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Joe Burrow and the Cincinnati Bengals have already wrapped up the AFC North title. So there’s really no reason for Burrow and some of the other key Bengals to play in Sunday’s meaningless regular season finale at Cleveland.
And guess what? Burrow and some of the others won’t. That comes straight from Burrow, who told reporters he’s sitting out this weekend to rest up for the first playoff appearance of his young career.
Again, Burrow won’t be alone on the sideline. The Bengals will also be without running back Joe Mixon, who was placed on the team’s COVID-19 list on Wednesday. Given that the Bengals are resting players, there’s no guarantee Mixon would have played anyway.
Brandon Allen is likely to take the snaps in place of Burrow.
Of course, the Bengals aren’t the only ones who will be playing without some familiar faces. Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield needs surgery to repair the torn labrum on his left (non-throwing) shoulder, so he’ll be sitting out too.
“Baker won’t play in this last game, we’re going to hold him out,” Browns coach Kevin Stefanski said, via OutKick’s Meg Turner. “He’s going to get surgery scheduled as soon as possible so he can get back healthy as soon as possible.”
The Bengals (10-6) are where the hyped-up Browns (7-9) were supposed to be. But that’s why they play the games. Burrow, for what it’s worth, won’t be needed in this one.
Cincinnati last made the playoffs in 2015, when they lost in the Wild Card round. They last won a playoff game in 1990.