The Bengals got a bit of a scare on Thursday when linebacker Vontaze Burfict was held out of practice, as having the NFL’s leading tackler will be crucial to slowing down the Patriots offense on Sunday. Burfict’s placement under the “did not practice” column on Thursday’s injury report came one day after he worked in limited capacity during the Bengals’ first practice of the week.
Despite not practicing Thursday, Burfict is expected to play Sunday, according to Bengals.com’s Geoff Hobson:
No one doubts his toughness. He’s missed just five of the defense’s 273 snaps despite taking a shot in the thigh in the opener that limited him practice the next week and getting his neck dinged in Cleveland last Sunday that kept him put out of practice. But he’s expected to play.
Having Burfict is huge, especially if cornerback Leon Hall and Michael Johnson are unable to go. With Burfict, that’s arguably the Bengals’ three best defenders going against Tom Brady, who’s never lost to Cincinnati as a starting QB.
Not to mention the Bengals need to keep pace with the resurgent Cleveland Browns, who now reign atop the AFC North.