This week’s edition of Cincinnati Bengals vs. Cleveland Browns isn’t going to look much like the game from Week 9. Not because Cincinnati will dominate Cleveland, but because it is going to be interesting to see how many of the players from that week are actually going to be on the field in Week 18.
We already know that neither Joe Burrow nor Baker Mayfield will start. There is a very small chance the Bengals could work their way to the 2 seed, but that isn’t as beneficial as past years when those teams would have gotten a bye week. It seems Cincinnati is content with at least one home playoff game as either the third or fourth seed.
Because of that, we see players like Burrow and D.J. Reader designated as getting rest. Although, Burrow and Sam Hubbard (thigh) were upgraded to limited participants after missing yesterday’s practice.
Burrow split first team snaps with Allen. Burrow completed a perfect 50-yard go to Tee Higgins. All 3 receivers took full reps in open portion of individual drills. Burrow was moving no problem. #Bengals #RuleTheJungle— Mike Petraglia (@Trags) January 6, 2022
Players that were downgraded include offensive lineman Fred Johnson (shin) — who could have seen some playing time with some starters being held out this week. We also saw defensive tackle Larry Ogunjobi be downgraded from just out with an illness to being placed on the COVID-19 reserve list.
One of the more intriguing injuries may be what the Bengals decide to do with Evan McPherson this week. He remains limited with a groin injury. Will they have him still go out there kicking off as well as kicking field goals, limit his role or just sit him altogether with the week essentially operating as a bye week?
Meanwhile, the Browns look like they could be without a few big name defenders. Cornerback Denzel Ward didn’t practice for the second day in a row. Pass rusher Jedaveon Clowney was downgraded from limited to DNP with a shoulder and knee injury. Defensive lineman Malik McDowell was also added to the injury report with a neck injury.
On offense, tight end David Njoku got a second straight DNP due to a shoulder injury, while running backs Nick Chubb (chest/ribs) and Kareem Hunt (ankle) were both limited again.