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Bengals Bytes (12/1): Will we see good or bad Andy Dalton on Monday Night

Andy Dalton has been one of the more up or down quarterbacks in the NFL, and a large part of whether the Bengals will pull off the upset on Monday night depends on his performance. The Bengals defense is trying to be great and not just pretty good.

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NFL: Cincinnati Bengals at Denver Broncos Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

NFL Week 13 Preview: Steelers at Bengals
The Pittsburgh Steelers visit the Cincinnati Bengals in Week 13 of the 2017 NFL season. PFF previews the top player matchups of the game including Ben Roethlisberger vs Geno Atkins.

Cincinnati Bengals should get AJ McCarron playing time
There’s nothing worse than a Negative Nancy or even an extra Positive Polly. But, the truth is always somewhere in the middle. That being said, the Bengals need to avoid the same scenario of 2015. AJ McCarron needs to get some time under center. No, I’m not sticking pins in a voodoo doll. But, there has to be an insurance plan in place.

Will Bengals fans see Good or Bad Andy against Steelers?
In four days, the Cincinnati Bengals will be fighting for their playoff lives. A Monday night brawl with the Steelers will help prove if they’re worthy of postseason play or if they need to concentrate on building for the future. A huge part of that decision will rest on the shoulders of quarterback Andy Dalton. Love him or hate him, he’s the face of the franchise and it all goes through The Rifle.

Bengals defense seeking great, not pretty good
Bengals defensive coordinator Paul Guenther doesn’t like the concept of statement games. He doesn’t like the idea of Monday night against the Steelers holding a different process than this past Sunday against the Browns. “To me, that’s the way it should always be,” Guenther said.

Martavis Bryant to return 'some' kicks vs. Bengals
Expect to see Martavis Bryant line up for more kick returns against the Cincinnati Bengals. Steelers special teams coordinator Danny Smith echoed head coach Mike Tomlin in that the team continues to look at multiple kick returners, but said he will get some reps at against the Bengals in Monday night's 8:30 p.m. kickoff at Paul Brown Stadium.

Bengals Legends to be Honored at Steelers Game
In honor of the Bengals’ 50th season, Bengals Legends will be recognized during halftime ceremonies at every regular season home game. The following Bengals Legends are scheduled to be recognized during the Steelers game on Monday, Dec. 4 (8:30 p.m. ET).

Lewis, Dalton News Conference Transcripts 11/30
Obviously, with Monday Night Football and what the game means to us, we have to keep pushing forward. And the only way to keep pushing forward is to come up with the ‘W’ on Monday night. It’s very important, it keeps us on track. It’s a ‘control our own destiny’ kind of thing. We know the importance of it. We have to have a great week of preparation, and then exhibit it and play well on Monday evening.

Top 50 Moments: Bengals Hit Jackpot in Trading Deadline Blockbuster for Palmer
Carson Palmer goes to bed on the eve of the NFL’s trading deadline believing he’ll never play again and is pondering other professions. But at 4 a.m. he gets a text from agent David Dunn sending him to Oakland and elevating Bengals president Mike Brown into conversations for executive of the year. Six years later, a lifetime in the NFL, the Bengals are still reaping the benefits of a trade that ends nearly a year-long stalemate with Palmer, their franchise quarterback. In return for Palmer, Brown wins the lottery and receives from Oakland a first-round pick next year and a second-round pick in 2013.

Quick hits: Dre knows the score; Vigil, Vinny out; Lawson jacks lead; Half empty
Dre Kirkpatrick shoots from the hip, which is how he plays Steeler great Antonio Brown. So naturally Kirkpatrick isn’t shying away from how big Monday night’s game is against Pittsburgh (8:25-ESPN, Cincinnati’s Channel 5) at Paul Brown Stadium. Not with the Steelers at 9-2 and the Bengals at 5-6.

TDBH: Bengals survive San Diego slugfest to close on division title
It was the toughest of wins in the toughest of months, a West Coast game to start December against a contender, and when the Bengals emerge with a 15-round, 17-10 decision over the Chargers head coach Marvin Lewis knows exactly whom and what to thank. "We’re a tough bunch and they thrive on toughness and grit. They’re led by tough people up front on both sides of the football," Lewis says. He has a roster of tough guys to celebrate a win that puts the Bengals at 8-4 and on the brink of Lewis’ team-record third division title and third straight play-off berth now that they have a two-game lead on Baltimore with four to play.

AFC North Bytes

Jabrill Peppers of Cleveland Browns fined $24K for hit, will appeal
Peppers said he was informed of the fine in an email from the league on Wednesday night. The first-round pick said he stopped reading the letter when he saw the dollar amount.

Steelers' Joe Haden getting X-ray, could practice for Patriots week
A test sometime next week will determine when cornerback Joe Haden begins practicing, which could be in time for the Week 15 clash with the New England Patriots. Haden confirmed he's getting an X-ray after the three-week anniversary of his broken fibula, which occurred Nov. 12. A source said Haden would be set to practice if that X-ray brings positive news, though Haden said he could start on the Alter-G gravity treadmill instead of the field.

Ravens' top RB has a calf injury as matchup with Lions nears
The Baltimore Ravens have had a tough year on offense, but it's started to pick up in small ways in recent weeks due to an improved ground attack. Much of that can be attributed to the diamond in the rough they found in second-year back Alex Collins. And it's what makes his health a situation for the Detroit Lions to monitor ahead of Sunday's matchup in Baltimore, now that his health has some questions.

Random Bytes

Dak Prescott, Cowboys End 3-Game Losing Streak with 38-14 Win vs. Redskins
The Dallas Cowboys snapped a three-game losing skid with a 38-14 victory over the Washington Redskins on Thursday night at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas. Dak Prescott went 11-of-22 for 102 yards and two touchdowns, and Alfred Morris was the standout offensive player for Dallas, running for 127 yards and a touchdown on 27 carries.

Ali Marpet using cleats to help Buccaneers exec raise CMV awareness after tragedy
He had no idea what cytomegalovirus was when he first heard of it. Unfortunately, neither did the family of Tampa Bay's player personnel director until they learned first-hand about CMV's devastating effects. Raising general awareness has since become a mission for John Spytek and his wife Kristen. Marpet will do his part by wearing customized shoes Dec. 3 at Green Bay as part of the NFL's My Cause, My Cleats campaign in Week 13.

Welcome to the Adam Thielen Experience
His 24/7 is contagious, from iPads in the Vikings' hot tub to running around at home—and running circles around your fantasy team. Can you believe this guy almost sold dental equipment instead of playing in the NFL? Can you say Super Bowl?