19-17 at home vs. San Francisco.
The Clemson product returned two weeks ago in a 27-0 home win over Arizona. He completed 19-of-30 passes for 219 yards and two touchdowns without an interception against the Cardinals.
In the win over the Ravens, Watson connected on 20-of-34 throws for 213 yards and one TD with one interception. He added 37 rushing yards on eight attempts.
In six games this season, Watson has completed 61.4 percent of his passes for 1,115 yards with a 7/4 touchdown-to-interception ratio. He has 142 rushing yards, one TD and 5.5 yards-per-carry average.
Despite season-ending injuries to star RB Nick Chubb, OT Jack Conklin and now Watson, the Browns are merely one-half game back of the lead in the AFC North.
Baltimore (7-3 SU, 6-4 ATS) has a one-half game lead over both Cleveland and Pittsburgh (6-3 SU, 6-3 ATS), while Cincinnati (5-4 SU, 4-4-1 ATS) 1.5 games behind the Ravens. John Harbaugh’s team hosts the Bengals on Thursday night.
In the first game Watson missed, rookie QB Dorian Thompson-Robinson completed 19-of-36 passes for 121 yards with three interceptions in a 28-3 home loss to Baltimore.
Since then, the Browns have gone with veteran journeyman QB P.J. Walker as their starter in the win over the 49ers and a 24-20 loss at Seattle. The Temple product also replaced Watson in the first quarter of the win over the Colts.
Walker has completed 48-of-98 throws (49.0%) for 618 yards with an abysmal 1/5 TD-INT ratio. For his career, Watson has an atrocious 6/16 TD-INT ratio.
Before Watson’s injury was announced this morning, the Browns were four-point home favorites for Sunday’s home game vs. Pittsburgh. The line has moved from four down to 2.5.
The total has been reduced from 36.5 or 37 points down to 34. Cleveland had 25/1 odds to win the Super Bowl, but that number has moved to 50/1 at most spots.
FanDuel currently has Baltimore as the -120 ‘chalk.’ The next-shortest odds belong to the Bengals (+400), the Browns (+470) and the Steelers (+490), who are somehow 6-3 despite being outgained by all nine of their opponents.