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Bengals Bytes (9/28): Houston has a problem

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Tyler Eifert remains a game time decision for Thursday night, according to Marvin Lewis at least. The Ravens hope their offense gets going soon. The Texans just lost the face of their franchise for an extended period of time.

NFL: Houston Texans at New England Patriots Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports

Developing depth hopes to turn third-down blues red hot

This is why the Bengals think linebacker Vontaze Burfict can help them even if he plays only the key snaps in his return to the middle of their defense Thursday night (8:25-Cincinnati’s Channel 12 and NFL Network) against the Dolphins at Paul Brown Stadium.

Lewis remembers Arnie: 'He made it real.'

Bengals head coach Marvin Lewis paused amid the chaos of a NFL short week to remember his fellow Pittsburgh-area native Arnold Palmer. One good way to get Lewis talking about his closet passion of golf is to ask him about the auction item he won a few years back, when he jetted a few of his friends to Latrobe, Pa., for a round with "The King."

The Burfict expectation: Game-changing plays

Adam Jones exalted him in the immediate aftermath of a disappointing home loss. Rey Maualuga posted a video to his Instagram account that ended with the Cincinnati Bengals linebacker quietly pantomiming a celebratory yell in a meeting room inside Paul Brown Stadium. Needless to say, the return of Vontaze Burfict has his defensive teammates more than excited.

Cincinnati Bengals CB Dre Kirkpatrick held out of practice again

Cincinnati Bengals starting cornerback Dre Kirkpatrick did not practice on Tuesday, the second straight day he was held out. Kirkpatrick was a spectator during the Bengals' walkthrough during the portion of practice open to the media.

Tyler Eifert of Cincinnati Bengals not expected to play vs. Miami Dolphins

Cincinnati Bengals tight end Tyler Eifert, who has not played yet this season because of an ankle injury, is not expected to play in Thursday night's game against the Miami Dolphins, a team source told ESPN's Bob Holtzman.

Eifert game-time decision

In such a short week prepping for the Dolphins Thursday night (8:25-Cincinnati’s Channel 12 and NFL Network), the Bengals are limited to a couple of walk-throughs instead of all-out practices, so it’s tough to get a gauge on where they stand with injuries.

First look: Bengals vs. Dolphins

The Cincinnati Bengals (1-2) once again struggled to put points on the board and had some defensive breakdowns in a 29-17 loss to the undefeated Denver Broncos.

Tyler Eifert maintains wait-and-see approach to return

Every day, Tyler Eifert gets closer to a return to the field for the Cincinnati Bengals and while the tight end maintained his wait-and-see approach with whether or not he plays Thursday night, he said he felt no soreness and had no setbacks after going through an entire week of practice last week.

AFC North Bytes

Ravens Confident Their Offense Will Take Off, And It's Not Far Away

Baltimore is 25th in the NFL in average yards per game and 24th in points per game (19). The Ravens have scored just four touchdowns in three games. But Head Coach John Harbaugh and quarterback Joe Flacco see improvements coming as the unit gets more time together.

Cleveland Browns scouting report: Washington Redskins

Jay Gruden’s pass offense averages 330 yards a game. And Kirk Cousins hasn’t even strung together two good games yet. Gruden uses tight end Jordan Reed to command attention. If defense’s double him, one of the three primary receivers will have a big day – DeSean Jackson, Pierre Garcon and second-year slot man Jamison Crowder. Rookie Josh Doctson has been a non-factor.

3 takes from Tomlin on Chiefs game

Running back Le’Veon Bell is eligible to return this week from his three-game suspension when the Steelers host the Kansas City Chiefs at Heinz Field on Sunday night, and Coach Mike Tomlin made it clear that you will see plenty of him.

Random Bytes

Chris Simms' NFL Power Rankings for Week 4

Week 3 was a crazy week in the NFL, as there were unexpected outcomes in games such as Cardinals/Bills, Rams/Buccaneers and Eagles/Steelers. How did Week 3's results affect Chris Simms' power rankings?

Antonio Smith to Texans

Antonio Smith is going to make it a baker's dozen in the NFL. The free-agent defensive end reportedly signed with the Houston Texans on Tuesday, per Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle, confirming he intends to play his 13th year in the league.

J.J. Watt re-injures back, could miss season

J.J. Watt will have to wait until next season to make a serious run at an unprecedented fourth NFL Defensive Player of the Year award. The league's dominant defensive force re-injured his back during Houston's Week 3 loss to the New England Patriots, NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport reported Tuesday, according to multiple sources with direct knowledge of the situation.

Which 0-3 team would you rather be a fan of?

These are halcyon days for fans of the Patriots, Ravens, Broncos, Eagles and Vikings. Your teams are rolling; undefeated when it seems so many other teams are just trying to sort themselves out. Then, there are the fans of the Jaguars, Browns, Saints and Bears. Statistically, there is about a 3 percent chance one of these teams will reach the postseason. Since 1980, only five teams who have started off by losing their first three games made the playoffs. Only one team since the merger -- the 1992 San Diego Chargers -- made the playoffs at 0-4.

New England Patriots still hope Jimmy Garoppolo or Jacoby Brissett can play vs. Buffalo Bills

Jimmy Garoppolo and Jacoby Brissett both were present for the start of Tuesday's practice as the New England Patriots remain hopeful that at least one of the injured quarterbacks will be available for Sunday's home game against the Buffalo Bills.

NFL 2016 - Small slump or big slide - Predicting bounce-back players for all 32 teams

Todd Gurley is averaging just 3.0 yards per carry. Blake Bortles has more turnovers than touchdowns. Odell Beckham Jr., Jordan Reed and Brandon Marshall don't yet have a touchdown catch. Are they going through an early season funk, or is it a sign of decline?