It looks like the game's two best defensive tackles may not be on the field Sunday (1 p.m.-Cincinnati's Local 12) when Geno Atkins' Bengals play Fletcher Cox's Eagles in Philly.
Atkins misses his third straight game after not practicing since injuring his shoulder in the Bengals' last pre-season scrimmage on Sept. 3. Cox (abdomen) is listed as questionable after going limited Friday in his first work of the week. But he apparently did so little that Paul Domowitch, the long-time Eagles observer for The Philadelphia Inquirer, tweeted he doubts Cox plays. Atkins looked like he did more Friday than he has since the mysterious injury surfaced. Taylor has called him everything from day-to-day to week-to-week and says he's getting better but didn't want to predict a return date.
Yet the Bengals should have back defensive tackle Mike Daniels (groin) after he missed the last game at Cleveland. But even though he didn't practice this week (his wife also gave birth), head coach Zac Taylor said he'll play.
Also back is safety Shawn Williams (calf) making his season debut after missing more than a month. It's the first game for Williams since Vonn Bell replaced him in the starting lineup, but Taylor said after practice Friday he'll be a big contributor on special teams as well worked into some packages that can use him on all three downs.
TD THOMAS: If you had wide receiver Mike Thomas in the pool to score his first NFL touchdown before wide receiver A.J. Green scored his first touchdown of the season, you win. Before Thomas signed this past offseason, he played in relative obscurity with the Rams during four seasons he had just ten catches in 40 games.
He's already got six catches this season, including that four-yard slant for a touchdown on a seed thrown by rookie quarterback Joe Burrow that pulled the Bengals within 28-23 with 5:55 left last Thursday night in Cleveland.
"He got out of his cuts faster than everybody else," Taylor said. "I had to adjust when I threw it to him. Just how smooth and easy it was for him. His explosion felt different than most people."
After playing 15 snaps in the opener, Thomas got 32 the next week while wide receiver John Ross dipped from 57 to 28. Green played 57 snaps Thursday after playing 45. With the 61 passes, slot receiver Tyler Boyd's snaps went to 78 in Cleveland, 23 more than the opener. Rookie Tee Higgins vaulted from 15 to 60 in Cleveland.
Taylor didn't say Ross is the odd man out, only that it's a rotation determined by the game. Two of the Eagles' top three cornerback are under 5-10, so it would be interesting to see if the Bengals decide to match up with the 6-4 Green, the 6-2 Boyd and the 6-4 Higgins. Thomas is 6-1 and Ross is 5-11.
QB COMP: Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz started hot as a rookie back in 2016, winning his first two starts with three touchdowns, no picks and 60.6-percent passing on 43 of 71 for 468 yards. Joe Burrow is 0-2 with three TDs and a pick on 61.9-percent passing (60 of 97) for 509 yards. At the moment, Wentz is under the gun in Philly with 58.8-percent passing (50 of 85) for 512 yards, two TDs, four picks,