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AFC Playoff Picture: Bengals will be missing multiple key offensive starters Sunday

The QB and RB are out and the offensive line could be thin

The Buffalo Bills may be playing for more than a division title on late Sunday afternoon. They could be able to move up to the second or third seed in the AFC with a win.

The Cincinnati Bengals are currently the 3 seed and hold a tiebreaker over the Bills, but they have been struck hard by injuries and COVID-19 this week. Pro Bowl running back Joe Mixon is out on Sunday after testing positive for the coronavirus and is the latest Bengals starter added to their Reserve list. On Tuesday, Cincy placed safety Vonn Bell, defensive end Trey Hendrickson, center Trey Hopkins, and guard Quinton Spain on the Reserve/COVID-19 list in addition to linebacker Akeem Davis-Gaither who was on injured reserve.

Also out this Sunday is Pro Bowl quarterback Joe Burrow, who has been dealing with a nagging knee injury. With the division locked up and scenarios making it impossible to know who the possible opponents are going to be, the Bengals want Burrow ready to roll into his first postseason.

A Bills win and a Bengals loss would move Buffalo up to third in the conference if the Kansas City Chiefs beat the Denver Broncos (who are dealing with their own missing starters). If the Chiefs and Bengals both lose, the Bills would finish with the two seed if they win as well.

AFC Standings

  1. Tennessee Titans (11-5, win over KC)-yx
  2. Kansas City Chiefs (11-5, loss to TEN)-yx
  3. Cincinnati Bengals (10-6, 8-3 AFC)-yx
  4. Buffalo Bills (10-6, 4-1 AFCE, 6-5 AFC)-x
  5. New England Patriots (10-6, 3-2 AFCE, 8-3 AFC)-x
  6. Indianapolis Colts (9-7, 7-4 AFC)
  7. Los Angeles Chargers (9-7, win over LVR, 6-5 AFC)
  8. Las Vegas Raiders (9-7, loss to LAC)
  9. Pittsburgh Steelers (8-7-1)
  10. Miami Dolphins (8-8, win over BAL)
  11. Baltimore Ravens (8-8, loss to MIA)
  12. Cleveland Browns (7-9, win over DEN)
  13. Denver Broncos (7-9, loss to CLE)
  14. Houston Texans (4-11, loss to NYJ)
  15. New York Jets (4-12, win over HOU)
  16. Jacksonville Jaguars (2-14)

y- Clinched division
x- Clinched playoff spot
italics- Eliminated
*- Still to play this week