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Bengals Bytes (1/2): Bengals resolutions

What changes should the Bengals make going into the new year to assure success in the playoffs? The Ravens call out a famous rapper. One of the best head coaches might be calling it quits after the season.

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Bengals believe McCarron can win a playoff game
Whether AJ McCarron could handle this, taking over a 10-2 team in the early stages a game that could win the AFC North and secure a playoff berth – and continue on to clinch those goals and move toward others – was decided years ago, in the meeting rooms and practice fields at the University of Alabama.

Andy Dalton of Cincinnati Bengals hopeful cast will come off on Monday
Andy Dalton is hopeful the cast he has worn around his right thumb the past three weeks will come off when he makes his weekly visit to an area hand specialist Monday. The Cincinnati Bengals quarterback isn't sure if the cast will indeed come off, but he continues to be given promising news about the progress of the healing.

Things the Cincinnati Bengals can do in the New Year to thrive
Although a new year has officially arrived, the Cincinnati Bengals are still very much participating in the old one. The same team they constructed in 2015 has at least two more weeks remaining in its current manifestation, if not more. A couple of postseason wins could give it a month before change comes.

Ravens at Bengals Preview
Baltimore Ravens at Cincinnati Bengals preview. Everything you need to know about Sunday's game.

Behind Enemy Lines

Baltimore Ravens surprisingly first in pass defense past seven weeks
What had been a weakness for most of the season has turned into a strength for the Baltimore Ravens. The Ravens' pass defense has been the best in the NFL the past seven weeks. Since Week 10, Baltimore boasts the best pass defense in the NFL, after a very bad start. What changed?

Baltimore Ravens players to Snoop Dogg: 'What side are you really on?'
Many of the Baltimore Ravens players saw rapper Snoop Dogg's expletive-filled tirade on social media after they beat the Pittsburgh Steelers 20-17 on Sunday. The Ravens are raising an eyebrow at the so-called Steelers superfan. Soon after the rant, pictures surfaced of him at the Ravens' facility in 2008 and wearing a Ravens hat. He even spoke to the team after one training camp practice and told players that he was a Ravens fan, according to one player.

Ryan Mallett's Out Of The 'Old Regime'
The Ravens didn’t immediately sign Mallett after they first worked him out on Dec. 2. He still had some things he needed to prove. But after General Manager Ozzie Newsome did his research on Mallett’s background, and plenty of conversations between Mallett, Newsome and Head Coach John Harbaugh, the Ravens decided to give the strong-armed, 6-foot-6, 245-pound gunslinger a shot. That’s what happens when you’ve got talent.

Random Bytes

Russell Wilson credits part of durability to swimming routine
Since the beginning of the 2012 season, only seven teams have had the same starting quarterback for every game. One of them is the Seahawks. When Russell Wilson takes the field Sunday against the Arizona Cardinals, it will be his 64th consecutive start. Not only has he never missed a game, Wilson has never missed a practice or been listed on the injury report. He's run for 2,417 yards since the start of 2012 (second to Cam Newton) and been sacked 163 times (second to Ryan Tannehill), but none of the hits have been enough to sideline Wilson.

Seattle Seahawks coach Pete Carroll 'anticipating' Marshawn Lynch will return to practice Monday
Seahawks coach Pete Carroll indicated Friday that running back Marshawn Lynch has a good chance of returning to practice Monday as the team prepares for the postseason.

Tom Coughlin: Latest News, Rumors and Speculation on Giants Coach's Future
Fox Sports' Mike Garafolo appeared on The Herd with Colin Cowherd and spoke about the coach Friday (via Fox Sports): "This is a different Tom Coughlin, and I think he's ready to move away. A lot of people are talking as if it's an inevitability that on Monday he is going to resign. I am hearing that from a lot of people."

NFL Week 17 game picks: Packers top Vikings; Jets finish strong
Week 17 game picks are in ... It's the last week we will be able to delve into the matchups that make an NFL season so fun. This was far and away the most difficult year to pick games, based on all the mediocrity and disproportionate amount of injuries in the league. This weekend's games will not be any easier to pick, as we have a couple of teams with little to play for (Seahawks and Redskins), while other organizations will do their best to manage injury concerns as they cruise into the postseason.