The 17th game of the Cincinnati Bengals’ season may not matter too much by the time kickoff ensues. If the The Kansas City Chiefs bounce back from their loss to the Bengals and beat (or tie) the Denver Broncos on Saturday night, the Bengals will not get a first-round bye for the AFC Playoffs.
In all likelihood, the third or fourth seed will be what’s on the line Sunday for the Bengals in their game against the Cleveland Browns.
Head coach Zac Taylor is already preparing like the Chiefs are going to win. Taylor will not start quarterback Joe Burrow on Sunday, and Burrow is one of many Bengals listed on Wednesday’s injury report.
Burrow (rest/knee) joins Jalen Davis (ankle), Sam Hubbard (thigh), Larry Ogunjobi (illness), D.J. Reader (rest), Cam Sample (hamstring), and C.J. Uzomah (knee/hip) as non-participants from Wednesday’s practice. Davis and Sample missed Sunday’s win over the Chiefs, so the new ailments involve Hubbard, Ogunjobi, and Uzomah.
Cincinnati may already be without several starters due to COVID-19, including Joe Mixon, and Trey Hendrickson. If they’re sitting Burrow and can’t activate other key players, then some of these players may not be pressed to practice and subsequently play this week.
Davis and Sample still being out isn’t great, though. Those two could use playing time this week if players ahead of them on the depth chart aren’t going to play. It seems like their injuries may impact their postseason availability at this point.
Evan McPherson (groin) was the only player limited Wednesday. The rookie mentioned on Monday he was dealing with a minor injury related to tightness. If he can’t kick Sunday, they have Elliott Fry on the practice squad available if needed.
Bengals Injury Report
The Browns have an extended injury report as well. Malik Jackson (knee), David Njoku (shoulder), and Denzel Ward (groin) did not practice. Nick Chubb (chest/ribs), DE Jadeveon Clowney (shoulder/knee), S Ronnie Harrison Jr. (ankle), CB Troy Hill (knee), RB Kareem Hunt (ankle), S John Johnson III (hamstring), LB Elijah Lee (shoulder), C JC Tretter (knee), and CB Greedy Williams (shoulder) were all limited.
TE Austin Hooper (hand) and DL Malik McDowell (neck) and Ifeadi Odenigbo (biceps) are listed with injuries, but were full participants.
If Wednesday is any indication for Sunday, this may be an ugly game.