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Bengals Bytes (11/8): Closing in

Can the Bengals defense improve in the second half of the season? The Steelers running game is struggling. The MVP race is getting close.

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NFL: Denver Broncos at Oakland Raiders Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports

Bengals Walkthru: Can defense lead second-half surge?

Changes are on the way. At least, according to defensive coordinator Paul Guenther last week in response to the latest struggles of his group to gain momentum this season. We'll offer more on what those changes could and should be later today.

Hail to bye-the-numbers

Bye the numbers as the Bengals begin to prepare for next Monday night’s game in New York against the Giants with Tuesday Election Day

Cincinnati Bengals' red-zone status improving with Tyler Eifert back

When the Cincinnati Bengals went into their bye week, the AFC North was led by Pittsburgh. They emerge to an AFC North now led by Baltimore. The division is certainly up for grabs this season, which is good news for the Bengals, who had an up-and-down first half of the season that ended with a tie against Washington.

AFC North Bytes

Retired Baltimore Ravens tackle used marijuana to quit football

The retired lineman uses cannabis because he says it heals the hurt from a lifetime playing the game. This is his crusade to convince the NFL he's right.

Steelers running game going in the wrong direction

In his first three games of this season, Steelers running back Le’Veon Bell averaged 6.9 yards per carry. He had 263 yards on 38 carries against the Chiefs, Jets and Dolphins. In the past two games against the Patriots and Ravens, Bell is averaging 3.1 yards per carry. In the 21-14 loss Sunday to the Ravens, he managed just 32 yards on 14 carries in one of the worst games of his career.

Browns sticking with Kessler as starter Thursday night

Browns Coach Hue Jackson told reporters Monday that he’s sticking with rookie quarterback Cody Kessler as the team’s starter for Thursday night’s game at Baltimore.

Random Bytes

Richard Sherman legally leveled a Bills receiver on Buffalo's last play

Monday Night Football was dramatic this week. With the Seahawks leading the Bills, 31-25, and 20 seconds left, Buffalo faced a fourth-and-goal from the Seattle 15-yard line. There looked like there was illegal contact on the final play, but there was nothing illegal about it.

Delahoussaye carries the legacies of two fallen kickers

LSU kicker Colby Delahoussaye was in the fiery crash that killed his friends and fellow kickers, Mike Sadler and Sam Foltz. Delahoussaye carries their legacies on and off the field.

Bill Simmons: TV future unclear after HBO cancellation

With the cancellation of his HBO show, what does the future hold for Bill Simmons's TV career? That plus a dissection of NFL and World Series ratings.

Tracking the 2016 NFL MVP race: Tom Brady leads, but Derek Carr and Matt Ryan are closing in

A year ago, Tom Brady looked like the consensus MVP candidate at the 2015 midseason point. While both the New England Patriots and Carolina Panthers were undefeated until after Thanksgiving, Brady’s stats were far better than Cam Newton’s in the first two months of the season.

Jeff Fisher Confirms Case Keenum Will Start vs. Jets, Comments on Jared Goff

The Los Angeles Rams have lost four games in a row, but there won't be a change at starting quarterback when they take the field on Sunday against the 3-6 New York Jets. Coach Jeff Fisher said on Monday Case Keenum will remain the starter over No. 1 draft pick Jared Goff, per Myles Simmons of the team's official website.