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Bengals Bytes (12/17): Trying to cool down the Vikings

The Vikings are one of the hottest teams in the FL, and the Bengals will have to put together a great team performance in order to slow them down.

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NFL: Chicago Bears at Cincinnati Bengals Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports

Bengals at Vikings: By the numbers, series history
If the season ended today, Cincinnati would be right back where it started. Currently, there are three other teams – Broncos, Redskins, Jets – with five wins that could flip-flop over the last three weeks. The Bengals haven’t picked in the top-10 in back to back drafts since 2008-2009.

Hartman: Vikings linebacker Lamur is still served well by time with Bengals
Vikings linebacker Emmanuel Lamur spent four seasons in Cincinnati, the first two under Mike Zimmer, who was defensive coordinator then. The Bengals made the playoffs both of those seasons.

Position-by-position: How do the Vikings match up with the Bengals?
The Minnesota Vikings (10-3) may have slipped behind the Philadelphia Eagles in the race for the NFC, but they are still in prime position for the No. 2 seed or better if they take care of business the rest of the way. That starts with the Cincinnati Bengals (5-8) on Sunday at US Bank Stadium. The Vikings are dinged up, while the Bengals have been crushed by injuries. How do they match up? Let’s have a look…

Bengals place T.J. Johnson on IR: Joe Mixon ruled out for Vikings
T.J. Johnson was a late addition to the Cincinnati Bengals' final injury report on Friday afternoon after he injured a pectoral. By Saturday afternoon, the club placed him on season-ending injured reserve and signed running back Jarveon Williams off the practice squad to take his place on the active 53-man roster.

Broncos sign offensive lineman J.J. Dielman off Bengals’ practice squad
To fill the roster spot that became vacant when quarterback Trevor Siemian was placed on injured reserve, the Broncos signed offensive lineman J.J. Dielman off the Cincinnati Bengals’ practice squad. Dielman (6-foot-5, 309 pounds) was selected by the Bengals in the fifth round (No. 176) of the 2017 draft and, after recovering from a Lisfranc injury suffered in college, competed with the team in training camp. Dielman was waived amid final roster cuts in early September and claimed by the Rams, who cut him less than two weeks later. The Bengals added him to their practice squad Sept. 14.

Bengals downgrade Joe Mixon to out
As the Bengals try to make a late-season push for a final record at .500, they won’t have one of their best offensive weapons, again. The Bengals downgraded rookie running back Joe Mixon to out on Saturday, when he didn’t make the trip from Cincinnati to Minnesota for Sunday’s game against the Vikings. Mixon, who missed the Week 14 loss to the Bears, suffered the concussion in the Week 13 Monday night game against the Steelers.

TDBH: P.B. seethes even as Bengals clinch Central
Even though his team wins today’s season finale in the flat atmosphere of the Astrodome that isn’t as quite as dead as the 1-13 Oilers team it hosts by a 27-24 count, Bengals head coach Paul Brown is livid. He can’t believe his team nearly kicked away the AFC Central title and Sunday’s first-round playoff berth at the Orange Bowl against Don Shula’s defending Super Bowl champion Dolphins. Marty Williams of the Dayton Daily News reports that after a policeman shuts the door to the locker room during the cooling-off period before the media is allowed in, Brown can be heard delivering a screaming lecture.

TDBH: Sam waves off Glanville while Reggie waves good-bye
The Bengals give retiring linebacker Reggie Williams gifts of silver at halftime in his final Riverfront Stadium game while head coach Sam Wyche strikes gold in his feud with Oilers head coach Jerry Glanville in today’s 61-7 victory that is the most lopsided win in club history and one of the most bizarre. After ordering an on-side kick with a 45-0 lead, a fake reverse with a 52-7 lead, more passes from back-up quarterback Erik Wilhelm with a 58-7 lead, and a Jim Breech field goal with 21 seconds left, Wyche waves at Glanville as he storms off the field and then proceeds to call him “probably the biggest phony in professional football.”

Media Roundtable: Bengals try to cool Zim's Vikes
Bengals head coach Marvin Lewis hopes to remain unbeaten against his former coordinators in Minnesota Sunday (1 p.m.-Cincinnati’s Local 12) while Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer hopes to finish off a season sweep of his Bengals coaching colleagues. During their eight-game winning streak the Vikings knocked off Hue Jackson’s Browns and Jay Gruden’s Washington team to stand a win away from Zimmer’s second NFC North title in three seasons.

Moves: Mixon out; T.J. shelved; RB Jarveon Williams up
Just before the team bused to the airport for Saturday’s trip to Minnesota and Sunday's game (1 p.m.-Cincinnati's Local 12) word came down that Bengals rookie running back Joe Mixon was ruled out of the second straight game with a concussion. That move, like the Bengals, was already on the bus because earlier in the day they suddenly ended the season of backup center-guard T.J. Johnson (pectoral) when they put him on injured reserve and called up rookie running back Jarveon Williams in a nod to their pre-season rushing leader.

Fantasy Forecast: Week 15
The Green Bay Packers QB announced he has been medically cleared from his broken collar bone, and the team is preparing for him to be under center to start Week 15. That means no more watching Jordy Nelson rack up yardage in the teens; no more 250 yard passing games while throwing the ball 35-45 times for the Packers; and most importantly, owners who lost Carson Wentz now have another QB they can stick in if they were savvy enough to pick up Rodgers and stash him like I did in all leagues where I could.

AFC North Bytes

Le'Veon Bell, Tom Brady Lead Final 2018 NFL Pro Bowl Fan Vote Results
Pittsburgh Steelers running back Le'Veon Bell led all vote-getters in the Pro Bowl's fan vote. revealed on Saturday that Bell received 855,539 votes. He was followed by New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady (833,481), Steelers wide receiver Antonio Brown (832,446), injured Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz (829,174) and New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees (743,355).

Keys to Victory: What we’re watching against the Ravens
The Browns hope to earn their first win of the season in their last game at home. And after a stomach-turning overtime loss to the Packers last week, they want to put on a better showing at FirstEnergy Stadium in front of a fan base that has stuck with them through a trying two seasons. “It’s our last home game of the season. We’re in front of the home crowd. They have supported us the last couple of years even though we haven’t been great. That is a credit to them,” offensive lineman Joel Bitonio said Monday. “We’re going to do everything we can to get this win if it’s a home game or a road game, but especially for our fans and for the people of Cleveland.”

Baltimore Ravens: Tale of the Tape - Can Ravens Slow Josh Gordon?
Fresh off a Sunday night loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers in which the Baltimore Ravens defense allowed over 500 passing yards and over 200 yards to just Antonio Brown alone, the last thing the secondary needs is another elite wide receiver to attempt to defend.

Random Bytes

Fantasy Football Week 15 Workload Watch
Over the last two weeks, Kenyan Drake has proved a late-season pickup can be a major asset. Jamaal Williams is another player carrying fantasy teams to the playoffs after taking over as the lead back for the Green Bay Packers. While you shouldn't bank on finding these players this late in the season, it's still worth working the waiver wire, even if it's just to plug-and-play someone for a week.

Chris Simms' Week 15 NFL Picks
Heading into Week 15 of the 2017 NFL season, we have a number of teams still vying for home-field advantage in each conference. In the AFC, Sunday's battle between the Pittsburgh Steelers and New England Patriots could determine the No. 1 seed.

As Rookie Season Nears End, We're Left Asking: Will Trubisky Ever Be a Good QB?
Bears in 2017. And not a lot is exactly what the Bears have delivered—after pitching and lurching their way to a 20-10 loss in Detroit on Saturday, Chicago is guaranteed its third straight season of double-digit losses.