It seems like the Cincinnati Bengals will be without one of their best offensive weapons for Thursday’s critical AFC North showdown against the Baltimore Ravens.
ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported “it’s considered unlikely” that wide receiver Tee Higgins will be on the field thanks to the hamstring injury that also kept him sidelined for Sunday’s loss against the Houston Texans.
The timing of the setback was unfortunate for Higgins for multiple reasons.
Not only did it sideline him for important games against fellow AFC contenders in the Texans and Ravens, but it also came right after his best showing of the season. He tallied eight catches for 110 yards in the Week 9 win over the Buffalo Bills.
It was the first time since he had 89 receiving yards and two touchdowns in Week 2 against the Ravens that he even reached the 70-yard mark for a game and seemed to indicate he was turning the corner ahead of the stretch run.
Now there are questions about his health, as well as that of other key players on the Bengals roster in pass-rushers Sam Hubbard (ankle) and Trey Hendrickson (knee) ahead of one of the biggest games of the year.
While Joe Burrow still threw for 347 yards and two touchdowns against the Texans without Higgins thanks in large part to the presence of wide receivers Ja’Marr Chase and Tyler Boyd, he also had two interceptions and was outplayed by rookie C.J. Stroud for stretches.
Keeping up with Lamar Jackson and Baltimore on the road without Higgins will not be easy.
Cincinnati was a presumed Super Bowl contender coming into the season, but it is on the outside of the AFC playoff picture at 5-4 with upcoming road games against the Ravens, Kansas City Chiefs, Pittsburgh Steelers and Jacksonville Jaguars.
A postseason spot is anything but a guarantee at this point, especially if Higgins and others are going to be sidelined by different physical ailments. For now, it will be up to Chase, Boyd and Burrow to keep the passing attack afloat.