Baltimore Ravens starting quarterback Joe Flacco is officially listed as doubtful for the team's critical AFC North matchup against the Cincinnati Bengals Nov. 18, increasing the likelihood that rookie first-round pick Lamar Jackson will make his first career start in Flacco's place.
The game is seen as a must-win for the Ravens (4-5), who have lost three in a row and are in danger of missing the playoffs for the fourth straight season. Should that happen, the organization could be headed for wholesale changes during the offseason.
Jackson always figured to be part of those plans, but the Flacco injury means the rookie will probably be directing the offense in what shapes up as the most important regular-season game of head coach John Harbaugh's 11-year tenure.
Flacco has been dealing with a hip injury sustained early in the Week 9 loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers. He has missed just six games during his 11-year career, all in 2015 when he suffered a torn ACL. Flacco did not practice all week, and while Harbaugh said that would not preclude Flacco from taking the field against the Bengals, it seems highly unlikely.
The next man up appears to be Jackson, who was back on the practice field Nov. 16 after missing the previous day's workout with an illness. Harbaugh has refused to tip his hand as to whether Jackson or Robert Griffin III -- or Flacco -- would start against the Bengals.
Harbaugh declined to name a starting quarterback after the Nov. 16 workout, adding with a grin, "I guarantee that there will be a quarterback starting, and every [offensive] play, there will be at least one quarterback on the field."
Indications are that the starter will be Jackson, who has played in all nine games, primarily in two-quarterback sets alongside Flacco. If Flacco is inactive, Griffin will be in uniform for the first time in the regular season as a Raven, as he has been a game day inactive for all nine games this season. Any of the two-quarterback sets the Ravens have been using this year would therefore feature a pair of former Heisman Trophy winners on the field together.
The Ravens have ruled out offensive tackle James Hurst (back), who will miss his fourth straight game, and outside linebacker Tim Williams (ankle), who will miss his second straight. Hurst's injury means rookie Orlando Brown Jr. will be in line to make his fourth consecutive start at right tackle, where he will face off against Bengals Pro Bowl defensive lineman Carlos Dunlap.
Also for the Ravens, tackle Ronnie Stanley (ankle) and safety Tony Jefferson (thigh) practiced fully Nov. 16 after being limited earlier in the week, and they are expected to play.
The Bengals (5-4), meanwhile, are expected to be without All-Pro wide receiver A.J. Green, doubtful with a toe injury. Green had three touchdown catches during the Bengals' 34-23 win against the Ravens in Week 2.
The Bengals will also be without a pair of starting linebackers, as Preston Brown and Nick Vigil have been ruled out with knee injuries, and linebacker Vontaze Burfict (hip) is questionable. He was a limited practice participant all week.
The Bengals rank last in the league in overall defense, 31st in rushing defense and last in passing defense.
Here is the full final injury report:
OUT -- T James Hurst (back), LB Tim Williams (ankle)
DOUBTFUL -- QB Joe Flacco (hip)
QUESTIONABLE -- S Tony Jefferson (thigh), T Ronnie Stanley (ankle), CB Tavon Young (ankle)
OUT -- LB Preston Brown (knee), WR Josh Malone (hamstring), LB Nick Vigil (knee), DT Adolphus Washington (knee), TE Tyler Kroft (foot -- placed on injured reserve)
DOUBTFUL -- WR A.J. Green (toe)
QUESTIONABLE -- LB Vontaze Burfict (hip), CB Dre Kirkpatrick (concussion), WR John Ross (groin)