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Bengals Bytes (1/9): What if?

There are quite a bit of dominoes that will fall after tonight's game. DeAngelo Williams is officially out for tonight's game. The AP All-Pro list has been released, and Braxton Miller writes an open letter to Buckeye Nation.

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Mathematical model predicts Bengals-Cardinals in Super Bowl 50
The Cardinals are in prime position to finish their record-setting season playing in Super Bowl 50, according to one mathematical model. Find out who Arizona is predicted to face in the Big Game.

What if AJ McCarron gets the Cincinnati Bengals a playoff win?
All this week, there has been one interesting, quasi-controversial question on my mind, prompting a Cincinnati Bengals installment of "Five wonders." Specifically, I have been wondering what might happen if Bengals backup quarterback AJ McCarron -- the player slated to take starter Andy Dalton's snaps in Saturday's wild-card round game against Pittsburgh -- does the one thing Dalton has been unable to accomplish to this stage of his career.

Hue Jackson's renaissance: A hot name
Four years after a one-and-done flameout in Oakland, Hue Jackson's a red-hot coaching candidate. Michael Silver reminisces on some tough times with the Bengals offensive coordinator.

Why Bengals-Steelers is more than just a playoff game, and why all of New England can relate
Can Marvin Lewis find a way to coach his team up and finally win a playoff game? Will a back-up quarterback, more famous in college for winning two national championships and having his girlfriend fawned over by Brent Musberger, lead them to their first playoff win since Boomer Esaison? Will the team that many general managers around football consider to have the most talented roster finally realize that potential and win when it matters most?

Playoff Psychology: Do Bengals battle mental hurdle?
As much as the Bengals face the Steelers on Saturday, they also must tackle a mental hurdle of the last four years. One history and psychology suggest to be a very real threat. Saturday night, the Bengals return to the Wild-Card Round of the NFL Playoffs for a fifth shot in five years at erasing the lone dark cloud hovering over one of the league’s brightest franchises.

All My Playoffs: Lucci relates to Lewis' postseason drought
Susan Lucci hopes Cincinnati coach Marvin Lewis doesn't lose another 12 NFL playoff games before notching his first postseason victory with the Bengals. Lucci, who was nominated 19 times before winning her first Daytime Emmy Award for Best Actress in her role as Erica Kane on "All My Children."

I Hate Mike Mitchell | James Rapien
There has been plenty of talk about Vontaze Burfict being a dirty player. Why do we continue to ignore what Pittsburgh Steelers safety Mike Mitchell has done in his career? If Burfict is dirty, then Mitchell is the dirtiest. I explain why and I'm there are vines to help my case below.

Doc: Bengals-Steelers from fan's perspective
It’s Wednesday night and already he can’t sleep. BengalBoy – the 51-year-old with the "B BOY’’ vanity plates, his basement a shrine to Bengalville and the only Hall of Fame Ken Anderson occupies at the moment – prowls around the 3 a.m. abode, his mind spun by possibilities.

3 things to know today about Bengals
On the eve of 19th postseason game in Cincinnati Bengals history, here are three things to know today ahead of Saturday’s Wild-Card matchup against the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Walkthru: Bengals on beating the internal clock
The Bengals try to explain what their 'internal clock' is, your Twitter questions, TO for the Hall and a little Rocky III theme music to start your day off right. You hear about it, from players and coaches. But how do you wind it, exactly? And how do you know when time has run out – or if you only hit the snooze button?

AJ McCarron can do something Saturday 5 other Bengals QBs couldn't
Second-year quarterback AJ McCarron is all but guaranteed to be under center Saturday when the Bengals host the Steelers in an AFC wild-card matchup. McCarron replaced Andy Dalton in Week 14, after Dalton suffered a thumb injury, and went 2-1 over the final three regular-season games. But the former Alabama standout will be making his first NFL postseason start, and if history is any indication, the Bengals are going to need to look elsewhere for offense.

Dalton officially ruled out for Sat; Atkins, Whitworth are All-Pro
Cincinnati Bengals head coach Marvin Lewis never ruled Andy Dalton out this week during his meetings with the media, but on the team's final injury report released Friday afternoon, the quarterback was definitively listed as "out" for Saturday's Wild Card playoff game with the Pittsburgh Steelers. Along with Dalton, H-back Ryan Hewitt (knee) and defensive tackle Brandon Thompson (knee), who was put on injured reserve on Wednesday, were also ruled out.

AJ McCarron's Cockiness Could Be Just What the Bengals Need to Break Through
It was January 6, 1991. ... That was the last time the Bengals won a playoff game. January...6...1991. It's the longest such drought in the history of the NFL, and the Bengals are asking a man named AJ McCarron to end it.

Steve Smith Wants Both Bengals and Steelers to Lose Wild Card Game on Saturday
Never doubt that Steve Smith Sr. is a Baltimore man. With his own Ravens' season coming to a close, Smith took time to discuss the weekend's upcoming battery of NFL playoff matchups.

Behind Enemy Lines

Steelers' powerhouse offense may be too much for Bengals
Cris Collinsworth and Neil Hornsby breakdown this week's wild card matchup between the two teams from the AFC North.

Radio Host: Big Ben Sexual Assault Clip 'Just A Joke'
"The Steelers quarterback has been spotted in the downtown Cincinnati area," a fake news alert aired on 700 WLW in Cincinnati says. "All females ages 18-40 are to use extreme caution, especially if heavily consuming alcohol. Males should also be on the lookout, just in case."

DeAngelo Williams Injury Update: Steelers RB Ruled Out for 2016 AFC Wild Card
The Pittsburgh Steelers will be without one of their top offensive weapons for Saturday night's Wild Card Weekend clash against the Cincinnati Bengals, as the team announced Friday that running back DeAngelo Williams will be inactive for the game. Head coach Mike Tomlin announced the decision, via Steelers PR spokesman Burt Lauten. Jeremy Fowler of ESPN added Williams is expected to play in the divisional round.

Random Bytes

Mack an AP All-Pro at 2 positions; Peterson, Watt unanimous
From Cincinnati, it was DT Geno Atkins and OT Andrew Whitworth. Arizona, in a measure of the strength of its secondary, had cornerback Patrick Peterson and safety Tyrann Mathieu. St. Louis' All-Pros were DT Aaron Donald and punter Johnny Hekker.

Angry Browns fan creates 2016 season ticket promo video
Life as a Cleveland Browns fan cannot be easy, and I say this as a fan of the Philadelphia Eagles. With so many changes taking place in Cleveland (again), you can forgive Browns fans for losing their sanity hoping for the best with a high draft pick and new leadership to be placed, but at least some of them have a sense of humor.

Dear Buckeye Nation | by Braxton Miller
Da da da. Da da da. Six syllables. I got to the sideline and that’s all I could hear. All of my teammates were looking at me, smiling, shouting — singing. Even the coaches were doing it. Heck, even the waterboys were doing it. It was surreal. Like, a hundred-plus people, standing on the sideline: looking, smiling, shouting, singing. At me. And they were all singing the exact same thing — the same six syllables.

2016 NFL Draft: Matt Miller's Scouting Notebook for Wild Card Weekend
Sean Payton announced in a press conference Wednesday that he's staying with the New Orleans Saints as head coach. I'm told by sources with the San Francisco 49ers that the team never felt comfortable with sending a second-round pick to the Saints in exchange for Payton.