NFL Power Rankings: Cardinals rise, Broncos fall in Week 15

27 of 33

Dec 13, 2015; Cincinnati, OH, USA; Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton (14) looks on from the sidelines against the Pittsburgh Steelers in the first half at Paul Brown Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports


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Football can be a cruel game, and the Cincinnati Bengals could be about to pay the price of losing their franchise quarterback for the season. It’s been Andy Dalton’s best year to date, and he had led his team to an impressive 10-2 start before hosting the Pittsburgh Steelers.

But one bad play could derail all of the hard work the Bengals have put together this season. A poor throw by Dalton was deservedly picked off, and when trying to make a tackle, he fractured his right thumb. Ryan Fitzpatrick suffered a similar injury for the Jets, but Fitzpatrick was fortunate the injury occurred to his non-throwing hand, which is not the case for Dalton.

The best case scenario is Dalton will be back for the playoffs, but the outlook looks gloomy. Without him, the Bengals have no shot of reaching the Super Bowl, which is sad to see after a team played so well for the entire season.

One play can change everything. The Bengals can forget about their hopes of a playoff bye, and now turn to simply defending first place in the AFC North, with the Steelers now within two games.

Next: No. 6