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Bengal Bytes (12/1): Dialing in for December

The Bengals are hitting their stride again heading into an important December. The Browns lose exactly how you would expect the Browns to lose. A look into the playoff picture, and we check in with Pro Football Focus' best players and teams.

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Mark Zerof-USA TODAY Sports

Preserve and protect
It was another day at the office Sunday for Bengals offensive coordinator Hue Jackson’s playbook in the 31-7 victory over the Rams at Paul Brown Stadium. The guys without the ball got it published when the offensive line held Rams Pro Bowl tackle Aaron Donald to just three assisted tackles.

Walkthru: Updating Bengals battle for bye
The dynamic of the AFC race changed dramatically Sunday night. Suddenly, the Patriots match to 16-0 and easy path to the top seed disappeared in the mile-high snow as Denver pulled off an overtime upset.

Jeremy Hill finds semblance of 2014 self
Jeremy Hill sets season highs for yards per carry and rushing yards, plus, offensive line dominates, Steelers lose, Jeff Fisher fires off in postgame frustration and an injury roundup.

Bengals up front about playoff run
They have been the heart of five straight winning seasons and when they helped nail down the fifth one Sunday in a one-touchdown dismissal of the Rams at festive Paul Brown Stadium, the Bengals defensive line went looking for a lot more than that.

Jeremy Hill up, Giovani Bernard down in Cincinnati Bengals' win
Jeremy Hill rushed for a season-high 86 yards and Andy Dalton bounced back from two losses as the Bengals offense got back on track.

Tyler Eifert's impact seen in places other than the end zone
Tyler Eifert's impact on the Cincinnati offense extends beyond his league-leading 12 touchdown receptions.

Tyler Eifert Injury Update
Although he looks to have avoided a more serious injury, Eifert's status could be in doubt for Sunday's game against the Cleveland Browns, per ESPN's Adam Schefter.

Behind Enemy Lines

The Angry Browns Fan Drops His 2015 Christmas Album… | Dawg Pound Nation - Cleveland Browns Blog - News - Rumors - Analysis
One very angry Browns fan released his new soundtrack of the Browns suck Christmas songs.

Mike Pettine's comments after the Browns lost to the Ravens: 'That's a tough one to deal with'
After the Browns lost to the Baltimore Ravens, 33-27, on Monday night at FirstEnergy Stadium, coach Mike Pettine met with reporters to discuss the game. He answered questions about the play and health of quarterback Josh McCown; why Johnny Manziel was active as the No. 3 quarterback; and how his team will prepare for Cincinnati given a short week.

Ravens stun Browns by returning blocked field goal for game-clinching TD
Will Hill returned a blocked field goal 64 yards for a touchdown as time expired, giving the Baltimore Ravens a 33-27 win Monday night over the luckless Cleveland Browns, who lost their sixth straight game along with starting quarterback Josh McCown.

Johnny Manziel watches as Austin Davis nearly sends Cleveland Browns to win
Time for another chapter in the Cleveland Browns' quarterback saga. This one involves Austin Davis, claimed by the Browns early in the season after he was waived by St. Louis and signed to a contract extension shortly after.

Random Bytes

FOOTBALL OUTSIDERS: Innovative Statistics, Intelligent Analysis Week 12
Football Outsiders is the internet home for Innovative Statistics and Intelligent Analysis of the NFL and college football. Our writers, led by Aaron Schatz, also provide content to ESPN.com and write the annual book Football Outsiders Almanac.

NFL playoff picture: Who's in, who's out with five weeks left to play
Cincinnati Bengals (9-2): The Bengals ended their two-game losing streak with the perfect tonic: a St. Louis Rams team that is in a downward spiral. A 31-7 blowout win should help Cincinnati get back on track.

Best teams in the AFC | Pro Football Focus
Last week the PFF crew ran through the top teams in the NFC, and this week turned to the AFC to do the same. While the Patriots are the obvious front-runners, Neil Hornsby and Mike Renner say to not rule out the Bengals, Broncos or Steelers just yet.

NFL Fact or Fiction: Week 12 Knee-Jerk Reactions
Week 12 of the 2015 NFL season provided a number of surprises, which should lead to plenty of debate heading into Week 13. Will the Washington Redskins win the NFC East? Are the red-hot Houston Texans a playoff team? Should Matt Hasselbeck continue to start for the Indianapolis Colts even when Andrew Luck returns from injury?

Best Players At Every Position | NFL Week 12 | PFF
Detroit Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford and wide receiver Calvin Johnson highlight our list of the best positional performances in Week 12 of the season. Bengals' punter Kevin Huber was the highest graded punter of the week.