The Cincinnati Bengals are on a winning streak, securing victories in their last four games leading up to Sunday’s home matchup against the Houston Texans. However, their momentum could face a setback as one of their star receivers, Tee Higgins, is likely to be sidelined for Week 10 and potentially beyond due to a hamstring injury sustained in Wednesday’s practice, as reported by NFL Media.
On a positive note, Ja’Marr Chase, dealing with a back issue after a hard landing in Week 9, returned to practice on Thursday. Chase expressed optimism about playing against the Texans, stating, “In my head, I’m playing. Until further notice and anything else, we’ll see,” according to CLNS Media.
Chase’s injury occurred during the Bengals’ recent victory over the Bills, where he took a hard fall while attempting a downfield catch. Despite a relatively quiet game against the Bills with four receptions for 41 yards, Chase leads the team with 64 receptions for 697 yards and four touchdowns in eight games.
Higgins, who overcame a recent rib injury, delivered an impressive performance with season-highs of eight receptions for 110 yards in the win over Buffalo. As a 2020 second-round pick, Higgins played a key role in the Bengals’ back-to-back AFC North division titles by posting consecutive 1,000-yard receiving seasons in the past two years.
While Chase and Higgins are irreplaceable, the Bengals have viable alternatives if they have to play without either player on Sunday, with Higgins being the more likely absence. Tyler Boyd, the team’s veteran wideout, remains a reliable target for quarterback Joe Burrow and has scored touchdowns in two of the last three games.
Additional reinforcements include rookie wideout Andrei Iosivas, wideout Trenton Irwin, and the tight end trio of Irv Smith Jr., Drew Sample, and Tanner Hudson, who collectively recorded 10 catches for 101 yards and two touchdowns against the Bills.
In the absence of key receivers, Cincinnati’s offense could also pivot towards a more ground-focused approach, relying on the skills of running back Joe Mixon, who not only contributes in the running game but also ranks fourth on the team in receptions. The Bengals will look to maintain their winning streak and adapt to the challenges posed by the potential absence of key offensive weapons in Week 10.