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Bengals Bytes (10/13): On to New England

Brandon LaFell could be the key to an upset in New England. Jimmy Smith calls out Odell Beckham Jr. A look into the Vikings’ defense.

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NFL: Miami Dolphins at Cincinnati Bengals Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports

The 5 Toughest Receivers I’ve Ever Covered

At least 80% of interceptions start in bed. Or in a recliner. I’m serious. Monday through Friday, all I do is watch film on receivers. On Monday nights, I watch our upcoming opponents’ last three games. Every single snap in the All-22 film. That gives me a head start going into the week. I try to walk into the facility the next morning already knowing most of their offense before the coaches tell me. Then on Tuesdays, I start breaking down the first- and second-down passing plays they like to run. On Wednesdays, I break down their preferred third-down plays.

Life on the edge: Vontaze Burfict's game might be too nasty for the new NFL, but he's not changing

The path to NFL redemption is simple. Just follow the script. Stand at your locker in a state of shame. Apologize. Plead for forgiveness. Thank the almighty Roger Goodell for granting you a second chance. Promise to change your ways. Then, yes, change. Skip any of these steps, and the NFL may eject you forever.

Lazar: Bengals a surprise member of NFL’s near-elite

The last time the Patriots saw the Cincinnati Bengals, they turned the AFC North team into a punchline. Fresh off the worst loss of the Tom Brady era (a 41-14 loss in Kansas City in 2014), Bill Belichick, blocking out the negative media energy from that defeat, vowed — repeatedly — his team would be "on to Cincinnati."

Stephen A. Smith way off base about why Marvin Lewis hasn't been fired

CINCINNATI (WKRC) - I understand wind-bag Stephen A. Smith's role on his ESPN show First Take is to be a provocateur and sling as much B.S. as any Texas cattle rancher could conceivably sling, but his comments on Monday about why Marvin Lewis is still employed as Bengals head coach are off base and irresponsible.

I Have A Radical Idea For The Bengals.

The Bengals are struggling, and while coaches and players search for answers in time to save their season, I've been doing some brain-rattling myself, because I don't just bitch about problems, I come up with solutions.

Bengals WR Brandon LaFell: Tom Brady one of the best of all time

Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver Brandon LaFell has two jobs this week: Play well, and give his team as much help as possible regarding Tom Brady's tendencies. LaFell played with the Patriots in 2014 and '15, so it’s probably his job this week to relay back as many of Brady’s "tells" or weaknesses as possible. That is, if there are any to exploit

Jeremy Hill limited in practice; source expects him to play on Sunday

Cincinnati Bengals running back Jeremy Hill was in pads and participating during the open portion of Wednesday’s practice. Although he was officially listed as limited with a chest injury, a league source says he expects Hill to play on Sunday against the Patriots.

Bengals must account for a healthy Rob Gronkowski in Tom Brady's first game home

The Cincinnati Bengals got the unlucky draw of traveling to face Tom Brady in his first game back home after suspension. That's not ideal timing for a number of reasons. The Bengals are coming off arguably their worst performance in several years in a loss to the Cowboys. Now one of Brady's favorite targets in tight end Rob Gronkowski appears to finally be healthy, none of which is ideal for the Bengals.

Notes: Eifert not working; Green rests calf; LaFell La Man'; Brady lets Who-Dey Youk off the hook

There was a brief Tyler Eifert sighting Wednesday morning, but when he didn’t surface on the field Wednesday afternoon to practice or rehab, hopes began to fade for him to appear in Sunday’s game (1 p.m.-Cincinnati’s Channel 12) in New England. Eifert (back) attended the morning walk-through, but that’s apparently all he did with the team and he looks to be on the verge of missing his sixth straight game.

Doc: The conundrum in New England

Mawnin’, Mobsters. The Man has arisen from sickness to health and is ready to resume normal programming. (Fie on!) press box hot dogs. . . It’s Patriots Week for The Men and here’s the conundrum. (The what, Doc?) The Bengals can respond mightily to their embarrassment in Arlington, and still not get a W. They can “correct’’ all the “little things’’ they claim are dragging them down, and it still might not matter. Playing in Foxboro in Tom Brady’s home debut is not a good way to get well.

AFC North Bytes

Ravens CB Jimmy Smith threatens to fight Odell Beckham ahead of matchup

Odell Beckham Jr. may not enjoy a peaceful game of football for the rest of the season. This time, Baltimore Ravens cornerback Jimmy Smith gave Beckham a not-so-gentle warning ahead of Sunday's clash, stating if Beckham comes at him after the whistle he's going to fight back.

Hue Jackson tries to apply the safety brake to the latest Browns’ ride to oblivion

“Sometimes I feel like I’m sitting in the front seat of a runaway train.” Chris Palmer’s famous line expressed a coach’s helplessness and hopelessness in a season careening off the tracks. The first coach of the expansion Browns had his second team in 2000 off to a 2-1 start, only to watch injuries knock out starters on his thin offensive team one game at a time. First a guard, then a running back, then a wide receiver.

Coates has been a cut above as 2nd receiver

In many respects, seven has been a lucky number for Steelers wide receiver Sammie Coates. It’s the number worn by his quarterback, Ben Roethlisberger. It’s the number of points awarded for a touchdown and extra point, of which Coates scored the first two of his career in the Steelers’ 31-13 win over the New York Jets Sunday.

Random Bytes

Mike Freeman's 10-Point Stance: Vikes' Historic Defense Has Surprised Many

Some in the NFL and media will claim they knew all along the Vikings would be fine after the team lost Adrian Peterson and Teddy Bridgewater. That would be a big, fat lie. No one knew. I thought they were sunk. Everyone did. That leads to the question of the season so far: Why, after losing so much, did the Vikings gain so much?

Will Smith murder trial reveals a divided New Orleans

To understand the truth behind Will Smith's death you need to learn more about both Smith and Cardell Hayes—about both the Saint and the 'thug.'

QB Index: Tom Brady's still the 1; Dak Prescott's a star

Dak Prescott makes me want to pause the Game Pass and tell someone about the latest dart he threw after gliding from the pocket. But it's late, and my wife couldn't pretend to care. I want to tell her that this just doesn't happen in the NFL. A quarterback taken with a fourth-round compensatory pick doesn't just step into the starting lineup and lead his team to the most first downs and 10-play drives in the NFL through five weeks.

49ers hope change to Kaepernick helps them go deep

The San Francisco 49ers have had plenty of problems on offense the first five weeks, leading to coach Chip Kelly's decision to bench Blaine Gabbert for Colin Kaepernick. Perhaps none of the issues was as glaring as the inability to get the ball downfield.

Raiders confident in Carr's ability at line of scrimmage

Derek Carr's comfort level in changing plays at the line of scrimmage is a part of his game that has gone largely unnoticed while the Raiders worked their way into a tie for first in the AFC West.