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Morning Bites (11/22) Bengals links and notes

Taking a look at the stories with the Cincinnati Bengals and around the league.

Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

Rey Maualuga unfazed by possible role change
When the Cincinnati Bengals lost linebacker Rey Maualuga to a knee injury late last month, they were simply hoping to get by for three or four weeks with a slightly altered but moderately effective new lineup.

How good has Cincinnati Bengals LB Vontaze Burfict been?
Paul Guenther was absolutely right when he made the comment, but it was still high enough praise to make anyone who heard it pause and think about its validity.

Shutdown Corner Playoff Projection – Pittsburgh Steelers sneak into the postseason
What gives the Bengals the edge over the Colts for the third spot? Mostly, my belief that Indianapolis cannot continue winning without receiver Reggie Wayne or production from running back Trent Richardson. So far, Colts running back Donald Brown has made up for Richardson’s lack of productivity, while receiver T.Y. Hilton has been sporadic. It is just hard to believe this smoke and mirrors show can continue.

For gridiron warriors, fear of injury trumps all
In that lonely moment sitting on a cart, waiting to be wheeled away from their Sunday sanctuary, injured NFL players must face the possibility the game could be taken away.

NFL Awards Watch: J.J. Watt leader for Defensive Player of Year
There was nothing spectacular about Bernard's game against the Browns and although his stat line -- 86 yards on 14 touches -- was better than Eddie Lacy's, Bernard's impact on the game was about the same. Furthermore, his overall body of work remains slightly below that of the Packers' rookie back.

Top 10 questionable playoff teams
Why they will: They're the best in the mediocre AFC North. Defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer's unit continues to impress, ranking fourth in the NFL, and with a few dynamic players on offense (receiver A.J. Green and running back Giovani Bernard), Cincinnati will do just enough to win the division. Why they won't:Andy Dalton would have to be really bad for this to happen. But then again, there are times this year he has been that bad.

NFL QB Watch, Week 12: And that just happened
The NFL can take sudden turns at any moment and several new starters could be named within the next couple of weeks. You never know when something big is about to happen.

Panthers-Patriots, Ahmad Brooks calls prove it's not easy being a ref
It’s a very popular sentiment these days for people to come out and declare they won’t let their kids play football any more because the game’s too dangerous. But the way I see it, that doesn’t go nearly far enough. I wouldn’t let my kids referee the game either.

NFL MVP Projection: Cam Newton makes list, Manning still on top
A win over Tom Brady is the fastest way to earn a spot on the MVP Projection list.

Chris Long, Kyle Long face each other with dad Howie Long watching
And now for the individual matchup of the weekend, the one you’ve all been waiting for, the one every pregame show and postgame show Sunday will feature endlessly: Chris Long versus Kyle Long? Tom Brady and Peyton Manning will meet for the 14th time in the NFL on Sunday night in Foxboro.

Donovan McNabb responds to Shawn Andrews’ allegations of bullying
From Yahoo Sports: Earlier this week, former Philadelphia Eagle Shawn Andrews came forward with a story of how he suffered severe criticism and ostracism during his playing days, with star quarterback Donovan McNabb as the ringleader. And now, McNabb is firing back.

Breaking down the Texans' breakdown
The NFL is more unpredictable than any other professional league, and even with that understanding, the Texans dramatic drop in 2013 has blindsided their fans and neutral observers. But here are five reasons for the fall.

Breaking Madden: The glorious return of Tecmo Bo Jackson
The legend of Bo Jackson extended to video games. His Tecmo Bowl self remains arguably the greatest athlete in the history of gaming. In this episode, we recreate Bo in Madden NFL 25, and watch him pile up over a mile of rushing yards.

NFL embraces the idea of snow during Super Bowl week
'Weather and the elements are part of the game. And we are embracing it (during Super Bowl week),' an NFL spokesman told the AP.

Adrian Peterson says crazier things than ‘N-word’ said in NFL locker rooms
From Yahoo Sports: The Jonathan Martin-Richie Incognito saga has generated a lot of discussion on the locker room culture in the NFL. In particular, the Incognito's use of a racial slur towards Martin, a teammate on the Dolphins, was a heated topic.

2014 NFL Draft top 100
The last time we put together NFL Draft rankings, it was October. In the span of a month in a half, several prospects have risen while others have dropped off. Oddly, our top five players remain unchanged.

Voice-over artists make their impact on NFL pregame shows
An important but never seen aspect of football broadcasts, the sound that takes pregame shows into commercial breaks can be pivotal to keeping viewers tuned in. Meet the people behind those voices that are heard every Sunday.