Bengals LB Thomas Howard Returns to Practice Thursday

CINCINNATI, OH - OCTOBER 02: Thomas Howard #53 of the Cincinnati Bengals celebrates after the 23-20 victory against the Buffalo Bills at Paul Brown Stadium on October 2, 2011 in Cincinnati, Ohio. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

When the Bengals take the field against the Seahawks in Seattle this weekend for their Week 8 matchup, we'll see the second-best defense in the NFL going up against the second-worst offense. That's a good sign for the Bengals, whose defense has held opponents offenses to an average of 278.5 yards per game, and it's bad for the Seahawks, whose offense has only averaged 262.8 yards per game.

However, the Bengals have also been without middle linebacker Rey Maualuga, whose presence was obviously missed in the game against the Colts. The team has also been without week-side linebacker Thomas Howard. Howard and Maualuga are third and fourth on the team in tackles respectively and missing both could be the spark that a team struggling on offense needs to score some points.

Even though Maualuga will likely miss this weekend, fans should rejoice because Thomas Howard returned to practice on Thursday. This comes as especially good news because Maualuga's backup, Dan Skuta, is also battling a groin injury and if he's slowed down while Howard is out, things could get bad for the Bengals on Sunday.

Maualuga's presence will still probably be missed but with Howard back in the lineup, it won't be as bad as it could have been.

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