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Bengals Bytes (9/18): What doesn’t kill you

The Bengals are a better team for having gone through the Wild Card meltdown. Josh McCown is set to return to Baltimore and start for Cleveland. The NFL’s ratings are dropping.

NFL: Cincinnati Bengals-Minicamp Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports

Tyler Eifert: American Made

The freight elevator to the studio buzzes to a halt, and the doors rumble open as Tyler Eifert, modern-day gladiator of the NFL steps out. At 6’5″ and 250 lbs you might imagine that the ground shakes as he walks. Today, however, he’s gingerly hobbling. He’s sporting a giant plastic walking boot on one foot.

Another AFC North summit

Don’t call this a heavyweight title rematch in the Bengals locker room. Don’t refer to Sunday’s game in Pittsburgh (1 p.m.-Cincinnati’s Channel 12) as a UFC blockbuster. They feel like the fallout of hype of what unfolded in the final 1:23 of the heart-breaking loss to the Steelers in last year’s Wild Card Game obscured what had been a tough, tight game between two talented AFC North foes that may very well be the most physical teams in the NFL.

Doc: Bengals are better today for playoff meltdown

All week, The Men were monkish with their vows of silence. Getting a Cincinnati Bengal to talk about the Pittsburgh Steelers was like asking a man to talk bad about his mother. “New team, new season’’ came the Marvin Mantra. If you heard anything nastier than that, you were a Gatorade bottle on a meeting room desk. If the Bengals play on Sunday the way they talked all week, they’ll lose 100-6.

Bengals-Steelers: Predictions, 3 keys

The Bengals head to Pittsburgh for the Steelers’ home opener a week after winning at the New York Jets. Here's a look at three keys to the game and predictions from Bengals beat writers Jim Owczarski and Paul Dehner Jr.

A.J. Green stresses the importance of poise when Bengals play the Steelers

The Bengals and Steelers renew one of the most intense rivalries in football on Sunday. And the Bengals know it will be important to apply limits to the intensity.

Six pack of facts about Cincinnati Bengals, Pittsburgh Steelers

• This is just the fourth time in franchise history the Bengals have played their first two games on the road (went 1-1 in 2011, 0-2 in 1996, 0-2 in 1979).

AFC North Bytes

Browns-Ravens Preview: Josh McCown Returns

The Baltimore Ravens are forever etched in Josh McCown’s memory. McCown had one of his greatest games ever and also saw his season come to an end in the 2 meetings with the Ravens a year ago.

Ravens Defensive Line Coach Clarence Brooks Dies at Age 65

Longtime Baltimore Ravens assistant coach Clarence Brooks died Saturday morning from esophageal cancer. He was 65. Garrett Downing of the team's website reported the news and passed along comments from the coach's wife, Justa.

Ryan Shazier listed as questionable for Week 2

Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker Ryan Shazier suffered an injury to his right knee against the Washington Redskins on Monday. His official playing status against the Cincinnati Bengals in Week 2 has yet to be revealed.

Random Bytes

Eagles coach Doug Pederson says he'd join a teamwide protest

Philadelphia Eagles coach Doug Pederson says he would participate if there's a teamwide protest of the national anthem before Monday night's game at Chicago. Safety Malcolm Jenkins told 94 WIP-FM on Friday the team planned to do something. He added they didn't protest before the season opener last week out of respect because it was 9/11.

Early-season ratings decline continues for NFL

The statement from the NFL regarding the audience that watched the first Thursday Night Football game of the season creates the impression the glass is more than half full. The reality is that, however full the glass may be, it has sprung a leak.

NFL players react to Week 3 in college football

The third weekend of the college football season is underway, and NFL players are taking to social media to react to the action. Here's a look at some of their tweets.

How to watch every NFL Week 2 game

With Week 1 in the books after a wild slate of games, we turn our attention to a Sunday full of Week 2 games. There are plenty of rivalry matchups -- Cowboys-Redskins, Bengals-Steelers, Packers-Vikings -- as it's sure to be another fantastic two days of football. Here's your guide to catching every game.

Todd Gurley wants to stop 'trying to do too much'

The Los Angeles Rams' season-opening loss was one to forget, for fans and players alike. L.A.'s offense, led by journeyman Case Keenum, tallied 10 punts in 14 drives in Santa Clara and never capitalized on its one strength: Todd Gurley. Entering the season with a plethora of fantasy hype and Carl's Jr. commercials, the second-year back started his campaign slowly with a poor 17-carry, 47-yard performance.

Ron Rivera feels 'disrespected' that Carolina Panthers forced to open on road

Carolina Panthers coach Ron Rivera feels "disrespected" that the NFL schedule makers didn't allow the defending NFC Champions to open at home. He called it a "pain in the ass" to spend the entire offseason reliving the 24-10 Super Bowl 50 loss to Denver so the league could schedule a rematch at Denver to kick off the season.