Cincinnati Bengals QB Joe Burrow Questionable for ‘Monday Night Football’

Posted on: September 25, 2023, 10:36h. 

Last updated on: September 25, 2023, 01:03h.

Quarterback Joe Burrow is nursing a calf injury, and he will be a game-time decision for the Cincinnati Bengals tonight against the Los Angeles Rams on Monday Night Football.

Joe Burrow injury
Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow, seen here getting sacked by the Baltimore Ravens linebacker Jadeveon Clowney (24), is questionable in Week 3 because of a calf injury. (Image: Getty)

The Rams (1-1) and Bengals (0-2) square off in a rematch of Super Bowl LVI. The Bengals got hot in the playoffs two years ago and won the AFC Championship to secure a trip to the Super Bowl. The Rams had the rare benefit of playing the Super Bowl in their home stadium in Los Angeles, and they held off the Bengals to win, 23-20.

On Monday Night Football in Week 3, the Bengals will host the Rams at “The Jungle” at Paycor Stadium in downtown Cincinnati.

The winless Bengals are desperate to secure their first win of the season, and they’re fighting a historical trend. Since 1990, only four teams that started 0-3 secured a trip to the playoffs.

Despite the 0-2 start, the Bengals are -105 odds to make the playoffs, according to a prop bet at DraftKings.

Burrow Aggravated Calf Injury

Burrow sustained a calf injury early in training camp and missed most of the preseason. He started in Week 1, but looked rusty in a 24-3 blowout against the Cleveland Browns in an early AFC North battle. Burrow completed 14-of-31 passes for 82 yards and no touchdowns. He was sacked twice and the Bengals scored just three points in the first game of the season.

Burrow looked much better at the start in their season home opener, a Week 2 matchup against the Baltimore Ravens, who were playing their first game without starting running back J.K. Dobbins in the lineup. Burrow completed 27-of-41 passes for 222 yards and two touchdowns. He was picked off once and sacked once in a 27-24 loss.

Burrow limped off the field after he tossed a touchdown late in the game. TV cameras spotted Burrow on the sidelines getting worked on by trainers, who were using a massage gun. Fans hoped Burrow only had a cramp, but their worst fears came to fruition after the game, when word got out that Burrow aggravated his calf injury.

The Bengals informed the media that Burrow was day to day. Burrow was spotted during red zone drills on Friday, but he had a compression sleeve on his leg.

My job is to go out and play,” said Burrow. “That’s what I’m preparing to do.”

“We’ll see,” said head coach Zac Taylor. “It’s really day to day. We’ll have conversations and see where it goes.”

Bengals Lack a Suitable Backup QB

On Friday, the Bengals listed Burrow as questionable on the official injury report.

Calf injuries can take several weeks or even months to heal. The Bengals are in a tough spot because of their slow 0-2 start. The Bengals and Burrow are concerned because there’s a high risk associated with playing with a calf injury. It could escalate into a ruptured Achilles injury, which happened to Kevin Durant in the 2019 NBA Finals.

Dobbins from the Ravens and quarterback Aaron Rodgers from the New York Jets sustained season-ending Achilles injuries in the first week of the season.

Jake Browning is listed as the backup quarterback on the Bengals roster. If Burrow is unable to play because of his injury, then Browning will make his first career NFL start against the Rams. Browning  played his collegiate ball with the Washington Huskies, but went undrafted. He’s been on the Bengals’ roster since 2021, but hasn’t seen any action as a backup.

The Bengals added quarterback Reid Sinnett to the practice squad on Friday. The Bengals needed someone else after former backup Will Grier left the practice squad and signed with the New England Patriots last week. Sinnett spent time in training camp with the Bengals when Burrow initially went down with the calf injury. But he failed to make the final 53-man roster.

Betting the Bengals with a Banged-Up Burrow

Burrow and the training staff will make the final decision in warmups on Monday. If Burrow feels like he can make a positive impact, then he’ll play with the calf injury.

On the look-ahead line, the Bengals were a -6 favorite against the Rams. The line dropped as low as -1.5 last Tuesday when word got out that Burrow might miss Week 3’s game against the Rams because of his calf injury.

The Bengals/Rams line has moved several times since Tuesday, and bounced back as high as -3. The point spread has been vacillating between -2.5 and -2 over the last 24 hours. DraftKings currently has the Bengals at -2, but the South Point Casino in Las Vegas listed the Bengals at -2.5.

The Rams don’t have All-Pro wide receiver Cooper Kupp in the lineup because he’s on the IR with a hamstring injury. Rookie wideout Puka Nacua made waves during a sensational start while filling in for Kupp. Pacua snagged 25 receptions for 266 yards in his first two games of the season, and the rookie established a strong bond with quarterback Matthew Stafford.

The Rams traded running back Cam Akers to the Cleveland Browns on Wednesday. Second-year running back Kyren Williams beat out Akers for the starting job, and he’s been another bright spot for the Rams so far this season.

The Ravens (2-1) and Browns (2-1) are cofavorites at +195 odds to win the AFC North. The Steelers (2-1) are +350 odds to win the AFC North, and the Bengals are a long shot at +450 odds to win the division.

The Bengals saw their futures take a dip after Burrow aggravated his calf injury. Their Super Bowl LVIII odds slipped to +1800, and their AFC Championship odds are now +1000 after an 0-2 start.