The Cincinnati Bengals have proven many sports analysts in the national media wrong this season. Many of these same analysts felt that this Bengal team would last in their division and maybe only win a few games under head coach Zac Taylor. By beating a very talented Kansas Chiefs team, 34-31 last week at home allowed the Bengals to win the AFC North title and demonstrated to the rest of the NFL that the Bengals are legit contenders.
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There is only one more game left on the regular schedule, which will be against the Cleveland Browns. This game will feel more like a preseason game because of both teams’ different situations. The Browns have been eliminated from the playoffs this season, while the Bengals still have to decide if they will rest their starters or save them for the postseason. The No.3 seed Bengals still have a possibility of winning the No.1 in the AFC Division, but a few unlikely things would have to go their way.
The Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield has already been declared out for this game. He was sacked nine times in last week’s game against the Steelers and needs shoulder surgery. Case Keenum will be the Browns quarterback in this game. The Browns will have to make some tough decisions about who to play. They certainly could be without leading running backs in Nick Chubb (Ribs), Kareem Hunt (Ankle), and D’Ernest Johnson that just landed on the COVID 19 list. Much like the Bengals, this will be a game-time decision.
Brandon Allen will get the start at quarterback this week for the Bengals. The Bengals have also placed safety Vonn Bell, defensive end Trey Henderickson, center Trey Hopkins, running back Joe Mixon, and guard Quinton Spain all on the NFL COVID-19 list, which means more than likely the Bengals will play most of their backup players against the Browns. The list of injuries and COVID may force the Bengals to play a few of their starters but limit their snap count.
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The Browns are playing their last home game for pride at this point, while the Bengals are hoping to come away with a win with their back-ups. This game will be a good measuring stick to see which backup players are worth keeping around in 2022.
Congratulations to Coach Taylor, his staff, and the players for making Cincinnati fans excited about this team again. Who Dey
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