Lamar Jackson Says He Can’t Go, Bengals Will Use Ravens As Warm Up To Potential Super Sunday Return

Without Lamar Jackson, Bengals will win easily in Wild Card game
(Getty Images)

Lamar Jackson and the Baltimore Ravens seem to be at an impasse, and while they may not currently be in contract talks Jackson’s absence following a knee injury last month says a mouthful.

With the team scheduled to face division rival Cincinnati in back-to-back weeks, but this time in the playoffs, any hope the Ravens have of pulling the upset was obliterated by the latest news of Jackson’s injury.

That leaves Ravens coaches without their best player in a crucial playoff game. 

John Harbaugh Hoped Lamar Jackson Would Be Ready To Play 

During Wednesday’s post practice presser, head coach John Harbaugh didn’t sound as if Jackson would practice Thursday and Friday and be ready for Sunday’s matchup.

Harbaugh said Jackson was “working super hard” to play in the postseason.

“He wants to play,” Harbaugh said. There’s no doubt. That’s my feeling.”

Jackson hasn’t played since Dec. 4 and hasn’t practiced since Dec. 2.

In many ways Harbaugh didn’t have much to say about Jackson’s return, and it’s been pretty much been that way the last four weeks.

“I don’t really have an update right now to share with you,” Harbaugh told reporters. 

Harbaugh did say that his superstar QB “has been in great spirits.”

“Hopefully it’s progressing to the point where he can get to practice sometime soon,” Harbaugh said. That’s really all we’re hoping for, for sure. When we have something to report on that we will, honestly, it’s just the truth of it.”

Now, Jackson has finally spoken so it’s official. Ravens will go to war with a heavy dose of backup Tyler Huntley coming your way at Paul Brown Stadium on Sunday night.

Jackson Announces He Isn’t Playing Sunday

In a tweet on Thursday, the dynamic Jackson summed up what he’s dealing with and from all indications he won’t be available Sunday in Cincy.

 

This is where Jackson not having a contract beyond this season comes into play. With him being injured, he’s going to make sure that he’s totally back to health before he takes another snap, and while he probably would do it even if he were under contract he’s definitely going to make sure he’s 100 percent before returning.

This is a byproduct of Jackson and the Ravens not coming to an agreement in the offseason. Now their franchise player is protecting his health and well-being, which could cost the Ravens their season.

Without LJ8 Beating Bengals Becomes Much Tougher

The Bengals are the defending AFC champions who were 45 yards away from winning the Super Bowl. They’re led by their calm signal caller, Joe Burrow, the 2020 No.1 overall pick. What he’s done is lead them on an eight-game winning streak heading into the playoffs. With a plethora of weapons in Ja’Marr Chase, Tee Higgins, Tyler Boyd and running backs Joe Mixon and Samaje Perine at his disposal, it’s hard to envision the Ravens going into Cincy and winning that game.

That becomes nearly impossible without Jackson, who can flip the field on any play and throws fear into any defense he faces.

No matter what happens Sunday, expect the Ravens to slap the franchise tag on Jackson if a deal can’t be reached in the offseason. Can’t afford to lose him for nothing; he’s way too valuable.

The Bengals have plenty of unfinished business in the AFC and have no fear of Patrick Mahomes or Josh Allen. Burrowing is a big game QB and Cincy will throw the house at Baltimore and try to knock the low-octane offense off its square from the jump.