Morning Bites (11/30): Bengals news and links

Mitch Stringer-USA TODAY Sports

Looking at the stories, previews and analysis regarding the Cincinnati Bengals from around the internet.

San Diego Chargers QB Philip Rivers resurging
With a new coaching staff and some additions at skill positions, Philip Rivers appears to have regained his form.

Update: Burfict questionable for Sunday; Gates probable
A shock wave went through Bengaldom on Friday a few hours before the Bengals boarded their charter to San Diego when the man regarded to be their most indispensable player on defense the past several weeks came up injured at practice.

Burfict questionable after spraining ankle
The Bengals hopes of being at full strength at linebacker hit a bit of a roadblock on Friday when Vontaze Burfict sprained his ankle during practice.

Practice injury has Cincinnati Bengals' Vontaze Burfict questionable
The NFL's leading tackler could be missing in action this weekend due to an injury he suffered in practice Friday afternoon.

Tipping point?
It will be recalled the last time the Bengals flew west, left end Carlos Dunlap went off with two huge sacks-and-strips of Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers in the red zone or thereabouts. In a game the Bengals held Rivers out of the end zone to craft a 20-13 victory; those two plays were slightly bigger than the Continental Divide.

The Walkthrough: Numbers behind pass defense success
Wrote for today’s paper about the Bengals secondary and, in particular, the test they are about to face down the final five weeks of the season. While doing research I came across a few numbers that still have me shaking my head and triple-checking my Moeller math.

Cincinnati Bengals expect AFC North-style slugfest
Before the first half of Thursday night's game between the Steelers and Ravens was over, players from both sides had to be separated by officials three times. The energy between the teams was so intense that Cincinnati Bengals coach Marvin Lewis joked Friday that he was waiting to see if someone would be ejected before order would be restored.

Bengals at Chargers: Numbers Watch
Each of the Cincinnati Bengals' four losses this season have come on the road. At home, they are a perfect 5-0.

Double Coverage: Cincinnati Bengals at San Diego Chargers
The Cincinnati Bengals travel to San Diego on the team's longest road trip this season to face a Chargers team that's re-energized after a big win on the road against AFC West rival Kansas City.

Former Bengal not surprised by team's success
Mike Goff hasn’t played for the Bengals in 10 years but even from 2,200 miles away he seems to have a pretty good read on them. Goff was the Bengals’ starting right guard in 2003, the first year Marvin Lewis was the head coach. It was his only season playing for Lewis but it was an impressionable season.

Week 13 Game Rankings: Broncos-Chiefs leads post-Turkey Day lineup
The Chargers, on their day, can look capable of beating any team in the NFL, but can they keep the good times rolling? They reversed their season last week with a wild comeback at Kansas City, and have the chance here to begin making a case to be the sixth seed in the AFC. Better opponents have seemed to bring out the best in them (Philadelphia, Dallas, Denver -- a close loss -- Kansas City, Indianapolis), but they have been pedestrian at home, and could use a little more oomph from the home crowd here. The Bengals re-righted their season by beating Cleveland before the bye, but with the Ravens and Steelers back in the thick of things now, too, must show they can defeat a decent opponent on the road and try to maintain that distance within their division. Yet another game where the loser will suddenly be under fire, and that much closer to seeing their playoff status in jeopardy.

NFL Week 13 preview: Examining Seattle Seahawks- New Orleans Saints, more
This game’s early pick-’em line confirms that distinguishing between these two inconsistent teams right now is darn near impossible. San Diego does have four (of its five) wins over teams currently tied for or in first place. And Cincinnati is just 2-4 away from home so far, with two OT losses on a recent road trip. Philip Rivers, with his 70.8-percent completion rate, will test Cincinnati’s banged-up secondary.

Biggest NFL games of Week 13 -- John Clayton's First and 10
Sunday's game against a Cincinnati team coming off a bye is an interesting matchup. The Chargers seem to do better against man-to-man teams, and the Bengals play a lot of man coverage. Last Sunday, the Chiefs played man and Keenan Allen had a huge game with nine catches for 124 yards. If Rivers can stay hot, the Chargers have a chance.

Learning to play football right: Some hope to bring safety back to game
As mild traumatic brain injury and chronic traumatic encephalopathy have become household phrases, participation in the country's most popular sport has slumped.

Who would win Coach of the Year if vote were held today?
Lots of places have been tracking MVP candidates as the season has gone along, but what about the coaches? This is a snapshot of the season at its current point. If the NFL Coach of the Year voting was held today, who would win?

Suspended Miami Dolphins guard Richie Incognito has struck deal to extend his ban, get partial pay, return this year
Suspended Miami Dolphins guard Richie Incognito has agreed to extend his four-game ban up to two more weeks in exchange for getting paid for four of those six games, plus the opportunity to return this season, sources told Fox Sports.

One of the NFL’s best receivers is playing in Cleveland
Josh Gordon is having a sneakily good season for the Browns and the five other NFL players to watch on Sunday.

Cowboys fan beaten unconscious following win over Raiders
One Cowboys fan was reportedly beaten unconscious by four Raiders fans following the conclusion of Thursday's game.

NFL Picks - Straight Up
CBSSports.com's host of NFL experts provides expert picks, grades and analysis for each game during the season.

Judge denies O.J. Simpson a new trial
Disgraced athlete O.J. Simpson on Tuesday was denied a new trial on his 2008 convictions for robbery and kidnapping in Las Vegas, which sent him to prison for up to 33 years.

Eight in the Box: NFL teams that will be better in 2014 than they are in 2013
Each Friday, Eight in the Box will highlight a list of eight players, teams or moments and their impact on the 2013 season (and beyond). The NFL's parity-driven model makes it possible for teams to turn around their fortunes quickly.

Peter King previews Week 13 and the playoff race in the NFL
So many great games on the schedule this week, as the calendar turns to December on Sunday: Denver-Kansas City II, New Orleans-Seattle I, the massively struggling Colts playing for their lives, a jillion teams playing to keep flickering postseason hopes alive.

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