Deshaun Watson Injury: Biggest Winners and Losers in AFC Playoff Picture

The AFC playoff picture just opened up with Deshaun Watson set to miss the rest of the 2023 season.

Cleveland Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson.
Cleveland Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson. / Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

The Cleveland Browns enter Week 11 as the No. 6 seed in the AFC, but the team may not be there for long after quarterback Deshaun Watson was ruled out for the season on Wednesday.

Watson will undergo surgery on a displaced fracture in his right glenoid in his shoulder. That leaves the team with P.J. Walker and Dorian Thompson-Robinson at quarterback.

Prior to Watson's injury, Cleveland had jumped all the way to +3000 to win the Super Bowl this season.

Now, the team is closer to +4500 in the market, and its playoff odds could be taking a hit too. Even though the Browns are just half a game out of the AFC North's top spot, the team may be in trouble with a backup quarterback leading the way the rest of the season.

Here's a look at the Browns' latest playoff odds, and the teams that will benefit the most -- and the least -- from Watson's injury.

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Biggest Winners in Playoff Odds Following Deshaun Watson Injury

Pittsburgh Steelers

The current No. 5 seed in the AFC, Pittsburgh stands to benefit the most right away from Watson's injury. The Steelers won the first meeting between these teams, and now they get the Browns in Week 11 on the road.

This is a perfect spot for the Steelers to steal another win and move closer to the top spot in the AFC North. It's a shock that the team is still plus money to make the playoffs, but the Steelers have failed to outgain any of their opponents this season.

Cincinnati Bengals

This is a huge break for the 5-4 Cincinnati Bengals, who are on the road against the Baltimore Ravens in Week 11.

Cincy closes the season with a game against the Browns, and the team is going to need to play some of its best football to sneak into a playoff spot in the AFC this season. Watson's injury could end up being the reason Cleveland drops out of the top seven teams in the AFC -- opening the door for a team like the Bengals.

Houston Texans

The Houston Texans are just a game out of the AFC South lead, but now they may have a path to a wild card spot as well. Houston is currently the No. 7 seed (final team) in the AFC playoff picture.

The Texans also play the Browns later this season on Christmas Eve. With Watson out, the Texans have a better chance of pulling off a win in that game, which should be crucial for playoff positioning.

Denver Broncos

After three straight wins, the Denver Broncos have re-entered the playoff conversation in the AFC.

They're still the No. 14 seed, but they have a favorable schedule to close out the season -- including a home game against the Browns on Nov. 26.

If Denver can get past the Minnesota Vikings in Week 11, the team would have a chance to get back over .500 with a win against Cleveland in Week 12. The Broncos are a long shot, but facing a depleted Cleveland team is a huge win.

Biggest Losers in Playoff Odds Following Deshaun Watson Injury

Cleveland Browns

Obviously, the Browns are the biggest losers here.

,The team is just 1-2 in the three games that Watson didn't start, and it has a tough schedule to end the season with teams like Houston, Cincy, Denver, Pittsburgh and Jacksonville (all in the AFC playoff hunt) all still to come.

The Browns' defense may be good enough for the team to sneak in, but there is very little chance the team makes much noise in the playoffs, if it makes it there, without Watson.

Buffalo Bills

The 5-5 Buffalo Bills are looking to get back into the playoff picture, but they have the third-hardest schedule remaining this season.

So, it doesn't help that teams that it is contending with -- Houston, Denver, Cincy, Pittsburgh -- all just saw their schedules get easier with Watson's injury.

Buffalo is on the outside looking in, despite what the oddsmakers have the team's playoff odds set at.

Odds refresh periodically and are subject to change.