The Bengals set out to create a brand far outside of the broadcast booth when hiring Dan Hoard to join Dave Lapham and unanimously across the organization they view the venture an undeniable success.
A.J. Green made it out to the field for Friday morning’s walk-through held in a crisp 18 degrees on the Paul Brown Stadium turf, but after being limited the previous two days that looks like all the Pro Bowl wide receiver is going to do because he's listed as doubtful with his partially torn hamstring for Sunday’s game (1 p.m.-Cincinnati’s Channel 5) against the Steelers at Paul Brown Stadium.
Let’s just get it out of the way right away. As Burfict, the Bengals’ best defensive player, and Bell, the Steelers best player period, prepare to meet Sunday at Paul Brown Stadium (1 p.m.-Cincinnati’s Channel 12) for the first time since Burfict made a season-ending tackle on Bell midway through the second quarter of last season’s Bengals’ victory in Pittsburgh, Burfict made clear that in his mind he wasn’t celebrating the hit even though in Steelers’ minds he was.
Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton and his wife, Jordan, played host to 11 families for the Andy & Jordan Dalton Foundation’s Holiday Hearts program on Thursday. Families enjoyed a holiday-themed evening with Andy and Jordan, including dinner, holiday treat-making, a Build-a-Bear station, games and presents. Each family received a family gift and Christmas tree along with additional gifts from their wish lists. Most importantly, the families could spend quality time with each other, something the Daltons cherish this time of year.
Sunday’s game marks the first time the Steelers come to PBS since the infamous Brawl in the Paul, otherwise known as the AFC Wild Card Game of Jan. 9, 2016. The Bengals had the ball and a 16-15 lead with 1:32 left, but a fumble and pair of 15-yard penalties led to an 18-16 loss.
Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver A.J. Green, who is listed as doubtful with a hamstring injury, will not play Sunday against the Pittsburgh Steelers, a source told ESPN's Bob Holtzman. The tentative plan is for Green to return on Dec. 24 in Houston, the source said.
AFC North Bytes
Steelers running back Le'Veon Bell, whose torrid pace is leading his Pittsburgh's playoff push, says he's not worried about his contract future. Bell is a free agent in 2017, and ESPN's Adam Schefter and Chris Mortensen reported that the Steelers are likely to place a franchise tag worth $12.377 million on their star running back. The Steelers then could work on a long-term deal while protecting Bell from the open market.
The Baltimore Ravens are not just battling the Philadelphia Eagles on Sunday. The Ravens must also battle the outside perception that they will look past the Eagles. The following Sunday could represent Baltimore's biggest game of the season against its biggest rival. On Christmas, the Ravens' game at the Pittsburgh Steelers could be for the AFC North title.
Rookie pass-rusher Carl Nassib seems to have hit the rookie wall. The problem is he hit it about nine games ago. The nation's leading collegiate sacker last season with 15.5 at Penn State, Nassib has only 1.5 this season -- and only half of one since returning from his broken hand nine games ago.
A young QB who's had success almost never makes it to the open market, but Mike Glennon will this March. Which other underrated players are poised to cash in?
He's been sidelined since Week 2, but Peterson announced he's ready to return Sunday from a torn meniscus as the Vikings host the Indianapolis Colts. Minnesota is 2-6 in its past eight games, but at 7-6 overall the Vikings still have a shot at sneaking into the playoffs. Football Outsiders gives them a 14.1 percent chance.
The Texans have moved Jadeveon Clowney from linebacker to defensive end in 2016, where it’s often a greater challenge to make an impact in a 3-4 system. Clowney is definitely making an impact this year; he makes more of it when he gets a chance to line up across from a tight end.
Of the three remaining teams on the Oakland Raiders' regular-season schedule, left tackle Donald Penn might be most worried about this week's game in San Diego. The Chargers (5-8) have the fourth-worst record in the AFC, are the only team in the West already eliminated from playoff contention and are riding a two-game losing streak.