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Ja’Marr Chase injury could impact Miami Dolphins, AFC playoff picture [Updated]

Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver Ja’Marr Chase is week-to-week with a hip injury. The Bengals’ loss could impact the AFC playoff picture.

Atlanta Falcons v Cincinnati Bengals Photo by Justin Casterline/Getty Images

[UPDATE]: Cincinnati Bengals head coach Zac Taylor indicated on Saturday that wide receiver Ja’Marr Chase will not be placed on injured reserve, via The Athletic’s Paul Dehner, Jr. Keeping Chase off IR will allow him to return whenever his hip injury is cleared. If he were placed on IR, Chase would miss the next four games for the Bengals, which, with the bye week, would keep him out of action for five weeks. With the previous four- to six-week prognosis, this could be a sign that Cincinnati is hopeful that he will be back by the four-week end of the prognosis.

Teams that lose the Super Bowl often find it difficult the following year to make it back to the playoffs. The Cincinnati Bengals, 2021’s AFC Champions, are looking to avoid that “Super Bowl hangover” in 2022, but the battle just got a lot more difficult for them. According to multiple media reports, Bengals wide receiver Ja’Marr Chase sustained a hip injury that will keep him out of action for four to six weeks and land him on injured reserve.

Chase initially injured the hip in Week 6, then tried to play through it but aggravated the situation last week against the Atlanta Falcons. He has not practiced this week, though the Bengals have not yet officially made an announcement on moving Chase to the injured reserve list.

In 2021, Chase made the Pro Bowl and was selected as a Second-Team All-Pro as a rookie after catching 81 passes for 1,455 yards with 13 touchdowns. He added 25 receptions for 368 yards with a score in the Bengals’ playoff run. This year he has caught 74 passes for 605 yards with six scores. He had 15 receptions for 232 yards with four touchdowns over the last two weeks.

Once he is placed on injured reserve, Chase will miss at least four games for the Bengals. They play at the Cleveland Browns this weekend, then host the Carolina Panthers in Week 9. After their Week 10 bye week, the Bengals are at the Pittsburgh Steelers and at the Tennessee Titans in Week 11 and 12. If Chase is out the full six weeks, he would also miss the team’s Week 13 game against the Kansas City Chiefs.

At 4-3, the Bengals are currently a half-game behind the Baltimore Ravens in the AFC North, following Baltimore’s win last night on Thursday Night Football. Cincinnati is in the eighth position in the AFC, with the top seven teams making the playoffs. The loss of Chase could cause the Bengals to fall further outside the AFC playoff picture over the next several weeks.

For teams like the Miami Dolphins, who are likely battling for a Wildcard position this year, the loss of Chase for the Bengals could open the door to a playoff spot. Like Cincinnati, the Dolphins are 4-3 on the season, but are currently in the sixth position in the conference, putting them inside the current playoff picture.

The Bengals beat the Dolphins earlier this year, giving them the head-to-head tiebreak if it is needed at the end of the season. Miami is currently positioned ahead of Cincinnati because the Los Angeles Chargers are also 4-3, creating a three-way tie without all three teams having played each other. With three teams tied and no head-to-head sweep able to break the tie, the next tiebreak is in-conference winning percentage, with the Dolphins and Chargers both 4-2 and the Bengals 2-2 this season.

For more on the Chase injury and all things Bengals, make sure to check out Cincy Jungle.