The Cincinnati Bengals are expected to not have one of their key offensive playmakers this week when they take on the Cleveland Browns for the second of their two matchups. According to ESPN's Adam Schefter, Bengals running back Joe Mixon has been ruled out of Sunday's Week 7 matchup due to a foot injury. Mixon has not practiced all week due to the injury, so this development does not come as much of a surprise.
Mixon injured his foot during the second quarter of the Bengals' 31-27 loss to the Indianapolis Colts, but was able to later return to the game. Mixon finished the contest with 54 rushing yards and a touchdown on 18 carries, and also caught two passes for 15 yards. The former Oklahoma star has had to deal with a couple of injuries this season, but Week 7 will be the first game this year in which he is inactive.
Mixon has rushed 119 times for 428 yards and three touchdowns in six games this season. The former second-round pick in the 2017 NFL Draft signed a four-year, $48 million extension earlier this offseason after rushing for 1,137 yards and five touchdowns while averaging 4.1 yards per carry last year. Cincinnati leaned on Mixon heavily during its first matchup with Cleveland in Week 2, as Mixon touched the ball 20 times for a total of 86 yards in the 35-30 loss.
With Mixon out, expect Giovani Bernard to step up in his place.
Bernard has rushed 12 times for 44 yards and one touchdown so far this season, and also has caught 16 passes for 115 yards. The Browns have the No. 4 defense in the league when it comes to rushing yards allowed per game, so Bernard certainly has his work cut out for him. It's possible the Bengals could keep the ball in the air for the majority of the matchup -- which would fall in line with how their Week 2 matchup with the Browns went. Joe Burrow completed 37 of 61 passes for 316 yards and three touchdowns against Cleveland in September and became the first rookie since 1950 to attempt over 60 passes and not throw an interception.