The Bengals (2-3) can rest easy this week, hoping for some help around the AFC North. Although there’s no game this Sunday, there is still news surrounding the club.
Flex on ‘em
The Cincinnati Bengals are riding a two-game winning streak going into their bye week. That bye week will now last an extra 205 minutes. The NFL announced on Wednesday that the Bengals matchup with division-rival Pittsburgh next Sunday (Oct. 22) has been flexed to start at 4:25 p.m. ET.
This marks the second straight year a Cincinnati-Pittsburgh contest has been moved from its original start time. Last season’s December affair at Paul Brown Stadium was flexed from primetime to a 1:00 p.m. start. The Steelers won, 24-20.
Marvin Lewis is 9-5 in 4 o’clock games in the eastern time zone:
Next Sunday marks the first time since 2009 the two clubs will battle in the late afternoon slot.
Generally, the NFL flexes more attractive games into a position to get more viewers. That’s the case next Sunday, as it moves the winless Giants (0-5) and the sub-par Chargers (1-4) out of the spotlight.
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The Bengals have lost four straight against the Steelers, dating back to 2015.
Eifert’s season in jeopardy
ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported late Wednesday afternoon that Bengals tight end Tyler Eifert is deciding whether to have a third surgery on his back. Such an operation would land Eifert on injured reserve and end his season.
After a four-catch start to the year, Eifert has missed the last three games with an ongoing back issue. The Indiana native now has to make a difficult choice, considering that he will become a free agent at season’s end.
There’s no questioning Eifert’s ability when healthy. During his 2015 Pro-Bowl campaign, he snagged 13 touchdowns in as many games. But back, ankle and elbow injuries have limited Eifert from reaching his full potential. He’s never played a full season.
If he were to undergo another back surgery and miss the rest of 2017, Eifert will have missed more regular-season games (41) than he’s played (39) over his five-year career.
Two straight wins have the Bengals right back into the thick of the divisional race. It’s tough to put a pause on a hot streak, but Cincinnati will have to watch its three division-rivals from the couch on Sunday.
Under Lewis, the Bengals are 5-8-1 after the Bbye Week. That struggling trend has changed in recent years, though. Over the last eight seasons, Cincinnati is 4-4 after the bye. Their last win following the bye was November 1, 2015, a 16-10 dogfight at Heinz Field.
Boyd shelved with injured knee
Bengals wideout Tyler Boyd injured his knee after a first-quarter catch against Buffalo. NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport reported Monday afternoon that Boyd suffered a sprained MCL, which will keep the second-year receiver out for a few weeks.
Last season, Boyd played in all 16 games and posted an impressive rookie campaign. The Pittsburgh product had 54 catches for 603 yards and a touchdown.
This season, though, Boyd has been an afterthought in a crowded offense. Even with John Ross and Eifert out, Boyd has been targeted just nine times and was a healthy inactive in Cincinnati’s 13-9 loss to Houston in week two.