The Cincinnati Bengals host the Los Angeles Rams at 8:15 p.m ET on Monday Night Football. It's a rematch of the 2022 Super Bowl with several key storylines still intact — primarily the QB battle between Joe Burrow and Matthew Stafford.
That said, there has been doubt hanging over Burrow's availability for the contest. The 26-year-old has struggled out of the gates, completing 56.9 percent of his passes for 304 yards, two touchdowns and one interception across two Cincinnati losses.
Burrow missed the majority of training camp and the preseason with a calf injury, which the QB re-aggravated during the Bengals' Week 2 loss to Baltimore. On Friday, Burrow was seen carting around Bengals practice with team owner Mike Brown. Most fans read it as an ominous sign.
Burrow signed the most lucrative contract in NFL history days before the season. Cincinnati's questionable handling of his injury has evoked the fury of national media pundits and locals. It would make a great deal of sense to hold Burrow out for Week 3's showdown with the Rams, but the Bengals can ill-afford to start the season 0-3.
Is Joe Burrow playing tonight? Injury update for Rams vs. Bengals on MNF
Burrow is officially listed as questionable but he is expected to play, barring a setback, according to Kelsey Conway of the Enqurier.
This news probably sparks mixed feelings in the Bengals fanbase. On one hand, it's Joe Burrow — he's maybe the second-best QB in the league when right, and the Bengals need to put their best foot forward in the face of a potentially insurmountable 0-3 hole.
On the other hand, Burrow has been quite bad for two weeks and his Week 2 calf flare-up doesn't inspire much confidence. Even if Burrow is feeling better, the safe option is to let him spend a full 14 days recovering and recuperating before unleashing him on a beatable Tennessee Titans team in Week 5.
It would appear the Bengals are rolling with Option A at the moment. That could change between now and kickoff, but Burrow is a competitive dude who has already gutted it out through two subpar performances to open the season. He wants to be on the field and the Bengals could use him out there if he is indeed closer to 100 percent.
Injury timeline: Burrow was initially carted off the Bengals practice field on July 27, early in camp. He re-aggravated the calf injury last Sunday when the Bengals lost to the Baltimore Ravens.
Expected return: Monday night, Sept. 25 against the Rams.
Potential replacements: If Burrow can't suit up, the Bengals will turn to Jake Browning. Former NFL backup turned XFL star A.J. McCarron was added to the practice squad this week as insurance.
We will keep this post updated if the news evolves.