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Bengals Bytes (11/21): What's at stake?

The Bengals aren't letting their first loss define them. Carson Palmer gets fined for his risque celebration. What teams can still crash the playoffs, and who should you be trading for in your fantasy league?

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Three things the Cincinnati Bengals must do to beat the Cardinals
It has been a full two years since the Cincinnati Bengals last lost two straight regular-season games. The Bengals have a 32.3 percent chance to win in Arizona, according to ESPN's Football Power Index. Here are three keys to pulling an upset:

Bengals Walkthru: Sunday about big plays
Arizona coach Bruce Arians loves to throw the ball deep. Toss in the strong arm and unique deep ball of Carson Palmer and you have the ideal match to throw over the top of any defense.

Dungy throws a seed: Bengals can beat Pats
As NBC’s Tony Dungy prepares for the Bengals and this week’s edition in Arizona (8:30 p.m.-Cincinnati’s Channel 5), he predicts an AFC Championship Game between the Bengals and Patriots.

Part 2: An oral history of the Carson Palmer trade
The Bengals opened the 2011 season with Andy Dalton as their starter, and Carson Palmer remained in limbo, working out in California, steadfast in his stance to never play for the organization again. But Bengals owner and president Mike Brown was also as resolute. He wasn’t going to trade the erstwhile franchise quarterback unless his demands of a first- and second-round pick were met.

Cincinnati Bengals: 5 Major Keys For A Win Over The Arizona Cardinals
The Cincinnati Bengals have become a hot commodity this year. Starting out with eight straight wins — establishing a new franchise record — has garnered the attention of the bright lights. The Bengals will be playing the last of three straight prime time battles on Sunday Night Football against the Arizona Cardinals. The Bengals (8-1) have split the first two night duels and are looking to bounce back against the 7-2 Cardinals. But there are some key elements that have to be followed.

Bengals won't let loss define their season
The Cincinnati Bengals are getting a little less time to dwell on the unsightly ending to their unbeaten start. That's probably a good thing with a road game against the streaking Arizona Cardinals coming this weekend. The Cardinals and former Cincinnati quarterback Carson Palmer will try to send the Bengals to another defeat Sunday night while earning a fourth consecutive win.

Behind Enemy Lines

Carson Palmer Fined $11,576 for Gesture vs. Seahawks: Latest Details, Reaction
The NFL has fined Arizona Cardinals quarterback Carson Palmer $11,576 for unsportsmanlike conduct after the signal-caller made what was perceived to be a lewd gesture toward the crowd during last Sunday's 39-32 win over the Seattle Seahawks, according to ESPN.com's Josh Weinfuss.

Arizona Cardinals WR Michael Floyd to be game-time decision
Even though Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Michael Floyd hasn’t practiced all week because of a hamstring injury, there’s still a chance he'll play Sunday night against the Cincinnati Bengals. Floyd, who was listed as questionable, will be a game-time decision, coach Bruce Arians said.

Arizona Cardinals DL Frostee Rucker making an impact
Much of the attention leading up to the Cardinals’ matchup against the Cincinnati Bengals on Sunday night has focused on quarterback Carson Palmer, and with good reason. Palmer was the face of the franchise in Cincinnati for the better part of a decade after going first overall in the 2003 draft, and has since resurrected what seemed to be a stalled career.

Arizona Cardinals LG Mike Iupati to start against Cincinnati Bengals
A week after leaving the field in Seattle in an ambulance with a neck injury and concussion, Cardinals left guard Mike Iupati will start Sunday night against Cincinnati, coach Bruce Arians said. Iupati was limited in practice Thursday and Friday after not practicing Wednesday.

Random Bytes

Ten teams that can still crash the NFL playoffs
Every year it seems, some team on the outskirts of the NFL playoff picture launches into an unexpected winning streak during the second half of the season and propels itself into a stunning playoff berth. Last year, it was the 3-8-1 Panthers, who responded to a six-game losing streak with a four-game winning streak, claiming an unlikely NFC South title.

Frank Gore, Joe Flacco are ideal trade-deadline targets
While drafting smartly and managing the waiver wire are keys to fantasy success, few teams lift up a trophy at season's end without swinging some trades along the way. With the trade deadline rapidly approaching (Nov. 27th in standard NFL.com fantasy football leagues), time is running out to make a potentially season-saving move. That's what we'll discuss this week and next in "Trade Calls." I've brought back the standard "trade for" and "trade away" segments and also dive into some reader-submitted questions below.

NFL Week 11: What's at Stake for Teams, Players This Weekend?
The NFL landscape evolves on a weekly basis. How your team is viewed is directly tied to the previous week. That puts a big emphasis on what’s at stake for teams and players every game. Some games are decided directly by particular matchups. The better, more talented team doesn’t always win because of the importance of style and the ability to adjust. But that is often overlooked because winning is really what matters in the big picture.

Lions abruptly dump search-firm approach
The out-of-the-Honolulu-blue news on Thursday that the Lions had hired businessman Rod Wood to serve as the franchise’s next team president carries with it a more important revelation: The effort to find a new General Manager will not, as previously planned, involve a search firm.