Appearing on Monday's edition of NFL Total Access, NFL Media Insider Ian Rapoport reported that Andy Dalton is still a few weeks away from returning to game action. As a result, he likely would not be available to play until the Divisional Round.
Cincinnati missed its best chance to wrap up a first-round playoff bye -- and an opportunity to play at least one less game without Dalton -- with Monday's 20-17 overtime loss to the Broncos. Unless the Broncos lose to the Chargers in their regular-season finale, the Bengals likely will be playing on Wild Card Weekend.
The bottom line is that Cincinnati's starting quarterback is out for Week 17 and highly unlikely for the wild-card round of the playoffs. The earliest expectation for a return is the Divisional Round, though nothing is guaranteed.