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Bengal Bytes (12/12): Big test

The injured veteran defensive backs know how important prepping their young replacements is. The Steelers' redzone efficiency will be tested on Sunday. One of the top AFC contenders might be getting a weapon back, and bold predictions for Sunday.

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Jason Bridge-USA TODAY Sports

Cincinnati Bengals the best team in the AFC?
Now in ownership of the top AFC playoff seed, are the Cincinnati Bengals really the best team in the AFC? PFF founder Neil Hornsby and former Bengal Cris Collinsworth take a look at the Cincinnati Bengals and discuss their season so far, as well as their remaining schedule.

Bengals seek stadium 'enhancements'
The Bengals say Paul Brown Stadium might need a facelift and want to find out how much the work would cost taxpayers and the team. The team sent a letter to Hamilton County officials this week asking for a review of the stadium's condition and for talks to begin on how it could be improved to keep up with newer stadiums in other NFL cities.

No. 14 hopes Dalton has Steelers' number
Welcome to the Ken Anderson Bowl when his Bengals try to clinch the AFC North Sunday (1 p.m.-Cincinnati’s Channel 12) against those Steelers at sold-out Paul Brown Stadium. Anderson wore Andy Dalton’s No. 14 into history during 16 seasons in Cincinnati he staked a claim in Canton. He also coached Ben Roethlisberger during one of his Super Bowl runs. But even Big Ben knows where the first No. 14 stands in this rivalry.

Cincinnati Bengals' veteran CBs preparing young CBs for Steelers
It was early in the second quarter at Cleveland last Sunday when Cincinnati Bengals rookie cornerback Josh Shaw turned to his older teammate, Leon Hall, for some advice. Out for the game with a back injury, the 31-year-old Hall had turned into a de facto assistant on the Bengals' sideline, dishing out tips to his youngest teammates.

Jones doubtful, two others in secondary questionable for Bengals
A day after having the cast removed from his injured right foot, Bengals starting cornerback Adam Jones was in a walking boot on Friday and is listed as doubtful for Sunday's game against the Pittsburgh Steelers after not practicing for the third straight day.

Behind Enemy Lines

Pittsburgh Steelers pay $9M for 3,000-plus yards, 24 TDs
Many skill-position groups can make the case as the NFL’s best, but the Pittsburgh Steelers might have the best bargain for production. The Steelers’ quartet of Antonio Brown, Martavis Bryant, Markus Wheaton and DeAngelo Williams make a combined $9.1 million this season after Brown’s contract restructuring.

Le'Veon Bell's presence gives Pittsburgh Steelers a jolt for Bengals
Except for a few live in-game tweets on the Pittsburgh Steelers, running back Le'Veon Bell has gone relatively quiet since his Nov. 1 knee injury and subsequent surgery to repair a torn right medial collateral ligament. He hasn't been on the sidelines during games, though that's not uncommon with injured players.

Steelers Injury Report: Miller, Spence Probable For Sunday
The Pittsburgh Steelers have a clean bill of health for Sunday’s critical matchup against the Cincinnati Bengals. According to a tweet sent out by Bob Labriola, every player practiced today and will be listed as probable on the team’s official injury report.

Red Zone the Biggest Challenge for Pittsburgh Steelers vs. Cincinnati Bengals
The Pittsburgh Steelers have done a good job of scoring touchdowns this year and are averaging a sixth-best 25.9 points per game. They've done just as well keeping their opponents out of the end zone, with the Steelers giving up an average of 20 points per game and touchdowns on just 51.16 percent of their opponents' red-zone appearances. But all of this will be tested significantly by the Cincinnati Bengals on Sunday. The division-leading Bengals will be the biggest red-zone challenge Pittsburgh's offense and defense have seen all season.

Random Bytes

Minnesota Vikings coach Mike Zimmer second guesses final play call against Arizona Cardinals
Minnesota Vikings coach Mike Zimmer said Friday the Vikings "probably could have called something else" on the play that resulted in Teddy Bridgewater's game-ending fumble on Thursday night in Arizona, leaving the Vikings with a three-point loss while they were in field-goal range. With 13 seconds left and no timeouts, the Vikings opted to call one more play to get kicker Blair Walsh closer than the 48-yard kick he could have attempted at the time.

Julian Edelman of New England Patriots practices in hopes of return this season
New England Patriots wide receiver Julian Edelman practiced Friday for the first time since breaking a bone in his left foot Nov. 15 against the New York Giants, but he won't play this weekend. Later Friday, the Patriots ruled the receiver out for Sunday's night's game against the Houston Texans.

NFL Considering Changes to Officiating Protocol for Playoffs
With the NFL officials under the microscope more than ever, the league is contemplating making changes to officiating protocol for the postseason.  Per Kevin Seifert of ESPN, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell "hinted at the possibility" of changes during an appearance on SiriusXM NFL Radio on Friday

Bold predictions: Todd Gurley gets back on track
It's time for another round of fearless prognostications involving this week's games. Warning: these predictions are not for the faint of heart. St. Louis Rams running back Todd Gurley has struggled of late. But will the NFL Rookie of the Year candidate regain his early season form on Sunday? Our Around The NFL prognosticators think so.