The Cincinnati Bengals released their final injury report for Week 15, and they will be missing some notable players. Tight end Tyler Eifert and safety George Iloka have both been ruled out for their matchup with the San Francisco 49ers. The one bit of good news for the Bengals is that cornerback Adam Jones has been listed as probable.
Eifert suffered a concussion last weekend, and did not practice at all this week. Eifert is in the middle of the best season of his career, so his absence is important. The 49ers gave up a big day to Gary Barnidge last week, and rank No. 23 (per Football Outsiders) defending tight ends.
Iloka returned from a groin injury last week, only to aggravate the injury against the Steelers. He did not practice the entire week, so his absence is not surprising. The Bengals did get Adam Jones back from a one-game absence due to a foot injury. He was limited on Wednesday and Thursday, and a full participant on Friday. He is having a big year at cornerback, so getting him back is a big deal for this pass defense.
The 49ers are a 4.5-point underdog in this game, and I have been hemming and hawing about whether or not to take the points with the 49ers. They have played much better at home than on the road, and these absences are important. I think the 49ers can keep this close, but I am concerned that we end up seeing something like the Cardinals game. The 49ers hang close, but a late touchdown wins it, putting the Bengals over the spread. I do think the 49ers can win this thing outright, but it's tough for me to figure out right now. The injuries push me more to the 49ers, but I'm probably going to take this thing down to the wire (have to decide by 7 p.m. PT tonight whether to include them in my SuperContest picks).