1) The Deadline Is Today: If the Cincinnati Bengals aren't able to declare a sellout by 1 p.m, the league's antiquated black out policy will in effect. The team announced Wednesday afternoon that approximately 8,000 tickets remained after selling 2,000 on Tuesday. The team is reportedly working with the NFL for an extension (which would push the deadline to Friday at 4 p.m). There's also the possibility a local company will buy the remaining tickets, like in the past -- but rarely has someone stepped up to buy that many. As of right now, I'm not hopeful that the game will be on television this weekend.
2) Confusion on the 34% Rule: During the regular season, owners of a team that are being threatened with a black out can purchase unsold tickets to declare a sell out. By doing so, they pay 34 cents on the dollar for every unsold ticket to cover ticket revenue share for the visiting team. However, in the playoffs, that rule doesn't exist because the ticket revenue goes to the league, not the teams. There was confusion Wednesday when ESPN Business Reporter Darren Rovell said that that policy was applicable for the playoffs, which he later corrected.
3) Offensive Line Injuries: The Bengals offensive line is dealing with nicks, bruises, sprains and soreness. Andrew Whitworth, Andre Smith, Kyle Cook and Anthony Collins sat out during practice on Wednesday. However, Cook is the only one that figures to be the biggest question mark. First-round rookie Tyler Eifert also sat with a neck injury that he sustained against the Vikings in week 16. He didn't play in the regular season finale against the Baltimore Ravens. As of now, Whitworth, Smith, and Collins are expected to play, but more will be known during Thursday's practice.
4) No Worries for A.J. Green and Ryan Mathews: Two offensive weapons in Cincinnati and San Diego sat during Wednesday's practice. Green showed up on the team's practice report with a knee injury and Mathews has been dealing with an ankle in San Diego. Both are expected to play and most observations are using the term "rest day" for both players.
5) Practicing Indoors?: Snow is hitting the region on Thursday with accumulations being anywhere from 2-4 inches. Cincinnati has practiced indoors several times this year due to heavy snow storms and frigid temperatures. It's an interesting question. As of now, and lord knows things change quickly in Ohio, Sunday's forecast will have snow and a wintery mix. So will the team practice outdoors today to prepare for those conditions? The counter point is that practices in bad conditions usually aren't very productive because players tend to be more concerned about preserving body heat -- yes, these men are humans too. Additionally, the team has several injuries to work through and the cold doesn't help.