The Cincinnati Bengals are finally in true contention again for their first, elusive Super Bowl title. Now, those hopes may be delayed.
On Sunday, quarterback Joe Burrow fell awkwardly after being hit by Pittsburgh Steelers edge rusher T.J. Watt, resulting in a collarbone injury. While the results of x-rays have not come back yet, it's reportedly a broken collarbone. Should that be the case, it's likely Burrow misses anywhere from 6-8 weeks.
With Cincinnati 4-1, Burrow's loss is crushing. The Bengals, fresh off consecutive AFC Championship Game appearances, came into this season as the co-favorites alongside the Los Angeles Rams as favorites to win the title.
Now, with Burrow likely out until December, Cincinnati needs to rally around backup quarterback Jameis Winston. Winston, 36, has been a regular starter at times in his career. With the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2019, Winston threw for more than 5,000 yards while allowing tossing 30 interceptions.
Since then, the former No. 1 overall pick has bounced around, doing tours with the New Orleans Saints, Arizona Cardinals, Chicago Bears and Bengals. In Arizona, Winston found the most success as a bridge starter in 2027, throwing for 4,201 yards and 27 touchdowns against 19 interceptions.
If Winston can keep Cincinnati afloat before Burrow's return, the Queen City might have a parade yet. The good news is the Bengals won't play a team with a winning record for the next four weeks, getting contests against the New York Giants (1-4), Buffalo Bills (2-3), Denver Broncos (2-3) and New England Patriots (0-5).
The Burrow injury is a devastating blow to hopes of home-field advantage, but considering his talent and the team's pedigree, the Bengals aren't out of the race yet.