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Bengals Bytes (11/26): Still close

Brandon LaFell and Steve Smith Sr. have remained close since their days in Carolina. Greg Williams returns to the Superdome for the first time since the bounty scandal.

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NFL: International Series-Washington Redskins at Cincinnati Bengals Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Bengals at Ravens: Three keys, predictions

The last two weeks the Bengals defense did a nice job of creating opportunities for turnovers. Cornerback Dre Kirkpatrick picked off passes in back-to-back weeks, but a dropped interception by Adam Jones and inability to pick up a fumble marked missed chances at game-changing plays. They’ll need to make those against Flacco, who has thrown multiple interceptions in a game four times this season. Flacco loves to throw the deep ball to Mike Wallace, so keeping him in the short and intermediate routes will supply a number of passes floated into the opportunity for picks.

Bengals LB Vontaze Burfict fined for giving fans the finger

Cincinnati Bengals linebacker Vontaze Burfict was fined $12,154 for unsportsmanlike conduct by the National Football League on Friday, per a league source. The fine was handed down due to a gesture Burfict made to the crowd while he was on the Bengals' sideline on Sunday following a tackle. The FOX television broadcast caught Burfict giving the crowd the middle finger.

Dealing with Day 1: Crisis control with NFL injuries

When a player sustains a devastating injury, the shock and emotions can overwhelm, often in front of a national television audience. For the Bengals, the staff immediately shifts into action of a full-scale attack on providing calm, comfort and assurance.

Adam Jones ready for showdown with Ravens’ Smith

If you pulled something rolling your eyes every time your uncle ranted about millennials on Thanksgiving, Baltimore Ravens wide receiver Steve Smith is here to make things better. He’s got a thought or two on millennials as well, but they’re way more entertaining than your uncle’s.

Peerman, Harris poised for Ravens; Shawn Williams doubtful, Dre has full Friday

The Bengals prepped for Sunday’s game in Baltimore (1 p.m.-Cincinnati’s Channel 12) with 52 players on the roster, but after Friday’s walk-through head coach Marvin Lewis wouldn’t commit to running back Cedric Peerman as the man to take the final spot. It’s the likely decision since they are down to two running backs, but they may not do it until Saturday or Sunday as they monitor the injuries.

Bengals go to Mr. Smith with AFC North on line

There are no leftovers for the Bengals defense. It has a lot on its plate Thanksgiving Sunday (1 p.m.-Cincinnati’s Channel 12) in Baltimore, where they not only have to help out an offense without A.J. Green and Giovani Bernard but they have to reign in some returning old friends on the Ravens let-it fly-zone offense. Quarterback Joe Flacco (ACL) and wide receiver Steve Smith Sr., (Achilles), who missed much of last season, are back. So is tight end Dennis Pitta.

By The Numbers Game Preview: Week 12

Ravens head coach John Harbaugh, a former long-time University of Cincinnati assistant coach in the 1990s, has three assistants from that staff: Jerry Rosburg his assistant head coach and special teams coordinator, inside linebackers coach Don Martindale, and senior offensive line coach Craig Ver Steeg. Assistant DBs coach Chris Hewitt played at UC in the early ‘90s.

Matchup of the Game: Whit, T-Sizzle go one more round

They call Suggs “T-Sizzle.” In Cincinnati they see him as the Ravens’ “Swizzle Stick,” the man who stirs the drink of the Bengals’ arch-rival defense that has climbed back to No. 2 in the NFL. As Suggs lines up for his 23rd game against the Bengals Sunday in Baltimore (1 p.m.-Cincinnati’s Channel 12), Whitworth calls him, simply, a fellow Pro Bowler.

With A.J. Green, Giovani Bernard out, which Bengals could fill voids?

The Cincinnati Bengals have a big void to fill with the losses of wide receiver A.J. Green and running back Giovani Bernard, who represented almost half of the team's receptions. Green is out for at least this week's game against the Ravens with a hamstring injury, and Bernard is out for the season with a torn ACL. Green's status for the rest of the season is unknown.

AFC North Bytes

Bengals' Brandon LaFell, now 30, still 'kid' to mentor Steve Smith

Baltimore Ravens wide receiver Steve Smith has made a lot of enemies over his 16-year career. The list of opponents he has insulted, traded barbs with, or gotten into an altercation with at some point might come close to approaching the amount of career catches he has (1,000). But not Cincinnati Bengals receiver Brandon LaFell.

In and Out of Cleveland, There Is Still Faith in Winless Browns

In all the computations and calculations that go into the Moneyball approach to sports, there is one simple multiplication rule that trumps everything when it comes to using the approach in the NFL. Multiply zero wins by anything and it equals zero confidence in the process.

The Steelers defense took a stand against the Colts, twice

After an impressive 28-7 victory over the Colts on Thursday night, the Steelers sit at 6-5. While the offense often looked deadly, it was a defense that snuffed out two fourth and goal situations that may have been most responsible for the huge win.

Random Bytes

Gregg Williams returns to New Orleans for the first time since the bounty scandal

The New Orleans Saints had the entire franchise thrown off its axis more than four years ago, when the NFL suspended coach Sean Payton and defensive coordinator Gregg Williams for the full season for Williams’ role in the maintenance of a bounty program during the 2009 season. For the first time since then, Williams will return to the Superdome as a coach.

Derek Carr, Dak Prescott headline spectacular young QB crop

t's not a coincidence that the perennial contenders in the NFL feature some of the best quarterbacks in the game. The QB1 is undoubtedly the most important position on the gridiron and elite field generals are able to single-handedly carry their teams to the championship threshold. Look no further than the success of the New England Patriots (Tom Brady), Pittsburgh Steelers (Ben Roethlisberger) and Green Bay Packers (Aaron Rodgers) -- all of whom have been postseason regulars under their respective QBs. Although the Saints haven't played at a championship level lately, New Orleans is always considered a dangerous squad due to Drew Brees' presence on the field.

5 must-see matchups for scouts in Michigan-Ohio State

One of the benefits of these games for scouts is that many of the prospects will face one-on-one matchups that will be as tough as any they've faced all season. Here are five such matchups that scouts will be watching on Saturday when the Wolverines visit the Buckeyes (12 p.m. ET, ABC).

Giants thin at left guard with Pugh, Jones and Newhouse out

The New York Giants are going to be changing their starter at left guard for the fourth consecutive week. Coach Ben McAdoo announced Friday that guards Justin Pugh, Brett Jones and Marshall Newhouse all will miss Sunday's game in Cleveland. The rookie head man also said backup guard Adam Gettis is dealing with a calf injury.