With the Broncos victory today, tonight’s game will only decide who gets to a host a first-round game against the Ravens and who will be on the road next weekend in Indianapolis.
The Bengals had eight players sick during the week and four are still listed as questionable. Some players wore masks on their flight to Pittsburgh to avoid contracting the bug going around the locker room. Andy Dalton was sent home from practice on Wednesday, though returned as a full participant on Thursday and Friday.
The Cincinnati secondary in particular was hit hard by the illness going around, with Terence Newman and Adam Jones seemingly the worst afflicted. They, along with safety Reggie Nelson, have been listed as questionable.
This is coming off one of the biggest victories of the season for the Bengals on Monday night over the Broncos. Cincy’s defense stymied Denver’s offense and intercepted Peyton Manning four times. Of course, a lot of that had to do with the play of the Bengals’ front seven, which is decidedly less affected by illness than Cincy’s secondary, though when the Steelers and Bengals met three weeks ago, Ben Roethlisberger threw for 350 yards and three touchdowns while not being sacked.