Titans running back Derrick Henry (22) flies past Redskins safety Ha Ha Clinton-Dix (20) as he heads in for the team's first touchdown in the first quarter Nissan Stadium Saturday, Dec. 22, 2018, in Nashville, Tenn.

Spac 6152022827 Henry

Titans’ power play: Derrick Henry likely ready for Bengals

Derrick Henry hopes to make a triumphant return as the top-seeded Tennessee Titans host the upstart Cincinnati Bengals in an AFC divisional playoff game in Nashville, Tenn., on Saturday.

Henry is expected to be activated from injured reserve and play for the first time since sustaining a fractured right foot on Oct. 31. Prior to the injury, the bruising back led the NFL with 219 carries for 937 yards and 10 touchdowns.

“It’s been a while since he’s had contact,” Titans coach Mike Vrabel said of Henry. “We’re going to have to do these things that come close to replicating what’s going to be asked of him in a football game. We’ll have a week of work, we’ll see how he feels and make a decision.”

Henry would love a repeat of his 2019 performance in the playoffs, as he became the first player in NFL history to rush for 175 or more yards in back-to-back games. He participated in a padded practice Tuesday and said Wednesday he plans to contribute, but to what degree remains uncertain.

Whatever I can do to help, I am always for it,” Henry said. “… I am ready to go out there and play.”

Whether it’s Henry receiving the full workload or D’Onta Foreman tasked with carrying the mail, the Titans face a stern test against the Bengals’ fifth-ranked rush defense (102.5 yards per game). Tennessee received a boost from Foreman (566 rushing yards, three touchdowns in nine games) to finish the regular season with the fifth-ranked rushing offense (141.4 yards).

“I think we kind of stuck to our guns, and I think the stats will show that,” quarterback Ryan Tannehill said. “We ran the ball really well, even with Derrick out.

“If he is back (for Saturday), it’ll be nice to have him back. But I feel like we’ve stuck to our guns and our game plan and we can insert him back in.”

The threat of a viable play-action passing game should benefit Tannehill (3,734 passing yards, 21 touchdowns, 14 interceptions), who endured a statistically mediocre season at best.

A.J. Brown was Tannehill’s most trusted target with team-leading totals in catches (63), receiving yards (869) and receiving touchdowns (five) despite playing in just 13 games. The Titans have posted an 11-2 record in games in which Brown has played.

Tennessee rested last week with the No. 1 seed in the AFC, while the Bengals outlasted the Raiders 26-19 in the wildcard matchup in Cincinnati.

On the opposite sideline resides confident second-year quarterback Joe Burrow, who set franchise records in passing yards (4,611) and touchdown passes (34) this season while completing an NFL-best 70.4 percent of his attempts. Burrow fired two touchdown passes in his first career playoff start last weekend, leading fourth-seeded Cincinnati past the Raiders.

Considering Burrow is no stranger when it comes to competing for championships, a wild-card victory wasn’t the end-all, be-all for him.

“I tried to downplay it and all that because this is how it’s gonna be from here on out,” Burrow said. “It was a great win for us. But now this is the standard for the bare minimum every year going forward.”

Rookie Ja’Marr Chase had nine catches for 116 receiving yards in his playoff debut to help the Bengals secured their first postseason win since the 1990 season.

The Burrow-Chase connection has helped Cincinnati average a league seventh-best 27.1 points per game. Tennessee, in turn, finished sixth in scoring defense (20.8).

Bengals standout defensive end Trey Hendrickson’s availability for this weekend is in question after he sustained a concussion in the third quarter against the Raiders. But Hendrickson was a full participant in Wednesday’s practice, a sign of measured progress.

“Progressing through the concussion protocol in a positive manner,” Cincinnati coach Zac Taylor said of Hendrickson, who totaled an NFL fifth-best 14 sacks en route to earning his first Pro Bowl selection. Hendrickson’s career-best total topped the 13.5 he had in 2020 for the New Orleans Saints.

Bengals defensive tackle Josh Tupou (knee) and wide receiver Stanley Morgan (hamstring) were limited in Wednesday’s practice.

Tennessee defensive lineman Teair Tart (ankle) was listed as limited on Tuesday’s injury report after sitting out the season finale against the Houston Texans. Cornerback Janoris Jenkins (ankle) missed practice on Wednesday.

–Field Level Media

Cincinnati Bengals defensive end Trey Hendrickson (91) causes a sack and fumble of Las Vegas Raiders quarterback Derek Carr (4) in the first quarter during an NFL AFC wild-card playoff game, Saturday, Jan. 15, 2022, at Paul Brown Stadium in Cincinnati.

Las Vegas Raiders At Cincinnati Bengals Jan 15 Afc Wild Card Game

Bengals DE Trey Hendrickson (concussion) making progress

Cincinnati Bengals standout defensive end Trey Hendrickson was a limited practice participant on Tuesday, three days after sustaining a concussion during a playoff win over the Las Vegas Raiders.

Hendrickson was injured during the third quarter of the 26-19 victory in the AFC wild-card matchup.

“Progressing through the concussion protocol in a positive manner,” Bengals coach Zac Taylor said of Hendrickson during his Tuesday media session with reporters.

Taylor said Hendrickson will need to complete the team’s concussion process before he could be cleared to play in Saturday’s divisional playoff game against the Tennessee Titans. Getting cleared to participate in contact practices will be one of the upcoming steps.

Hendrickson had a key sack and forced fumble on Raiders quarterback Derek Carr to set up a Cincinnati field goal on Saturday.

In the regular season, the 27-year-old Hendrickson racked up 14 sacks, which ranked fifth in the NFL, while earning his first Pro Bowl selection. His career-best total topped the 13.5 he had in 2020 for the New Orleans Saints.

Defensive tackle Josh Tupou (knee) also was limited in practice. Tupou missed the game against the Raiders due to his injury.

Receiver Stanley Morgan (hamstring) also was limited. He also sat out versus the Raiders.

Cincinnati also released guard Xavier Su’a-Filo on Tuesday one day after activating him off injured reserve. He hasn’t played since Week 2 due to a knee injury.

The eight-year veteran played in just eight games (seven starts) in two seasons with the Bengals.

–Field Level Media

Cincinnati Bengals defensive tackle Larry Ogunjobi (65) celebrates after recovering a fumble forced by Cincinnati Bengals defensive end Trey Hendrickson (91) in the first half the AFC wild card game between the Cincinnati Bengals and the Las Vegas Raiders on Saturday, Jan. 15, 2022, at Paul Brown Stadium in Cincinnati.

Las Vegas Raiders At Cincinnati Bengals Playoff Ac 162

Bengals put DT Larry Ogunjobi (foot) on IR

The Cincinnati Bengals put starting defensive tackle Larry Ogunjobi on injured reserve Monday after he suffered a foot injury in their wild-card victory.

Offensive guard Xavier Su’a-Filo was activated from IR and added to the 53-man roster. He had been on IR since Oct. 9 with a knee injury.

Ogunjobi played just 28 defensive snaps before getting carted off with the injury Saturday against Las Vegas. Ogunjobi had a fumble recovery in the game.

Ogunjobi, 27, had 49 tackles and seven sacks in 16 starts in his first season in Cincy.

Su’a-Filo, 31, started Cincinnati’s first two regular-season games at right guard before getting hurt.

The Bengals visit the top-seeded Tennessee Titans on Saturday in an AFC divisional playoff game.

–Field Level Media

Jan 9, 2022; Detroit, Michigan, USA; Green Bay Packers center Lucas Patrick (62) celebrates with quarterback Aaron Rodgers (12) during the fourth quarter at Ford Field. Mandatory Credit: Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports

NFL announces divisional-round playoff schedule

With one game still play in the opening round of the NFL playoffs, the league on Sunday announced the schedule for next weekend’s divisional round.

Saturday’s action kicks off with a matchup between the Tennessee Titans and Cincinnati Bengals at 4:30 p.m. ET on CBS. The top-seeded Titans will be well-rested following a first-round bye, while the fourth-seeded Bengals prevailed against the Las Vegas Raiders on Saturday 26-19.

The Titans and Bengals did not meet during the regular season.

Saturday’s nightcap (8:15 p.m. ET, FOX) features the NFC’s top seed, the Green Bay Packers, playing host to the sixth-seeded San Francisco 49ers in a rematch from a wild Week 3 contest. Green Bay snuck out of the Bay Area with a 30-28 triumph in that one as Aaron Rodgers engineered a last-minute drive that Mason Crosby punctuated with a 51-yard field goal on the final play.

The Packers, who had a first-round bye, won five straight games late in the season before losing to the Detroit Lions in a meaningless Week 18 matchup. The 49ers closed the regular season with seven wins in their final nine games and then rode the momentum to a 23-17 road victory against the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday.

Next Sunday’s first game will take place at Tampa Bay, where the second-seeded Buccaneers will play host to either the No. 4 Los Angeles Rams or the No. 5 Arizona Cardinals at 3 p.m. ET on NBC. The Rams and Cardinals are set to square off Monday night in the final game of wild-card weekend.

The defending champion Bucs disposed of the Philadelphia Eagles 31-15 on Sunday. Tampa Bay lost to the host Rams 34-24 in Week 3. Tom Brady and the Bucs did not face the Cardinals this season.

The Kansas City Chiefs will play host to the Buffalo Bills on Sunday (6:30 p.m. ET on CBS) in the final game of the divisional round. Second-seeded Kansas City routed the Pittsburgh Steelers 42-21 on Sunday evening, while No. 3 seed Buffalo obliterated the New England Patriots 47-17 one day earlier.

The teams met back in Week 5, when the Bills went into Kansas City and left with a 38-20 victory behind Josh Allen’s three passing TDs and one rushing score.

The conference championship games will take place on Jan. 30 and the Super Bowl will be on Feb. 13 at Inglewood, Calif.

–Field Level Media

Cincinnati Bengals defensive end Trey Hendrickson (91) causes a sack and fumble of Las Vegas Raiders quarterback Derek Carr (4) in the first quarter during an NFL AFC wild-card playoff game, Saturday, Jan. 15, 2022, at Paul Brown Stadium in Cincinnati.

Las Vegas Raiders At Cincinnati Bengals Jan 15 Afc Wild Card Game

Bengals star DE Trey Hendrickson placed in concussion protocol

Cincinnati Bengals standout defensive end Trey Hendrickson is in the concussion protocol, coach Zac Taylor said on Sunday.

Hendrickson was injured during the third quarter of Saturday’s 26-19 victory over the Las Vegas Raiders.

Taylor said Hendrickson will need to complete the team’s concussion process before he could be cleared to play in next weekend’s divisional playoff round.

“It’s really a daily thing, the process will start on Tuesday him getting cleared and then he’s got to do physical activities and get back to contact practice,” Taylor said. “There’s certainly enough time in the week to get that done if he’s feeling up to it and clear day-to-day.”

Hendrickson had a key sack and forced fumble on Raiders quarterback Derek Carr to set up a Cincinnati field goal on Saturday.

In the regular season, the 27-year-old Hendrickson racked up 14 sacks, which ranked fifth in the NFL, while earning his first Pro Bowl selection. His career-best total topped the 13.5 he had in 2020 for the New Orleans Saints.

Defensive tackle Larry Ogunjobi injured a foot in the third quarter and Taylor said doctors are still determining the seriousness. Ogunjobi recovered the fumble that Hendrickson forced.

Defensive tackle Mike Daniels (groin) was injured and will likely sit out next week.

Taylor said there was “a chance” defensive tackle Josh Tupou could return. He missed the game against the Raiders with a knee injury.

–Field Level Media

Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver Tyler Boyd catches a touchdown pass in the second quarter.

Syndication The Enquirer

Report: Bengals-Raiders officiating crew done for playoffs

The officiating crew for Saturday’s Las Vegas Raiders-Cincinnati Bengals AFC wild-card game is not expected to work again this postseason, according to a report from ESPN that cited an unnamed league source.

The crew, led by referee Jerome Boger, fell under scrutiny for a few issues, most notably a whistle that was blown during a play that saw Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow throw a touchdown pass to Tyler Boyd in the back of the end zone late in the second quarter.

The report indicated that the officials, an assembly of members from other regular-season crews, as is customary during the postseason, would not receive high grades for the game.

On the play, Burrow was scrambling and released the football just before he stepped out of bounds. Replay indicated that the whistle, which the officials called inadvertent, came while the ball was in the air and just before Boyd made the catch. The defender closest to Boyd appeared to ease up on the play just before the catch was made.

However, the officiating crew “determined that they had a whistle, but that the whistle for them on the field was blown after the receiver caught the ball,” according to Walt Anderson, the league’s senior vice president of officiating, who spoke to a pool reporter after the game.

The Bengals extended their lead to 20-6 with the score, and held on for a 26-19 win thanks to a goal-line interception of Raiders quarterback Derek Carr in the closing seconds.

–Field Level Media

Oct 31, 2021; East Rutherford, New Jersey, USA; Cincinnati Bengals defensive end Josh Tupou (68) during the first half against the New York Jets at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

Bengals DT Josh Tupou inactive vs. Raiders

Cincinnati Bengals defensive tackle Josh Tupou is one of the team’s inactives for Saturday’s AFC wild-card game against the visiting Las Vegas Raiders.

Tupou injured his knee during last Sunday’s 21-16 loss to the Cleveland Browns. He didn’t practice all week and was listed as doubtful.

Tupou started nine of 17 games played this season and had 12 tackles.

The Raiders will have defensive tackle Johnathan Hankins on the field. He was questionable with back and knee injuries.

Hankins had 38 tackles in 14 regular-season games.

–Field Level Media

Nov 28, 2021; Cincinnati, Ohio, USA; Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow (9) reacts after scoring a touchdown against the Pittsburgh Steelers in the first half at Paul Brown Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Katie Stratman-USA TODAY Sports

Bengals heavily backed against Raiders on short rest

The Cincinnati Bengals haven’t won a playoff game since the 1990 season, while the Raiders franchise now housed in Las Vegas last claimed a postseason victory during a 2002 season run to the Super Bowl.

A long drought will end for one of the franchises on Saturday when the fifth-seeded Raiders (10-7) battle the fourth-seeded Bengals (10-7) in an AFC wild-card contest in Cincinnati.

The Bengals opened as 5.0-point favorites at BetMGM but the line moved to 5.5 with Cincinnati being backed by the most tickets at the sportsbook. The Raiders have now been backed by 43 percent of the bets and 44 percent of the handle at BetMGM.

The line has remained at 5.0 at DraftKings, where the Bengals are being backed by 63 percent of the bets and 73 of the spread-line bets – both are the highest among the six games on Wildcard Weekend.

The Bengals have dropped eight consecutive playoff games, a skid that began with a 20-10 loss to the then-Los Angeles Raiders in the 1990-91 divisional round.

In recent years, Cincinnati locals have attributed the lack of postseason success to the “Curse of Bo Jackson.” In that game against the Raiders 31 years ago, linebacker Kevin Walker tackled Jackson after a 34-yard gain and Jackson injured his hip and never played another down of football.

The curse was news to third-year Bengals coach Zac Taylor when he was quizzed about it.

“We’re just way more focused on 2021, the present and going forward,” Taylor said. “So it’s OK to be aware of what’s gone on previously, but that’s not anything that takes up our time or our focus.”

The Raiders are in the postseason for just the second time since being clobbered 48-21 by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Super Bowl XXXVII.

They reached the postseason as the Oakland Raiders during the 2016 season, but quarterback Derek Carr missed the 27-14 wild-card loss to the Houston Texans due to a broken right fibula.

Carr and running back Jalen Richard are the team’s only players left from the 2016 squad.

“I hurt for him back then in 2016 when he wasn’t able to finish the season the way he wanted to finish it because again he was having such a stellar season,” Richard told reporters. “But now he’s coming in and he’s glowing. … I can’t wait to see him out there.”

Carr passed for a franchise-record 4,804 yards this season to go with 23 touchdowns and 14 interceptions.

He helped the Raiders win their last four games — each victory pivotal as Las Vegas didn’t clinch a berth until the final second of a 35-32 overtime win over the Los Angeles Chargers on Sunday. The Raiders went 4-0 in OT games.

They now travel to Cincinnati on a short week to play another must-win game.

An unpleasant memory for Carr was the home game against the Bengals on Nov. 21 when Cincinnati pulled away in the fourth quarter for a convincing 32-13 victory.

Carr passed for 215 yards, one touchdown and one interception. Bengals back Joe Mixon was the star with 123 yards and two touchdowns on 30 carries.

“I felt that we didn’t put our best foot forward,” Carr said. “But at the same time, I don’t want to take anything away from them because they beat us and they did a good job of stopping us and getting the ball from us and all those things.

“It will be an exciting challenge for us.”

Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow passed for a career-low 148 yards in the November contest. However, the second-year pro was hot down the stretch with 11 touchdowns and no interceptions over his final four appearances.

Burrow passed for 971 yards in his last two games — a career-high 525 against the Baltimore Ravens in Week 16 and 446 vs. the Kansas City Chiefs the following week.

Overall, Burrow set franchise records of 4,611 yards and 34 touchdowns while being intercepted 14 times.

However, the 25-year-old quarterback is more interested in snapping that long stretch of feebleness in the postseason.

“I grew up in Ohio,” Burrow said. “I knew exactly everything that everybody says about the Bengals. I had a bunch of friends that are Bengals fans growing up, and I knew they hadn’t won a playoff game in a long time.”

The Bengals likely will be without defensive tackle Josh Tupou (knee), who was listed as doubtful after not practicing all week. Defensive back Ricardo Allen (concussion) and wide receiver Stanley Morgan (hamstring) are questionable after taking part in limited practice Wednesday and Thursday.

The Raiders will be without defensive tackle Darius Philon, who sustained a season-ending knee injury against the Chargers. Defensive tackle Johnathan Haskins (back, knee) returned to limited practice Thursday and is questionable.

Tight end Darren Waller (knee), running back Josh Jacobs (ribs) and cornerback Casey Hayward (ankle) were limited all week but are expected to play.

The Raiders are 2-0 in the postseason against Cincinnati, also prevailing 31-28 in the divisional round of the 1975 season playoffs.

–Field Level Media

Joe Burrow celebrates the Bengals' win over the Chiefs.

Syndication The Enquirer

Raiders, Bengals seek long-awaited playoff victory

The Cincinnati Bengals haven’t won a playoff game since the 1990 season, while the Raiders franchise now housed in Las Vegas last claimed a postseason victory during a 2002 season run to the Super Bowl.

A long drought will end for one of the franchises on Saturday when the fifth-seeded Raiders (10-7) battle the fourth-seeded Bengals (10-7) in an AFC wild-card contest in Cincinnati.

The Bengals have dropped eight consecutive playoff games, a skid that began with a 20-10 loss to the then-Los Angeles Raiders in the 1990-91 divisional round.

In recent years, Cincinnati locals have attributed the lack of postseason success to the “Curse of Bo Jackson.” In that game against the Raiders 31 years ago, linebacker Kevin Walker tackled Jackson after a 34-yard gain and Jackson injured his hip and never played another down of football.

The curse was news to third-year Bengals coach Zac Taylor when he was quizzed about it.

“We’re just way more focused on 2021, the present and going forward,” Taylor said. “So it’s OK to be aware of what’s gone on previously, but that’s not anything that takes up our time or our focus.”

The Raiders are in the postseason for just the second time since being clobbered 48-21 by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Super Bowl XXXVII.

They reached the postseason as the Oakland Raiders during the 2016 season, but quarterback Derek Carr missed the 27-14 wild-card loss to the Houston Texans due to a broken right fibula.

Carr and running back Jalen Richard are the team’s only players left from the 2016 squad.

“I hurt for him back then in 2016 when he wasn’t able to finish the season the way he wanted to finish it because again he was having such a stellar season,” Richard told reporters. “But now he’s coming in and he’s glowing. … I can’t wait to see him out there.”

Carr passed for a franchise-record 4,804 yards this season to go with 23 touchdowns and 14 interceptions.

He helped the Raiders win their last four games — each victory pivotal as Las Vegas didn’t clinch a berth until the final second of a 35-32 overtime win over the Los Angeles Chargers on Sunday. The Raiders went 4-0 in OT games.

An unpleasant memory for Carr was the home game against the Bengals on Nov. 21 when Cincinnati pulled away in the fourth quarter for a convincing 32-13 victory.

Carr passed for 215 yards, one touchdown and one interception. Bengals back Joe Mixon was the star with 123 yards and two touchdowns on 30 carries.

“I felt that we didn’t put our best foot forward,” Carr said. “But at the same time, I don’t want to take anything away from them because they beat us and they did a good job of stopping us and getting the ball from us and all those things.

“It will be an exciting challenge for us.”

Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow passed for a career-low 148 yards in the November contest. However, the second-year pro was hot down the stretch with 11 touchdowns and no interceptions over his final four appearances.

Burrow passed for 971 yards in his last two games — a career-high 525 against the Baltimore Ravens in Week 16 and 446 vs. the Kansas City Chiefs the following week.

Overall, Burrow set franchise records of 4,611 yards and 34 touchdowns while being intercepted 14 times.

However, the 25-year-old quarterback is more interested in snapping that long stretch of feebleness in the postseason.

“I grew up in Ohio,” Burrow said. “I knew exactly everything that everybody says about the Bengals. I had a bunch of friends that are Bengals fans growing up, and I knew they hadn’t won a playoff game in a long time.”

The Bengals likely will be without defensive tackle Josh Tupou (knee), while defensive back Ricardo Allen (concussion) and receiver Tee Higgins (foot) were among those limited in Wednesday’s practice.

The Raiders will be without defensive tackle Darius Philon, who sustained a season-ending knee injury against the Chargers. Defensive tackle Johnathan Haskins (back, knee) didn’t practice Tuesday nor Wednesday. Tight end Darren Waller (knee), running back Josh Jacobs (ribs) and cornerback Casey Hayward (ankle) were limited on Wednesday.

The Raiders are 2-0 in the postseason against Cincinnati, also prevailing 31-28 in the divisional round of the 1975 season playoffs.

–Field Level Media

Jan 2, 2022; Cincinnati, Ohio, USA; Cincinnati Bengals running back Joe Mixon (28) celebrates after the game against the Kansas City Chiefs at Paul Brown Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Joseph Maiorana-USA TODAY Sports

Bengals RB Joe Mixon among 7 activated from COVID list

Cincinnati Bengals running back Joe Mixon and defensive end Trey Hendrickson were among seven players activated off the reserve/COVID-19 list Monday.

The other players activated include safety Vonn Bell, defensive tackles B.J. Hill and Larry Ogunjobi, center Trey Hopkins and guard Quinton Spain.

All are expected to be ready for the Bengals’ wild-card game against the visiting Las Vegas Raiders on Saturday.

Mixon rushed for 1,205 yards and 13 touchdowns on the season. He also caught 42 passes for 314 yards and another three scores.

Hendrickson led the team with 14 sacks.

Bell, Hopkins, Ogujobi and Spain are all starters.

The Bengals also waived linebacker Austin Calitro, who appeared in five games this season.

–Field Level Media