The Cincinnati Bengals (7-5) host the San Francisco 49ers (6-6) this Sunday at 4:25 EST in a crucial matchup with many playoff implications riding on the outcome for both teams. Each team currently sits in a wild card spot in their conferences but, with a loss, could find themselves outside the playoff picture.
Joe Burrow will have to play a clean game to succeed and escape Paul Brown Stadium with a victory.
How Joe Burrow can thrive vs. 49ers
3. Limit usage and high risk plays involving injured pinky
Now I understand that Burrow will have to throw passes but each time he drops back and forces the ball down the field or gets hit, it will all be a risk for the injured finger. What I mean by this is that when handling the ball under center, trying his best to keep the pinky out of harm’s way will keep his durability stable.
Relying on Joe Mixon and Samaje Perine will be vital in this game, so Burrow doesn’t have to throw 35-40 passes and consistently put himself in danger of further injuring the dislocated finger.
Burrow is as tough as they come, so I don’t see how he leaves this game, but the more the finger is causing him discomfort, the more likely errors will be made. Any turnover that sets the 49ers up will put the Bengals in a tough position to escape this game with a victory.
When the Bengals tend to turn the ball over on multiple occasions this season, their worst performances have been displayed. Cincinnati thrives off forcing turnovers on the defensive end and then capitalizing and turning those into points.
When Cincy plays with the lead, they are a strong team but when playing from behind, they have struggled this season when trying to mount the comeback.
Burrow doesn’t seem to think the finger will limit him, and it probably won’t. Still, the 49ers’ defense knows he has an injured finger on his throwing hand and will more than likely try and put him in positions to use it excessively. They will target his hand when he’s dropping back to try and force a fumble or a strip-sack and make the Cincinnati signal-caller uncomfortable.
The Bengals need to be aware of that. That’s why limiting the usage as much as possible and limiting high-risk plays will be significant.