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Bengals Bytes (11/17): Heads up

The Bengals look to maintain their confidence with their season on the line. The Steelers bench a struggling former first round pick. Mike Zimmer has an amazing answer about the mentality of his team.

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NFL: International Series-Washington Redskins at Cincinnati Bengals Steve Flynn-USA TODAY Sports

Jets Sign WR Mario Alford To Practice Squad

The New York Jets officially signed WR Mario Alford to their practice squad on Wednesday. Alford, 24, was taken in the seventh round of last year’s draft by the Bengals. The Bengals waived Alford with an injury designation in the final week of the preseason before later waiving him from injured reserve with a settlement.

Notes: Maualuga rehabbing; Rex on A.J.: best we've faced in '16

Bengals middle linebacker Rey Maualuga, out Monday night with a fibula problem, surfaced in uniform Wednesday on the rehab field at Paul Brown Stadium and was listed as limited. The Bengals worked lightly on the stadium field as they prepped for Sunday’s game (1 p.m.-Cincinnati’s Channel 19) against the Bills at PBS. Still not working yet were defensive tackle Brandon Thompson (knee), cornerback William Jackson (pectoral) and running back Cedric Peerman (arm). Thompson has until Nov. 22 to start practicing or he goes on season-ending injured reserve. As members of IR, either Jackson or Peerman can return, but not both.

Lewis, Dalton News Conference Transcripts 11/16

This Sunday, the Bengals and the Freestore Foodbank are teaming up again for the Annual Food Drive. This is the 30th year that the Bengals and the Freestore Foodbank have teamed up in this effort. We’re asking the fans as they come out to Paul Brown Stadium this Sunday to generously offer canned goods or cash contributions. Last year, we raised more than 7,215 pounds of food, and more than $21,600 in cash donations. So we’re challenging everybody to break that record this year. We encourage the fans to come out and support this effort. It supports the Freestore Foodbank and Tri-State families. Volunteers will be in the U-Haul U-Box containers outside the stadium this Sunday.

Twin blitzes test Dalton

When it comes to playing the Ryan twins, Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton is no red-headed stepchild. Heading into Sunday’s game against the Bills at Paul Brown Stadium (1 p.m.-Cincinnati’s Channel 19), he’s 3-1 against them and riding a three-game winning streak with a 118.4 passer rating that includes 12 touchdown passes and just two picks.

End of first half offense falls short for Lewis

The margin between winning and losing in the NFL is fractional, particularly in the bloated middle of the pack. Few lived the old cliche more the last two weeks than the Bengals, who played to a one-point deficit in nine quarters against Washington and New York.

Bengals notes: Protection concerns remain; Dalton, Eifert on injury report

The Cincinnati Bengals are once again facing pass protection questions after the New York Giants, who entered Monday night as the league’s 30th-ranked group in sacking the quarterback, got to Andy Dalton three times and hurried him several others in a 21-20 victory at MetLife Stadium.

First look: Bengals vs. Bills

The Cincinnati Bengals (3-5-1) are working off a short week following a 21-20 loss to the New York Giants on Monday night at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey. Buffalo is coming off its bye week and sits at 4-5 overall and are currently on a three-game losing streak. They lost to Seattle 31-25 on Nov. 7.

Walkthru: Bengals look to avoid ‘weak-minded’ thinking

In the aftermath of a one-point loss to the New York Giants on Monday, the players in a largely Cincinnati Bengals silent locker room tried to process how a team with Super Bowl aspirations in the preseason sat on the brink of postseason irrelevancy with a 3-5-1 record.

Bengals Beat Podcast: 3-5-1

This week Paul Dehner Jr. and Jim Owczarski jump into the prospect of the window closing on this group of Bengals, new reality of the season, the concept of speaking up in the locker room and touch on the future of Marvin Lewis. Plus, hear from receiver A.J. Green, defensive end Michael Johnson and offensive lineman Andrew Whitworth coming off the Monday night loss against New York.

AFC North Bytes

Suggs talks upcoming Cowboys game

Baltimore Ravens linebacker Terrell Suggs talks about playing against the Dallas Cowboys, having Michael Pierce and Brandon Williams on the defensive line, and playng on the same team as Steve Smith Sr.

Browns players Andrew Hawkins, Josh McCown encouraged after meetings on Capitol Hill about police brutality

When Andrew Hawkins stood by a picture of Martin Luther King Jr. in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building and Josh McCown sat across from politicians he’s accustomed to seeing on CNN, the importance of their trip to Capitol Hill sunk in for the Browns players.

Steelers bench Jones, turn to Harrison

Actions often speak louder than words. Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin wouldn’t publicly call out any defensive players in the wake of last Sunday’s 35-30 loss to the Dallas Cowboys, but his reaction was resounding. Outside linebacker Jarvis Jones was moved out of the starting rotation in favor of 38-year-old James Harrison, who will now line up opposite Anthony Chickillo. Those two will start when the Steelers (4-5) head to Cleveland (0-10) Sunday in an attempt to snap a four-game losing streak.

Random Bytes

Raiders undrafted rookie Kirkland thrives as extra lineman

After failing to hear his name called during last spring's NFL draft, Denver Kirkland's number is getting called quite often for the Oakland Raiders this season. Kirkland has gone from the disappointment of being undrafted despite leaving Arkansas early to making the Raiders initially as a practice squad player to becoming a key contributor as Oakland's extra offensive lineman.

Christine Michael to Packers

The Green Bay Packers announced they have claimed running back Christine Michael off waivers on Wednesday. In a corresponding roster move, the team placed running back Don Jackson on injured reserve.'s Mike Garafolo first reported the news.

28 HOF Finalists

The Pro Football Hall of Fame's selection process for the Class of 2017 has officially begun. The 48-person committee compiled an initial list of 94 modern-era nominees from which these 26 semi-finalists were selected. This list will be further reduced to the 15 finalists, who will be unveiled in January.

Zimmer: Keep team mentally stable? What about me?

At least Vikings coach Mike Zimmer is keeping his sense of humor -- we think. At a press conference on Wednesday, he brought up a question he received earlier in the week from reporters in Arizona. "They asked me on the Arizona conference call how I keep the team mentally stable," Zimmer said, via The St. Paul Pioneer Press. "Well, I have to worry about myself."