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Bengals Bytes (12/23): Strong silent type

Geno Atkins doesn’t do much talking off the field, but as long as he keeps doing the talking with his play that is fine. Mike Tomlin talks about playing on Christmas day. The Cowboys got an early present from the Giants.

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Wild Card Round - Pittsburgh Steelers v Cincinnati Bengals Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images

THE CONFESSIONS OF A CHELSEA FAN: BENGALS STAR, DOMATA PEKO TALKS FAITH, DAVID LUIZ AND THE NFL

Oh I love being here in Cincinnati, this is my eleventh year so my three boys have grown up here, my eldest being 12 so he has pretty much been here the whole time. Cincinnati has been treating us well, the people are kind, the organisation is great and hopefully I can retire here.

By The Numbers Game Preview: Week 16

On Christmas Eve the Bengals are playing their Scrooges. Since the advent of the Green-Dalton Era in 2011, the Texas have beaten the Bengals in back-to-back playoff games in 2011 and 2012 and in 2015 spoiled their 8-0 start with a 10-6 Monday Night victory at Paul Brown Stadium

Slants: Green, still limited, thinks he can go; Ced could go left; Lewis salutes Tez, Geno

Pro Bowl wide receiver A.J. Green says he’s healthy enough to play Saturday night (8:25-Cincinnati’s Channel 12) in Houston. Now he just has to hope the Bengals agree with him in their efforts to bring him back at only 100 percent from his partially torn hamstring because he’s still marked as limited after Thursday morning’s walk-through.

Fantasy Forecast: Week 16

We’ve all been grinding this NFL season with the hope of making it to this point, the fantasy football championship game. And, for those who are in the consolation bracket, just do what I do in those situation; play the role of spoiler. We don’t stop playing just because we can’t be #1. Shoot for the stars, but be willing to accept the moon!

Chasing Santa: Bengals' dads on Christmas

Brandon LaFell can quickly recall the last time he was home for Christmas, because it’s been all of one time in his adult life: in 2007, as a sophomore in college. And that was because his LSU Tigers were playing for a national championship, giving him some flexibility before the bowl game to get see his family in Houston. Eric Winston’s Christmas tree hasn’t been out of storage for a while.

A.J. Green says he'll play at Texans

Following more than a month sidelined with a hamstring injury, wide receiver A.J. Green says he will return for the Bengals this weekend at Houston. Much has changed since he sustained a Grade 2 strain of his hamstring on Nov. 20 - most notably, Cincinnati being eliminated from the playoffs for the first time in his six-year career.

Bengals DT Geno Atkins a man of big plays, but few words

Cincinnati Bengals coach Marvin Lewis spotted defensive tackle Geno Atkins as the players were filing into the locker room after Thursday's practice. Lewis, who was speaking to reporters, implored Atkins, who had just been named to his fifth straight Pro Bowl, to join the group.

AFC North Bytes

Pittsburgh Steelers' Mike Tomlin is a lover of football on Christmas

Complaints of the NFL schedule have become commonplace, from the Thursday night "poopfest" to the oversaturation of games over three weekdays. Pittsburgh Steelers coach Mike Tomlin takes that the other way. He's pumped about playing on Christmas Day. Tomlin and the Steelers are playing the Baltimore Ravens in a matchup that will likely decide the AFC North. But Tomlin sounds as if he'd be happy coaching any level of football on this day, as long as the product on the field can spread some joy.

As another losing season winds down, Josh McCown ponders his future

Something caught Josh McCown's eye as he watched the Ohio State-Michigan game on Nov. 26. “There was a graphic about [Michigan coach] Jim Harbaugh that showed his last year playing in the NFL,” McCown said. “It showed his age, 37, and his team, San Diego, went 1-15. That kind of hit home.”

Plenty at stake in Pittsburgh Steelers-Baltimore Ravens matchup

Ravens reporter Jamison Hensley and Steelers reporter Jeremy Fowler take an in-depth look at Sunday's matchup between the Baltimore Ravens and Pittsburgh Steelers at Heinz Field. The Steelers clinch the AFC North with a win, while the Ravens will need to beat Pittsburgh and then win at the Cincinnati Bengals in Week 17 or get some help.

Random Bytes

Giants vs. Eagles: Score and Twitter Reaction for Thursday Night Football

The playoffs are still on hold for the New York Giants. The Giants would have clinched a playoff spot with a win on Thursday at Lincoln Financial Field, but the division-rival Philadelphia Eagles played spoiler with a 24-19 victory. Only the Dallas Cowboys were happier than Philadelphia because they clinched the NFC East and home-field advantage throughout the playoffs thanks to New York's loss.

Dallas Cowboys Clinch NFC East and First Round Bye

The Dallas Cowboys went from worst to first in the course of one season, and they have two rookies to thank. Dallas clinched the NFC East title Thursday night by virtue of the Philadelphia Eagles' 24-19 win over the New York Giants. The Cowboys also clinched home-field advantage throughout the playoffs and a first-round bye.

Dan Quinn: Julio Jones to play for Falcons vs. Panthers

Julio Jones is back. Falcons coach Dan Quinn told reporters on Thursday that Atlanta's All-Pro receiver will play Saturday against the Carolina Panthers, per Kelsey Conway of the team's official website.

Week 16 Cheat Sheet: Can Tom Savage do it again?

Can Tom Savage propel the Texans into the playoffs? Will the return of A.J. Green be the difference maker for Andy Dalton? Here's what you need to know heading into Week 16.