The 49ers need Deebo Samuel to beat most teams.
Without him, the 49ers probably would have lost to the Bears a month ago. And they did lose to the awful Seahawks without him this past Sunday. He is their running game, which is the engine of the team. So if he sits out another week with a groin injury, the 49ers will have an extremely difficult time beating the Bengals.
The 49ers should sit him anyway.
Unless Samuel is 100 percent healthy, the 49ers must resist the urge to rush him back into action. Because if he reaggravates his groin injury and has to miss the rest of the season, the 49ers would be screwed.
"Deebo, we'll go day-to-day with him," head coach Kyle Shanahan said on Monday. "I'm hoping to get him back this week, but it's still too early to tell.”
Hoping is fair, because there's a possibility Samuel's groin will make a full recovery by this Sunday. But that is highly unlikely. And it's not worth risking further injury to the 49ers best player just to win one game.
Because technically the 49ers don't have to beat the Bengals. This is not a must-win game.
The 49ers have to win three of their next five games to make the playoffs (if they finish with nine wins, they most likely will get a Wild Card spot). Two of their remaining five games are home games they should win -- they're playing the Falcons and Texans.
Which means the 49ers have to take care of business at home, and then win one of their remaining three road games. Just one. And Cincinnati doesn't have to be the one.
So be smart. Sit Samuel one more week.