CINCINNATI– Cincinnati Bengals attacking player joe burrow He is out for the season with a torn ligament in his throwing wrist, the team announced Friday. The news is a shock for an organization that entered the season with Super Bowl aspirations after back-to-back trips to the AFC Championship Game following the 2021 and 2022 seasons.
This isn’t the first time this year the Bengals have had to deal with a Burrow injury. Two days into training camp, Burrow suffered a right calf strain that kept him out of action during the preseason. He started the first game of the season: a 24-3 loss in the cleveland browns — and struggled early before finding his best form in recent weeks and putting the Bengals back in the playoff race.
Friday’s news, however, puts a dent in the Bengals’ postseason hopes and all but ends their title aspirations.
According to ESPN BET, the Bengals were +375 to win the AFC North entering Thursday’s game against the The Baltimore Ravens, in which Burrow left due to injury in the second quarter. They were 25-1 Friday morning and jumped to 75-1 after the Bengals announced Burrow would miss the rest of the season. His Super Bowl odds fell from 12-1 to 22-1 to 150-1 in that same span.
But while Cincinnati’s immediate future may seem bleak, the Bengals are not out of the playoff picture just yet. Here are three reasons why they will (and won’t) make the postseason.
THE CASE FOR…
Cincinnati has a strong trio of receivers
Backup quarterback Jake Browning you step into a situation that should help you succeed. The Bengals have built one of the best receiving units in the NFL.
Ja’Marr Chase He has made the Pro Bowl in his first two seasons and leads double teams on a weekly basis. tee higgins He racked up more than 3,000 receiving yards in his first three seasons and showed good form before missing the final two games with a hamstring injury. Tyler Boyd He has been one of the most reliable slot receivers in the NFL. Throw in Trenton Irwinwho has proven to be a capable No. 4 receiver when pressed into action, and Browning will have no shortage of options.
“I’ve been putting scout teams together for a while,” Browning said after Thursday’s game. “You’re running the worst play against the worst look, so it was good to run some plays and have all these guys open.”
Tanner Hudson has also burst onto the scene in recent weeks. In five games, he has 18 catches for 175 yards, numbers that show why he was moved from the practice squad to the active roster on Nov. 1.
Browning does not lack confidence
Even in a daunting situation, facing the NFL’s second-ranked defense in a divisional showdown Thursday night, Browning didn’t flinch. After all, this is someone who set California prep records for passing yards (16,775) and touchdowns (229) and then broke records in those same categories at the University of Washington (12,296 yards, 94 TDs).
“I have a lot of confidence in myself,” Browning said after the loss to the Ravens. “I think I’m borderline delirious when it comes to optimism, like, ‘Hey, I’m going to win the game.'”
That bravado is something Bengals coaches and teammates admire, including Burrow. Burrow said Browning’s even-keeled demeanor is one of the reasons they are such good friends. And Boyd said if his quarterback is feeling good, it instills confidence in those around him.
“As long as that quarterback is confident, sitting there and ready to do magic and do whatever he needs to do to help us win and lead us, I’ll always follow him and do whatever I can to help.” him,” Boyd said.
You just have to believe!
After the Ravens game, Boyd noted that other backup quarterbacks have had success in recent years. Examples include the San Francisco 49ers‘ Brock Purdy and the Minnesota Vikings‘ Joshua Dobbswho is on his third team this season and recently played a key role in the Vikings’ victory over the New Orleans Saints in week 10.
Burrow has meant everything to the franchise since he was selected No. 1 overall in 2020. But after his injury, the Bengals are proclaiming the belief that they can still be a playoff contender.
“We have a lot of talent on this roster and this season is far from over,” Bengals coach Zac Taylor said Friday. “I’m excited to see how the guys respond next week.”
THE CASE AGAINST…
The team has struggled without Burrow
The numbers aren’t in Cincinnati’s favor when Burrow hasn’t been on the field. Since 2020, the Bengals are 2-5 when Burrow hasn’t started. When previous endorsements of Burrow, Ryan Finley and Brandon Allen Cincinnati took control, averaging 1.33 points per drive and had a 14.7% touchdown rate, according to ESPN Stats & Information. When Burrow is a starter, those numbers jump to 2.15 points per drive and touchdowns on 24.5% of drives.
The offense will operate with Browning as it did with Burrow, Taylor said. Cincinnati has to rely on Browning’s experience with coaches and players dating back to 2021 and translating into yards and points.
“I’ve been preparing like I’m going to be the guy for two and a half years here in the same offense,” Browning said Friday.
The defense has taken a step back
Even if Burrow were healthy, the defense poses a huge threat to Cincinnati’s postseason hopes. Burrow’s $275 million contract extension and an impending extension for Chase mean there hasn’t been as much spending on defense, resulting in young players in important roles.
While players like the cornerback DJ Turner and security dax hill Flashes have been shown, the unit has been porous as a whole. Cincinnati has allowed the second-most yards per play (6.1) and ranks 23rd in points allowed per drive.
Defensive coordinator Lou Anarumo’s unit has been the main reason for Cincinnati’s postseason success over the past two seasons. But the current version of the defense relies too much on turnovers to get stops.
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The schedule remains one of the most difficult in the NFL.
Cincinnati has faced the NFL’s toughest schedule to date and the slate doesn’t get much easier. According to ESPN Analytics, as of Friday, the Bengals have the eighth-toughest remaining schedule. And the numbers changed a lot against Cincinnati after Burrow’s injury.
Cincinnati is projected to be the underdog in six of its last seven games, according to ESPN Analytics. The exception is a Week 14 home game against the Indianapolis Colts. The Bengals still have to play on Jacksonville Jaguars and Kansas City Chiefs as a visitor and has three AFC North games remaining, including two against the Pittsburgh Steelers. Even if Burrow had finished the Ravens’ loss healthy, Cincinnati was going to be on the outside looking in on the playoff picture.
Having already played on Thursday, the Bengals will look to take advantage of the extra rest as they prepare for a home game against the Steelers on November 26. “Obviously this longer weekend comes at a good time for us,” Taylor said Friday. “It’s an opportunity to regroup, recover and come back next week ready to attack Pittsburgh.”