Heading into their first matchup of the 2013 season, both the Cincinnati Bengals and Baltimore Ravens are dealing with a litany of injuries on the defensive side of the ball, and the list of players – especially the Bengals’ – is cause for concern as far as the replacements that will be on the field.
For Cincinnati, the biggest blow is Geno Atkins who tore his ACL last week against Miami. To make matters worse, his backup Devon Still is still not ready after suffering an elbow injury a few weeks ago and will be out of the lineup.
Bengals’ linebacker Rey Maualuga is still a few weeks away with a knee injury, and probably won’t see playing time until after the the team’s Bye week. One of the backups at linebacker, Mike Boley who is hampered by a hamstring injury, is listed as doubtful.
Bengal’s veteran cornerback Leon Hall, who tore his Achilles against Detroit, completes the Bengals injury report – at least at every defensive level.
To round out the Bengals injury report, Giovani Bernard (ribs) and Jermaine Gresham (groin) are listed as questionable, but both are expected to see some playing time. Bengals’ guard Kevin Zeitler is listed as probable with a hamstring injury and will be in Sunday’s game.
Ravens’ left guard Kelechi Osemele has been added to the team’s injured reserve and will be undergoing a season-ending back surgery to repair a herniated disc. His starting spot at left guard will be replaced by A.Q Shipley
The Ravens have added cornerback Asa Jackson, a 2012 fifth-round pick to the active roster. Jackson hasn’t seen much playing time after serving two suspensions under the NFL’s performancing-enhancing drug policy. Whether or not the team expects anything out of Jackson is yet to be seen, but one thing for certain is that he will not be starting against Cincinnati and is most likely just added depth.
The Ravens also have a good portion of players listed as questionable with wide receiver Brandon Stokley nursing a thigh injury. On defense, cornerback CoreyGraham (calf), safety James Ihedigbo (toe), and linebacker Daryl Smith (thigh) are all questionable as well.
Pro Bowl linebacker Terrell Suggs was listed as probable after taking a day off with a minor foot injury, and will be in Sunday’s game
All of these players might be able to play today, but the question for the Raven’s is to what degree? The team is losing ground fast on the AFC North with a three-game losing streak and they have a division rival in town. Each of the questionable players for the Ravens has been a major contributor to the team, and with the dynamic offense the Bengals have, it might be all hands on deck.
To make matters worse at the cornerback spot for the Ravens, Jimmy Smith was listed as questionable with a groin injury. Though Smith will be playing on Sunday, the 2011 first-round pick has been on-again-off-again with injuries, though while healthy, the third-year player has gone up against opponents’ No.1 receivers with good results.