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Afternoon Bites (12/24): Christmas Eve Edition

Stories and links for the Bengals and other NFL items around the NFL.

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Evan Habeeb-USA TODAY Sports

How the NFL's scoring uptick is explained by Texas high school football
The advent of seven-on-seven brought passing offenses to the forefront in Texas' most football-crazed state, and that fast-pace ethos has translated to the NFL.

Beyond the Stripes with Wallace Gilberry
Wallace Gilberry on Sports Beyond the Stripes with Paul Daugherty presented by: from the Moerlein Lager House.

Zimmer taking Bengals D to new heights
The Bengals had just finished off a 42-14 beating of the Vikings. Minnesota gained just 209 yards of offense and didn't convert any of the nine third downs it had or the two fourth downs it attempted. The Vikings had put up 48 points and 455 yards against Philadelphia the week before and even though it's been a less-than-stellar season for them, they're a team that has played good football over the last month.

Bengals go in-depth
The Bengals coaches and the personnel department are distinct yet related scenes.

Notes: Low key AFC North title
Of Bengals head coach Marvin Lewis's three AFC North titles, this one is low key.

Morning Stripes: Bengals put trust in Dalton
For much of the latter half of the season, we've discussed the Cincinnati Bengals' search for "Good Andy," the significantly more popular and successful version of their often enigmatic quarterback, Andy Dalton.

Expectations of winning higher for Bengals
The Bengals haven't just looked different on the field this season than in previous years. The expectations surrounding them were held to higher levels.

A by-the-numbers look at the Bengals' win
For the fourth time in as many tries at home, the Cincinnati Bengals on Sunday topped the 40-point plateau.

Five biggest games of Week 17
Ravens vs. Bengals: Cincinnati’s playoff spot is safe, but the Bengals could move up with a win over Baltimore and a Patriots’ loss to get a bye. The Ravens need a win and a Miami or San Diego loss. The playoff implication aren’t what will make this game great, though. The Bengals and Raven know each other quite well, and the Ravens won in overtime in their last match-up, despite gaining just 189 total yards.

Terrelle Pryor’s agent thinks it’s ‘ridiculous’ he’s starting in Week 17
Raiders quarterback Terrelle Pryor is getting an opportunity to prove himself on Sunday. Pryor is getting the start over Matt McGloin. It's a move Pryor's agent, Jerome Stanley, thinks is devious on the part of coach Dennis Miller.

Ws and Ls of Bengals playoff picture
Here are the latest playoff scenarios as confirmed by the Elias Sports Bureau.

5 up, 5 down for Sunday
3. Cincinnati season ticket holders – Not only did the Bengals maintain control of their playoff chances with a 42-14 win over Minnesota a week after a putrid performance against Pittsburgh, but Cincy also continued its awesome run of offense at home. The Bengals have scored more than 40 points in each of their past four home games, lighting up the Vikings, Indianapolis, Cleveland and the New York Jets. The Bengals have scored less than 27 points at home only once this season.

Fantasy Recap: Week 16
Sunday was not without its glory as we saw teams clinch playoff spots, fantasy owners win and lose league championships, and even an NFL record broken.

Broncos' Von Miller out for season with torn ACL
Outside linebacker Von Miller suffered a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee. His season is over, and the Broncos will head into their final regular season game and into the playoffs without their best pass rusher.

Detroit Lions send playoff tickets to some fans
This is embarrassing. The Detroit Lions shipped off playoff tickets to some of their fans this week, which is problematic because of the whole "the Lions have been mathematically eliminated from the playoffs" thing.

The Week in Overreactions: Turns out, Tom Brady can carry Patriots
New storylines emerge every week. Some are reasonable, most are not. 'The Week in Overreactions' focuses on the latter.

It's time to bust out dreaded label for former No. 1 pick Stafford
Matthew Stafford is a bust. Not JaMarcus Russell level, but failing to lead the Lions to anything but mediocrity puts Stafford in unwelcome company.

Jim Schwartz's outburst at Detroit Lions fans typifies a tenure that needs to end | Audibles -
Let’s face it — Jim Schwartz had a tough job ahead of him when he was hired as the Detroit Lions’ head coach on Jan. 15, 2009. The former Tennessee Titans defensive coordinator was taking over a team that had posted the first and only 0-16 season in NFL history the year before, and the franchise had been driven into the ground by Matt Millen’s ineptitude.

Chiefs considering benching starters Week 17
In his press conference on Monday, Chiefs head coach Andy Reid said he was open to the idea of resting his starters for Kansas City’s Week 17 game in San Diego.

Cam Newton, Panthers; Peyton Manning; Cardinals win big in Week 16
So it’s the final football game at Candlestick Park tonight, Falcons at Niners, and I am strongly recommending my Factoid of the Week, which is about the Beatles, and Candlestick and Cincinnati and St. Louis. I know it’s not altogether football, but it’s a stunner.

Rough outing for backup Tyrod Taylor in relief of Joe Flacco
It was an extremely rough outing for Ravens backup quarterback Tyrod Taylor at the end of the game Sunday in relief of starter Joe Flacco. During the final two minutes of the Ravens' embarrassing 41-7 loss to the New England Patriots at M&T Bank Stadium, an errant shotgun snap from center Gino Gradkowski intended for Taylor was recovered for a touchdown by defensive end Chandler Jones.