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Bengals Bytes (12/28): Not for nothing

The Bengals and Ravens game doesn’t mean much for the playoffs, but neither team is going into their finale looking at it that way. The Browns are trying to keep their defensive momentum going into Week 17. Another coach has been fired.

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NFL: Cincinnati Bengals at Houston Texans Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

Peko in the middle of it one more time

It turns out that Domata Peko is many things to many people, starting with his Uso who lockers next him at Paul Brown Stadium, Carlos Dunlap. “He’s Santa Claus. He’s got the belly and the beard if he dies it white,” says Dunlap after Peko has delivered X-Box Ones to the equipment room for every player on defense, his annual rite of the holidays.

Slants: Whit looking at LT in 2017; Hello Swag at bye; Kumerow finally gets call

Andrew Whitworth sees himself playing anywhere next season, as long as it is at left tackle. After returning to left guard for a start Saturday night in Houston for the first time in three years, Andrew Whitworth hopes he gets the call back at left tackle in this Sunday’s regular-season finale (1 p.m.-Cincinnati’s Channel 12) against the Ravens.

Fantasy Recap: Week 16

While a few crazy leagues play through Week 17 of the NFL season, the vast majority of fantasy leagues held their championship game this week. Some were in the hunt for the league title, and this remained active to the very end. Others were in the consolation bracket, leaving them to fight for, at best, 3rd place. What about me you ask? Well, I’m in over 40 leagues total. So, I win some and I lose some. But, I always win more than I lose!

Finale kicks off offseason

The Bengals and the Ravens are playing for nothing, so they say, in Sunday’s regular-season finale (1 p.m.-Cincinnati’s Channel 12) at Paul Brown Stadium. But it is New Year’s Day and so it’s rather fitting that the first day of 2017 is going to display for one last time all the questions that Bengaldom will immerse itself in for the rest of the year. So, even though Big Whit and T. Sizzle aren’t teeing it up for a play-off spot, the swirling questions in the wake of their first losing season in six years are still going to make for an eventful week around PBS.

Bengals notes: Whitworth not interested in giving up left tackle

Andrew Whitworth played left guard while Cedric Ogbuehi took over the left tackle spot on Saturday in Houston. Whether that will continue as the plan Sunday in the season finale against Baltimore is unknown.

First look: How the Bengals stack up against the Ravens

The Cincinnati Bengals (5-9-1) return home to open the New Year following a 12-10 loss to Houston on Christmas Eve. The Bengals were without A.J. Green and Tyler Eifert but drove into game-winning field goal range before Randy Bullock missed a game-winning 43-yard attempt at the gun. Baltimore (8-7) had a chance to keep its playoff hopes alive against Pittsburgh last week but fell 31-27.

Marvin Lewis of Cincinnati Bengals won't retire, plans to coach team next season

Marvin Lewis intends to return to the Cincinnati Bengals in 2017, a source close to Lewis told ESPN's Ed Werder, disputing a report that the longtime coach will retire at the end of this season. Rumors have swirled about Lewis' future as the Bengals (5-9-1) close in on completing their first losing season since 2010.

2017 schedule: Cincinnati Bengals' opponents set

The Cincinnati Bengals' 12-10 loss Saturday placed them third in the AFC North and helped finalize their 2017 home and away opponents. The dates of each game will be determined in the spring when the full regular-season schedule is released.

AFC North Bytes

Cincinnati Bengals' finale might be send-off for Ravens WR Steve Smith

The Cincinnati Bengals have had a lot of battles against Ravens wide receiver Steve Smith Sr. over the years. Smith might be 37, but he hasn't lost any of his fire. And the Bengals have enjoyed sparring with him. Dre Kirkpatrick made a pointed remark at Smith earlier in the season after he and Adam Jones held Smith to four catches for 20 yards.

Mike Tomlin Responds to Terry Bradshaw's Comments About Head Coaching Abilities

Pittsburgh Steelers coach Mike Tomlin isn't taking Terry Bradshaw's criticism lightly. Tomlin responded during his Tuesday press conference, calling Bradshaw's comments "unprofessional" and throwing a not-so-subtle jab the Steelers legend's way.

After late stand, Browns defense looks to keep a 'good thing going'

The Browns were openly none too pleased about a shaky afternoon in Buffalo, where they gave up 451 yards and 19 first downs in a loss to the Bills. They left their final game at FirstEnergy Stadium in much better spirits after a dramatic, 20-17 win over the Chargers on Christmas Eve, a game that saw Cleveland’s defense turn back Philip Rivers and San Diego time and again down the stretch.

Random Bytes

An NFL Sunday with Benny from the Bronx

A regular caller to sports talk radio in New York City, Benny lives and dies with his beloved Packers while chain-smoking, fist-pumping and nervously pacing throughout the action. Just another rabid fan? He also has Roger Goodell and Green Bay president Mark Murphy in his phone.

Buffalo Bills fire head coach Rex Ryan

The Bills also relieved assistant head coach Rob Ryan of his duties. Offensive coordinator Anthony Lynn will serve as interim coach for the Bills' finale on Sunday against the New York Jets, and EJ Manuel will start in place of quarterback Tyrod Taylor, league sources told ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter.

Bill Belichick: Frequent coaching changes aren’t “best way” for teams

The Bills fired Rex Ryan as their head coach on Tuesday and made Anthony Lynn their interim coach for the final week of the season. Lynn is the 23rd coach, permanent or interim, to lead the Bills, Jets or Dolphins into a game since the start of the 2000 season.

If the Cowboys pull their QB, they may go with Mark Sanchez

If the Cowboys get in position to pull starters Sunday against the Eagles, it might not be Tony Romo who replaces Dak Prescott. Via Drew Davison of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, there’s a chance the Cowboys would activate third quarterback Mark Sanchez for just such an instance, keeping Tony Romo tucked safety away behind glass in the event of a playoff injury.

Chris Simms' NFL Power Rankings Ahead of Week 17

I had to see the quarterback my coaching friends up in Oakland were raving about. So I flew out to Raiders training camp in the summer of 2014. I watched the kid throw. And I understood what all the fuss was about from the moment I saw a football leave his hands.