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Bengals Bytes (11/30): Why the Steelers should be concerned

Three reasons why the Steelers should be concerned about facing the Bengals. The Bengals can no longer hide behind their easy schedule.

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NFL: Cleveland Browns at Cincinnati Bengals Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports

3 big causes for concern in Steelers vs. Bengals
The Pittsburgh Steelers are one of the hottest and most inconsistent teams in the NFL at the same time. They have found a way to win six games in a row but have done it with very up and down performances. This week the Steelers are heading to Cincinnati to take on the hated Bengals. On paper, this one should favor the Steelers but that doesn’t mean there are reasons to worry. Here are three big ones.

Cincinnati Bengals should take their cue from Joe Mixon
Week 13 will be one to remember, for a few reasons. But, they all will have similarities that should help change the culture of Cincinnati Bengals football. If not for years to come, it should be an immediate departure from the stagnant way of thinking. When the bright lights shine on the helmets of the Steelers and Bengals on Monday night, there should be a feeling of sheer frustration and the need for redemption. Cincinnati should listen to what Joe Mixon had to say.

Bengals defense needs to tighten up for Ben, Brown & Bell
he Bengals' defense allowed the winless Browns only 16 points and came away thinking: This can't happen again. The points weren't the problem. Cleveland piled up 405 yards as Isaiah Crowell ran for a season-high 95 yards and rookie DeShone Kizer threw for a career-high 268 yards. The Browns' penchant for self-destruction prevented them from getting more points.

Cincinnati Bengals can no longer hide behind weak NFL schedule
The Bengals have gone 5-3 since their unsightly 0-3 start that included a change at coordinator in season for the first time in club history. Sounds nice. Sounds like a team on the rise. Well, yes and no.

Despite what many believe, Steelers players are focused on the Bengals
While the shock waves of Mike Tomlin’s comments regarding the Week-15 game between the Steelers and Patriots still reverberate throughout the NFL world and Pittsburgh fan base, it’s safe to say the players are focused on the Bengals. Several players already have openly commented on Tomlin’s remarks and how, despite what their head coach said, they’re focused on the Week-13 opponent, the Cincinnati Bengals.

Joe Mixon changes celebration after Le'Veon Bell says he copied him
Don't expect a jersey exchange between Cincinnati Bengals running Joe Mixon and Pittsburgh Steelers running back Le'Veon Bell when their teams play on Monday night. Bell accused Mixon of copying his running style and first down celebration one month ago via his Twitter account. Notably, Mixon has dropped the celebration since then for something else.

Fan Vote for Bengals Super Bowl Ticket Giveaway Now Open
Voting is now open for the Bengals Super Bowl LII ticket giveaway. Bengals Season Ticket Members were asked to submit videos telling fans why they should win a trip to the Super Bowl. The six finalists chosen include Jeremy Conley, Kelsey Wallis Doyle, Nicholas Hollan, Zach Glutz, Paul Ackerman and Amanda Pennington.

Game Mixon eyes Steelers
Joe Mixon looked up to Le’Veon Bell, but when they meet Monday night (8:25-ESPN, Cincinnati’s Channel 5) when Mixon’s Bengals meet Bell’s Steelers, probably not so much anymore. If Mixon is looking up to anybody it is Raiders running back Marshawn Lynch, his fellow Bay-area product who has been checking up on him since he was in middle school. And boyhood hero Michael Vick.

TDBH: Kitna’s TD pass with 13 seconds left keeps worst-to-first Bengals in AFC North lead
Bengals quarterback Jon Kitna, the future high school math teacher, mulls the statistical probabilities after his 18-yard seed to tight end Matt Schobel with 13 seconds left today at Heinz Field suddenly gives the Bengals a 24-20 victory over the Steelers that keeps them in first place in the AFC North at 7-5 with the Baltimore team they play on the road next Sunday. "There was no probability," Kitna says.

AFC North Bytes

Mike Mitchell: You'd be a '[butt]hole' not to think about the Patriots
Over his post-cardio oatmeal Wednesday morning the New England Patriots did not cross Mike Mitchell's mind. They do from time to time and they have, he said, since they ended the Steelers' 2016 season, 36-17, at Gillette Stadium. But they're not a preoccupation for Mitchell or his teammates. To think so is dumb, he said.

Corey Coleman believes 'freak' Josh Gordon can lift the Browns to a victory
Corey Coleman remembers a Sunday at Baylor in 2014 where his former coach Art Briles turned on the Browns game so his players could behold the sight of their own former Bears star Josh Gordon. "I don't know how we got the game in Texas because people don't watch the Browns a lot in Texas, just being honest, but we were in the cafeteria, and we were watching this man play and I was like ... 'man this dude is good.' With me being so young, I'm going 'man, that's what I'm striving for.'''

BALTIMORE RAVENS: The Decline of Joe Flacco 2017
The Ravens are making a push for a playoff berth and if the regular season ended today, they’d be in, and headed to Jacksonville to take on the Jaguars. Unfortunately, there are five more games remaining in the 2017 season.

Random Bytes

NFL Players, Owners Reportedly Agree to League Activism Support Proposal
The NFL and its players have reportedly reached a tentative agreement on a proposal to partner together in an effort to promote social justice. According to the Washington Post's Mark Maske, the framework of the deal, which needs to be ratified by NFL owners, states the league and its teams will "provide approximately $90 million to $100 million between the onset of the arrangement and 2023 to social causes deemed important by the players, focused in particular on African American communities."

John Mara: Too Soon to Write Eli Manning 'Obituary,' but 'Tough Decisions' Ahead
The New York Giants front office was involved in the decision to bench Eli Manning, but the team isn't necessarily moving on from the veteran quarterback permanently. According to Jordan Raanan of ESPN, team president John Mara previously discussed the move with general manager Jerry Reese, who had already spoken with head coach Ben McAdoo about the topic.

Chris Simms' Week 13 NFL Picks
December brings about a weird time of the year for football players. Games are often won or lost on motivation and preparation as much as they are on talent. A lot depends on where your team stands in relation to the playoff picture—and I've been at both ends of the spectrum. When your team is out of playoff contention, this time of year tries your professionalism. You love playing the games Sundays, but Mondays through Saturdays become hard. Your body is beat up, and you're not as eager to put in the dedication and the preparation when you know it ultimately means little.