- Coley Harvey, ESPN Staff Writer
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Newman was out the last three games of the regular season after suffering an MCL sprain in the Bengals' 42-28 win over the Colts in Week 14. Like they did in the other three games he missed, the Bengals are replacing him with second-year cornerback Dre Kirkpatrick. Last week, Kirkpatrick had two interceptions, including one he returned 21 yards for a game-icing touchdown.
Cincinnati closed out the regular season last week with a 34-17 win over the Ravens at home.
In anticipation of a likely start Sunday, Kirkpatrick told ESPN.com earlier this week that he wasn't feeling nervous about making his first career postseason start.
"You can't really get any bigger than the game I played in 2011," the University of Alabama product said. "Alabama-LSU. That game was so big, there was so much media there. I don't look at it as no different. ... Both are on the same platform for me."
It appeared Newman had a chance to play Friday when he participated in his first practice since suffering his knee injury. Even though he returned, he was listed as doubtful on the injury report and didn't seem he would be conditioned enough to play. All signs point to him possibly being healthy enough to play next week if the Bengals win Sunday. With a win in this wild-card game, the Bengals would advance to the divisional round, where they have to travel to New England to face the Patriots. Cincinnati beat New England at Paul Brown Stadium in September.
While Newman was listed among the inactives, two tight ends, Jermaine Gresham and Tyler Eifert, weren't. The pair missed last week's finale and spent much of this past week trying to get back for this game. Gresham didn't play last week after picking up a hamstring injury in the win over Minnesota the week before. Eifert suffered a stinger in that game and was shelved until this past Thursday.
Here are the inactives for both teams:
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