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Bengals Bytes (12/30): Failed experiment

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AJ McCarron is day-to-day with his wrist injury and is expected to start Sunday. The Ravens add their 20th player to IR. The Eagles cut ties with Chip Kelly, and evaluating every other head coach's job security.

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The Cincinnati Bengals Aren’t Cursed, It’s Just Bad Coaching
It’s human nature to witness the seemingly supernatural occurrences that befall the Bengals each year and wonder if it’s the wrath of the football gods. Save your wonderment. It’s just bad coaching. There’s no curse on the Cincinnati Bengals.

Texans work out former Bengals defensive tackle Devon Still
The Texans worked out former Cincinnati Bengals defensive tackle Devon Still on Tuesday, according to a source not authorized to speak publicly. Still is a former Bengals second-round draft pick from Penn State who was a consensus All-American for the Nittany Lions. Still was also named the Big Ten Conference Defensive Player of the Year and Big Ten Conference Defensive Lineman of the Year.

Bengals sign another quarterback
The Bengals signed free-agent quarterback Mike Kafka to the practice squad today after AJ McCarron suffered a left wrist injury on the final play of Monday night's 20-17 overtime loss at Denver.

Ranking the best coaching jobs in the NFL this season
Mike Sando ranks the head coaches, coordinators and position coaches who have gotten the most out of the talent around them, starting with Carolina's Ron Rivera and Arizona's Bruce Arians.

AJ McCarron up, Mike Nugent down in Bengals' loss
A look at Cincinnati Bengals players who were "up" and those who were "down" in Monday night's 20-17 overtime loss to the Denver Broncos. Yes, McCarron basically gift-wrapped the Broncos a win with his fumble on the final play of Monday's loss, but in what was only his second career start, the backup quarterback otherwise performed admirably against the league's No. 1 defense.

Bengals can still get bye even with loss to Ravens
Bengals fans might want to make plans to be near a couple of television sets late Sunday afternoon because the team's hopes for a first-round bye will hinge of the outcome of two 4:25 games regardless of what happens against Baltimore at 1 p.m. at Paul Brown Stadium. If the Bengals, who are 7.

Mike Nugent blames untimely missed field goal on 'alignment issue'
Monday night's overtime thriller was decided by just three points. That fact isn't lost on Cincinnati Bengals kicker Mike Nugent, who missed a 45-yard field goal attempt in the second quarter of the prime-time game at Denver's Sports Authority Field. In the moments immediately following the Bengals' 20-17 defeat, it was clear Nugent understood the impact a make instead of a miss could have had on the game's outcome.

AJ McCarron of Cincinnati Bengals suffered a sprained wrist, MRI shows
Cincinnati Bengals quarterback AJ McCarron suffered a sprained left wrist against the Denver Broncos, MRI results showed Tuesday, according to ESPN's Ed Werder and multiple media reports. Bengals coach Marvin Lewis and his coaching staff are preparing with the expectation that McCarron plays Sunday against the Baltimore Ravens, a team source told Werder.

Behind Enemy Lines

Baltimore Ravens vs. Cincinnati Bengals Betting Odds, Analysis, NFL Pick
With a victory on Monday and cover earlier this season, the Cincinnati Bengals are now 8-7 straight up and 9-5-1 against the spread in their AFC North divisional rivalry with the Baltimore Ravens under the current coaching regimes. That includes a 4-0 run, both SU and ATS, over the last four meetings for the Bengals. With playoff seeding still at stake, Cincinnati hosts the Ravens Sunday.

Ravens' win over Steelers is biggest upset in team history
The Baltimore Ravens' 20-17 victory over the Pittsburgh Steelers is the biggest upset in the Ravens' 20-year existence. At least, by Las Vegas oddsmakers' standards. This marked the first time that the Ravens have ever won a game in which they were double-digit underdogs. The Ravens, who were 11.5-point underdogs against Pittsburgh, had been underdogs by 10 points or more in 10 previous games and lost every time, including a 35-6 loss to the Seattle Seahawks earlier this month.

Marlon Brown becomes Ravens’ record-setting 20th player on IR
Wide receiver Marlon Brown became the Baltimore Ravens' 20th player placed on injured reserve this season, which is the Ravens' most in the eight-year John Harbaugh era. The Ravens had set the mark last year when they had 19 players on IR. This season, Baltimore (5-10) tops the NFL with 20 players on IR in what has been a rough 20th anniversary season.

Random Bytes

Fox Sports Is ESPN For Awful People
"Everything has to have Fox attitude," said Fox Sports President Eric Shanks at the time of the cable channel’s launch, and as the channel and website have filled out the ranks, it’s become clear what that means. The message seems to be that if you washed out at ESPN, or indeed, anywhere else in sports media, Fox Sports 1 is warming a barstool for you.

Chip Kelly Was Outsmarted by His Greatest Enemy: Chip Kelly
At the end, the Chip Kelly era got weird. Granted, the Kelly era was always weird: surprising, sometimes exhilarating, often shocking, always fascinating as a grand football experiment. But in the end it got Moby Dick weird, burn-the-documents weird, mad-general-ordering-a-bayonet-charge-at-the-cannons weird.

Updated NFL draft order projection after Week 16
Beware, my friends, of bad December victories. You want to show pride? Hoping to put some things on tape for the offseason? Play spoiler and be all virtuous as a non-contender? A (deviant) word to the wise: Win at your own risk.

Every head coach's job security
In the wake of the surprise firing of Chip Kelly in Philadelphia, we asked our NFL Nation reporters to analyze the job security of the 31 other NFL head coaches, with each getting a rating of 1 to 10 (1 means the coach's seat is ice cold; 10 means it's scorching hot). Here are the coaches, starting with the ones in the most trouble.