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Bengals Bytes (12/31): Paying for mistakes

Tyler Eifert was cleared for practice and plans to play on Sunday. Jimmy Smith has a new idea for a gift from Courtney Upshaw after he wiped out his touchdown. Chip Kelly got a lot of heat from fans, but unfortunately people didn't check which Chip Kelly they were sending it to.

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AFC playoff QBs: Alex Smith, Osweiler, Fitzpatrick, Hoyer
The conventional wisdom is that you need a superstar quarterback to win Super Bowls. Yet, looking at the likely AFC playoff bracket, it’s Tom Brady and five pedestrian signal-callers. Here’s how each one gets it done

AJ McCarron press conference transcript
Bengals quarterback AJ McCarron held a press conference on Wednesday as the team begins preparing for Sunday's game against the Baltimore Ravens 1 p.m. in Paul Brown Stadium and here is the transcript:Is swelling reasonable on the wrist?

Bengals notes: Dunlap reflects on record; injury updates
Celebrating didn’t feel right Monday night for Carlos Dunlap. In the wake of the 20-17 loss to the Broncos, that wasn’t the time or place for reflection on his three sacks catapulting him to the team record. The fifth-year defensive end took more time to appreciate the mark Wednesday. His 13.5 sacks this season surpass the mark of 13.0 set by Eddie Edwards in 1983.

Marvin Lewis press conference transcript
Bengals head coach Marvin Lewis held his regular weekly press conference on Wednesday as the team begins preparing to face the Baltimore Ravens at 1 p.m. on Sunday in Paul Brown Stadium and here is the transcrip.

Eifert cleared, expects to play vs. Ravens
Wearing a grey hoodie and a Cincinnati Bengals knit hat, Tyler Eifert sprinted to the end of the line of scrimmage to line up during a light practice at Paul Brown Stadium Wednesday afternoon, signaling his return to the team after missing the last two games with a concussion. "It’s good to be back out there running around and feeling 100 percent," he said. "It feels good."

Eifert cleared from concussion protocol and full participant in Bengals practice
Bengals tight end Tyler Eifert has been cleared from concussion protocol, was a full participant in Wednesday's practice and says he plans to play in Sunday's regular-season finale against the Baltimore Ravens.

Geno Atkins condition raises awareness for sickle cell, need for donations
If there' s one good thing that came from the Monday's game against the Broncos, it's an awareness of a health concern that was mentioned about one of the Bengals players. Geno Atkins was reported to have sickle cell trait, often referred to as sickle cell anemia or sickle cell disease. There is something people can to try to help those with the disease have a better quality of life.

Bengals not resting vs. Ravens
The easiest route to a first-round bye evaporated in the cold Denver air Monday night, but what the Bengals observed from the warmth of their hotel rooms the previous day serves as the primary reason to attack this week’s game against Baltimore with all hands on deck. Few expected the Jets to take down New England, Atlanta to take out previously undefeated Carolina or Baltimore to deliver the AFC North title to Cincinnati and beat Pittsburgh.

Tyler Eifert off Bengals' concussion protocol, expects to play
Tyler Eifert has come off the Cincinnati Bengals' concussion protocol and expects to play in Sunday's regular-season finale against the Baltimore Ravens. Asked if there was a chance he might take this game off in order be fully ready for the playoffs, Eifert had a succinct response.

Cincinnati Bengals must be wary of upset-minded Ravens in finale
When they start to break down game film of the Baltimore Ravens ahead of Sunday's regular-season finale at Paul Brown Stadium, the Cincinnati Bengals may want to look closest at the Ravens' most recent game. Although they certainly will use that film to best determine how to stop their division rival from an Xs-and-Os standpoint, there's something else they will want to take serious note of -- the hunger, aggression and passion with which the five-win Ravens displayed in a narrow home win over the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Notes: 'All hands on deck' for Ravens as McCarron, Eifert work; A shower if they can finish
Bengals tight end Tyler Eifert has been cleared to practice after missing all or most of the last four games and that means he’s going to play Sunday (1 p.m.-Cincinnati’s Channel 19) against the Ravens in the season finale at Paul Brown Stadium and not take a week off to get ready for the playoffs. That’s the message coaches and players delivered Wednesday at PBS when the 11-4 Bengals returned to work with an outside shot at securing a bye in the AFC playoffs after it slipped away Monday night in Denver. The Bengals need a win and Denver loss to visiting San Diego. A Kansas City win at Arrowhead over Oakland and a Denver loss also gives the Bengals a bye no matter what.

Behind Enemy Lines

Baltimore Ravens' Jimmy Smith now wants new rims for TD taken away
Ravens CB Jimmy Smith initially wanted wanted a steak dinner from teammate Courtney Upshaw for negating his touchdown. Now Smith jokingly wants more.

Ravens can't bank on Steve Smith being their No. 1 receiver in 2016
The Baltimore Ravens received some good news Wednesday, when wide receiver Steve Smith Sr. announced he would be coming back to play in 2016. What would be better news for fans is the Ravens announcing that Smith's return won't be the team's biggest move at that position.

John Harbaugh Won't Coach Philadelphia Eagles
It didn’t take long for Ravens Head Coach John Harbaugh’s name to pop up on Eagles sports talk radio after Chip Kelly was fired Tuesday night. This morning, KYW sports reporter Ed Benkin tweeted that fans should "keep an eye on" Harbaugh, saying he "may be ready to leave Baltimore" and has connections with Philadelphia. Harbaugh was the Eagles’ special teams coordinator for 10 seasons (1998-2007). Well, Harbaugh put an end to that talk pretty quickly.

Random Bytes

The Rise of the NFL Cycling Nerd - WSJ
Minnesota Vikings linebacker Chad Greenway is one of the growing number of NFL players using hard-core bicycling to train for football. Greenway can ride up to 60 miles in a day. But he has no fat to burn, and he doesn’t want to burn muscle. So he prefers to go about 20 to 40, mainly in the off-season.

Cardale Jones confirms he’ll enter 2016 NFL Draft
Ohio State quarterback Cardale Jones told reporters Wednesday he is not transferring and will enter the 2016 NFL Draft. Jones is a 23-year old junior. After helping the Buckeyes win the national championship last season, he consulted the NFL’s underclass advisory committee and eventually held a press conference to announce he would return to school.

New Year's resolutions for every NFL team
From the Patriots staying healthier to the Chiefs winning their first playoff game since 1994, our NFL Nation writers give all 32 teams something to aim for as the calendar turns to 2016.

The other Chip Kelly hears it from Eagles fans
Chip Kelly was grilling dinner Tuesday night for his family while on vacation in Hilton Head Island, S.C., when his phone buzzed again and again. "Well," he said, "something happened." His father-in-law popped outside. "Chip Kelly just got fired by the Eagles," he said to Chip Kelly.

Alternative NFL Power Rankings: Auld Lang Syne Edition
The NFL is a place where things chance on a week-to-week basis. It’s just how life is. You’re up one week, near the bottom the next. There are obviously other power rankings around the internet for you to read, but here at The Comeback, we’re going to present your NFL Power Rankings with a bit of a twist.