The AFC North has been the most competitive division in the NFL, but will season-ending injuries to Joe Burrow and Deshaun Watson change the landscape of the entire AFC and what does those injuries mean for the Baltimore Ravens and Pittsburgh Steelers, who now have a prettier path to the playoffs?
Let’s start with the Cincinnati Bengals who lost franchise quarterback Joe Burrow for the season following a wrist injury in the team’s lost to the Baltimore Ravens on Thursday night. The injury occurred after Burrow landed on the wrist following a tackle by Ravens defensive end Jadeveon Clowney. With an MRI confirmed a torn ligament in the wrist, the Bengals worst fear was realized…no more Joe Burrow in 2023.
Can the Cincinnati Bengals make noise in the AFC North without Joe Burrow?
While the 5-5 Bengals still have a chance to make some noise in the AFC North, the path is obviously more difficult without Burrow who was obviously crushed over the news that his season has ended due to the injury.
“It’s tough,” Burrow said Friday, as transcribed by ESPN. “You work so hard for seasons and moments like these. Whenever you get hurt and it ends early, it’s tough to handle. That’s a part of the game.”
After a slow start, the Bengals were starting to look like a power in the AFC again, but this blow has backup quarterback Jake Browning as the potential savior of the season. In beating out Trevor Siemian in training camp, the second-year quarterback out of the University of Washington now has an opportunity to write his story in the NFL.
“He’s a big part of this team obviously,” Browning said of Burrow. “But I’m not going to hide the fact that I’m excited for my opportunity. I think everybody in here, including Joe, kind of knows that.”
With Burrow expected to still be around the team, Browning will have an extra coach and supporter to lean on as he and the Bengals hope to survive the season without Joe Burrow as the Cleveland Browns will try to do without Deshaun Watson.