The Cincinnati Bengals have had injuries piling up on the defensive side of the ball but none bigger than the one to Trey Hendrickson in the eventual win over the Browns last week. Hendrickson apparently played with a broken wrist in that game but missed Week 15 with the injury.
Things looked bad for the defense when Tom Brady carved them up in the first half in Week 15 and fans couldn't wait for Hendrickson's return. Then, Sam Hubbard got injured and it felt like things just kept spiraling for this team.
Now that Hubbard is going to miss some time, we could see a scenario where neither playmaker is on the field this week against the Patriots. Paul Dehner Jr. of The Athletic, however, tweeted that the Bengals were optimistic about Hendrickson playing on Saturday.
Could Trey Hendrickson return for the Bengals in Week 16?
Getting Hendrickson back would be a huge boost for this team as they enter the final three game stretch of 2022, especially now that Hubbard is going to miss some time. Hendrickson led the team in sacks last season with 14.0 and while he isn't close to that number this year (he has 6.0 sacks on the year so far), having him on the field makes the defense better.
While it's not a guarantee that Hendrickson returns -- and quite frankly, I'd rather he rest up and get fully healthy for the playoffs -- if he does, the Bengals' defense should have no problem shutting down a Patriots offense that is averaging the eighth-fewest yards per game, according to Team Rankings.
Hopefully, Hendrickson is fully healthy and can make this Bengals defense a force down the stretch.