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Bengals Bytes (12/7): Better than last time

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A member of the last Bengals team to meet the Steelers in the playoffs voice his opinion on this team. Martavis Bryant talks about Ben Roethlisberger's comments. Guy Fieri has an expensive tailgate menu, and who is every team's MVP.

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Notes: Dalton watches Wednesday; Thompson to IR; Matchup since 7th grade; Antonio eyes Chad
Quarterback Andy Dalton dressed in sweats Wednesday morning during the team’s first full-scale preparation for Saturday night’s Wild Card Game (8:15-Cincinnati’s Channel 12) against the Steelers at Paul Brown Stadium.

Cincy always has The Narrative looming over it.
The prevailing narrative regarding the Bengals and quarterback Andy Dalton -- that they crumble under the pressure of the playoffs and primetime games -- might not be tested this month, with A.J. McCarron set to start Saturday.

NFL Big Throw: AJ McCarron to Tyler Eifert
The Bengals enter the NFL playoffs as the AFC’s third seed, hosting the Pittsburgh Steelers in a Wild Card matchup. Despite losing starting quarterback Andy Dalton to an injury, backup AJ McCarron has made plays in the passing game, executing the well-crafted designs of offensive coordinator Hue Jackson. In their season finale against the Baltimore Ravens, this was on display during their first touchdown.

Voices of '05: T.J.: 'I told you they were better than us.'
T.J. Houshmandzadeh, the man who shined his shoes with a "Terrible Towel," ten years ago, thinks his Bengals can wipe the slate clean in Saturday night’s Wild Card Game (8:15-Cincinnati’s Channel 12) at Paul Brown Stadium against the Steelers.

3 reasons the Cincinnati Bengals can win the Super Bowl
The numbers are well known to every Bengals fan. Cincinnati hasn't won a playoff game since the 1990 season. The last appearance in a conference championship game was 27 years ago, marking the NFL's longest active streak. The Bengals also have lost four straight first-round games, which is the highest total in league history. But even with major question marks at quarterback, Cincinnati has the tools to leave such failure in the past behind an extremely deep roster peppered with veteran players focused on ending the drought.

wild-card breakdown: steelers-bengals, washington-green bay
The belief here is that Pittsburgh is the most dangerous of the six teams entering this year’s AFC bracket. The Bengals had the league’s No. 2 scoring defense this season but allowed 26 points last time they faced the Steelers (Pittsburgh added a pick-six in a 33-20 win). In that game, they were beaten repeatedly by receivers on individual routes, regardless if the coverage was man or zone. Ben Roethlisberger completed 17 of his first 20 passes.

Rossi: Bengals coach Lewis better than his win-loss record
There is a part of Steelers Country where Cincinnati's Bengals are the good guys. And if that doesn't make sense, that means you probably never met the late Marvin Lewis of McDonald, Pa. Neither did I. But let me tell you about his son, whom I've long known not to judge based off a win-loss record.

Walkthru: Bengals stay quiet, loose
The final minutes of practice open to cameras came to a close on Tuesday and a throng of reporters and videographers watched intently to see if Andy Dalton would participate, Eric Winston led a slow clap ushering the quarterback over to where the Bengals were running through plays.

Peter King's One-Minute Playoff Preview: Cincinnati Bengals
Peter King discusses the key for the Cincinnati Bengals in the 2015 playoffs. King says the Bengals need to get Andy Dalton healthy and healthy enough for him to play in the playoffs. "I don't like AJ McCarron's ability in those games, to win those games. That's why it's imperative that Andy Dalton come back."

Behind Enemy Lines

Steelers notebook: Team not focused on skirmishes against Bengals
Steelers coach Mike Tomlin on Tuesday tried to downplay the seemingly growing disdain the Steelers and Cincinnati Bengals have for each other. "I'm not here to build a rivalry or to make promos in regard to that," Tomlin said during his weekly news conference. "We're just going to prepare and show up and play."

Steelers notebook: Martavis Bryant accepts criticism from Ben Roethlisberger, Antonio Brown
One day after his quarterback publicly called him out for his recent lackluster performances, Steelers receiver Martavis Bryant admitted he was coming back to balls a little harder Wednesday in practice. "Just trying to get back to basics," he said. In other words, the message got through loud and clear.

Pittsburgh Steelers' motivation: Win one for the old dudes
DeAngelo Williams, 32, didn't come to the Pittsburgh Steelers for more yards. He didn't come for a soft landing spot before retirement. "I'm here to win a Super Bowl," Williams said.

Random Bytes

We need to talk about Guy Fieri's $700 Super Bowl tailgate menu
Guy Fieri is holding a Super Bowl tailgate. Aren't you excited! No? Well, he's co-hosting with Erin Andrews and 25 random NFL players will be there. Excited yet? Still no? Alright then. Well, some people are intrigued by the idea of a Guy Fieri tailgate, so much so that they're willing to shell out $700 to go to flavortown. We have some questions about a few of the items ...

3 reasons each AFC team can win the Super Bowl
The numbers are well known to every Bengals fan. Cincinnati hasn't won a playoff game since the 1990 season. The last appearance in a conference championship game was 27 years ago, marking the NFL's longest active streak. The Bengals also have lost four straight first-round games, which is the highest total in league history. But even with major question marks at quarterback (see below), Cincinnati has the tools to leave such failure in the past behind an extremely deep roster peppered with veteran players focused on ending the drought.

2016 NFL Wild Card picks: NFL expert picks for Wild Card weekend | FOX Sports
As always, every week, the FOX Sports experts will be making our selections. Congratulations to Mike Garafolo on capturing our regular-season picks title, but now it's crunch time. Fewer games, January football ... it's where legacies are made (ours, not the players).

Picking every team's 2015 MVP
Who were the most valuable players on all 32 teams this season? NFL Nation reporters make their selections, which include Steelers WR Antonio Brown and Seahawks QB Russell Wilson.