It seems the Bengals are realizing that it’s in their best interest to lose for the remaining two weeks of the season.
After releasing an injury report filled with big name players who will be sitting out on Saturday night in Houston, a few NFL insiders have released more information about tight end Tyler Eifert and wide receiver A.J. Green. Both players are expected to be ruled inactive for the final two games of the season. The Bengals play the Texans on Saturday night in primetime and play the Ravens to finish off the season on New Year’s Day.
Eifert’s injury was quite sudden. After a three target, one catch game against the Steelers in Week 15, Eifert popped up on the Bengals’ first injury report of the week for the Texans game. He was a non-participant in all three practices of the week and was ruled out for Saturday in Houston with a back injury.
Now, Ian Rapoport is sharing that he doesn’t expect Eifert to play again this season.
With the #Bengals being cautious with injury & nothing to play for, would not expect TE Tyler Eifert (back) to play in Week 17 either.— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) December 24, 2016
This comes on the heels of news that Green will also be forced by the team to not play the final two weeks of the season.
Eifert played his first game of the season in Week 7 against the Cleveland Browns. He missed the first six games after suffering an ankle injury in the 2016 Pro Bowl that eventually led to surgery. Just as it appeared Eifert was set to return for Week 5’s game against the Cowboys, he suffered a back injury in practice that cost him another two games, leaving many to wonder if and when he’d return this season.
He did return two weeks later, and now, you have to at least ask if he was playing through the back injury all season.
This season, Eifert has 29 catches for 394 yards and 5 touchdowns in 8 games played. It's unfortunate that Eifert will end his season with an injury. But, it's better that he has the extra two weeks to spend recovering and getting ready for a healthy season in 2017. Eifert has yet to play a 16-game season during his four-year NFL career. That's becoming a common theme with tight ends around the NFL.
With both Eifert and Green out tonight, expect the Bengals’ offense to look much different and to have a tough time moving the ball against an impressive Texans’ defense ranked #1 in the league.
At least it seems the Bengals are lining themselves up for a better draft pick in 2017.