Dec 22, 2014; Cincinnati, OH, USA; Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton (14) scrambles out of the pocket during the second quarter against the Denver Broncos at Paul Brown Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports
As if winning a high-pressure NFL game were not difficult enough, the Cincinnati Bengals have battled a new foe in the lead-up to their division showdown with the Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday. According to Kevin Goheen at Fox Sports, at least eight Bengals have been hit with a flu bug this week, with conditions severe enough to keep them from practicing.
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Among the Cincinnati players who have been ill are:
- Cornerback Adam Jones missed practice on Friday and is listed as questionable for the Steelers game.
- Left guard Clint Boling also missed practice on Friday and is listed as probable for the Steelers game.
- Kicker Mike Nugent missed practice on Thursday and is listed as probable for the Steelers game.
- Safety Reggie Nelson missed practice on Wednesday and Thursday, and is listed as questionable for the Steelers game.
- Quarterback Andy Dalton missed practice on Wednesday and is expected to play against the Steelers.
- Tight end Jermaine Gresham missed practice on Wednesday and is expected to play against the Steelers.
- Cornerback Chris Lewis-Harris missed practice on Thursday and Friday, and is listed as questionable for the Steelers game.
- Cornerback Terence Newman has not practiced all week and is listed as questionable for the Steelers game.
That’s an awful lot of “questionable” talent in the Bengals’ backfield, which means that the Steelers and quarterback Ben Roethlisberger could have the opportunity to air it out a bit and take some pressure off of star running back Le’Veon Bell. Even if all of the ailing Bengals take the field, you have to figure that at least some of them will be in a reduced physical state due to their illness.
All in all, chock up one more formidable obstacle that the Bengals must overcome to win the AFC North again.