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Bengals Bytes (12/20): Marvin Lewis is only delaying the inevitable

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Everyone believes Marvin Lewis will be gone after the season ends except for Lewis himself. The Bengals manage two representatives in the Pro Bowl.

NFL: Cincinnati Bengals at Minnesota Vikings Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports

Cincinnati Bengals Detroit Lions Preview NFL Week 15
The Bengals laid an egg for the second consecutive week, losing in Minnesota 34-7 in a game that wasn’t that close. The Vikings took a quick 17-0 lead thanks to a pick-6 and an offensive effort that produced just one first-half first down. The Bengals (5-9) also dealt with a pregame report that head coach Marvin Lewis had already decided to walk away from the team after the season.

Making the case for the Bears to hire Bill Lazor in 2018
In the process of hiring a new head coach the Chicago Bears should leave no stone left unturned. If John Fox is out of the picture and Chicago is looking for an offensive mind to help mold Mitch Trubisky, Cincinnati Bengals offensive coordinator Bill Lazor is an under-the-radar candidate who should be on the Bears radar.

Bengals’ latest loss goes down in Vikings history
The Vikings pulverized the Bengals 34-7 on Sunday. Former Bengals defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer got the best of his old boss Marvin Lewis, who was forced to answer questions about his future following a report he and the team will part ways. But it was a memorable day in Minnesota. Zimmer’s defense had the team’s best showing in over a decade.

NFL hot seat rankings: Bengals' Marvin Lewis only delaying inevitable
With 40% of the NFL's teams already eliminated from playoff contention with two games still left in the regular season, it won't be a very Merry Christmas in some cities. Still, it's a good time to enjoy the game's good fortunes and blessings with less than two weeks until Black Monday.

A.J. Green: Some players didn't take news of Marvin Lewis' exit well
Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver A.J. Green isn't going to let the possibility of coach Marvin Lewis leaving at the end of the season affect him. Green has heard the news that Lewis will leave at the end of the season, which was only briefly addressed with the players following a loss to the Minnesota Vikings on Sunday. Green admitted that it has affected some of the members of the team, but he hasn't let it change anything he does.

Fantasy Recap: Week 15
Fantasy owners suffered one major injury this week with the loss of Antonio Brown to a partially torn calf muscle, and another two less serious, but still line-up changing injuries with Rex Burkhead and Marqise Lee. The loss of Brown will certainly change the outlook of the fantasy finals for a lot of teams, but Burkhead & Lee can be replaced with existing pieces most likely. Burkhead was a waiver wire pick-up around mid-season, so the chances are you have your RB1 and RB2 set without him. Perhaps you’ll need to find a replacement flex, but your roster should have that if you are still playing in Week 16.

Top 50 Moments: Bengals clinch Central in Steel den
After a Dec. 13, 1981 win over the Steelers, the souvenir-like edition of The Cincinnati Enquirer blares the story on top of its flag, “Bengals AFC Central Division Champs,” complete with the club’s new striped helmet logo. Bengals 17, Steelers 10. The photo says it all as linebackers Jim LeClair and Glenn Cameron hoist head coach Forrest Gregg on their shoulders going off the field. “It was whoever wanted in the picture the worst, I guess,” says Cameron of the decision to lift Gregg, the Hall of Fame tackle.

Green (7), Geno (6) Pro Bowling again
Geno Atkins and A.J. Green continued to make their cases for enshrinement in the Pro Football Hall of Fame one day Tuesday when they each earned another Pro Bowl selection. They were the lone Bengals named to the NFL’s annual all-star game, although WILL linebacker Vontaze Burfict received a fourth alternate spot at inside backer and safety Clayton Fejedelem took a second alternate slot on special teams.

TDBH: Baby Bengals secure improbable play-off bid in third season
The Riverfront Stadium scoreboard tells today’s story screaming the words “Baltimore, Here We Come,” to salute Paul Brown’s three-year-old Bengals setting the standard for any expansion team in any sport with a 45-7 victory over the Boston Patriots that fittingly gives them the first AFC Central Division title in the first season of the newly merged NFL. The Bengals’ seventh straight victory sends them to Baltimore next week for their first post-season game and earns the Master an improbable ride off the Riverfront turf when linebackers Al Beauchamp and Bill Bergey hoist him on their shoulders.

AFC North Bytes

Browns' Joe Schobert Doesn't Believe Team Is Learning 'Culture of Losing'
The 0-14 Cleveland Browns are a pair of losses away from becoming the second team in NFL history to go 0-16. However, second-year Cleveland linebacker Joe Schobert is trying to remain positive despite the club's 1-29 record since the start of the 2016 campaign.

Mike Tomlin reviews Steelers' last-minute decisions vs. Patriots
Mike Tomlin, placed back into the final seconds of the Steelers' game against the Patriots, down 3 with no timeouts and the ball on New England's 7-yard line, would again call for Ben Roethlisberger not to spike the ball. He would also rely on the quarterback to throw out of bounds with his receivers covered. "It's interesting. We had a nice conversation about it yesterday and again today that I find comfort in the fact that 7's my quarterback," Tomlin said. "If everybody on the field is uncomfortable then that's advantage Pittsburgh Steelers and that's why we chose not to spike that ball."

Random Bytes

Thomas Davis Suspension for Hit on Davante Adams Reduced to 1 Game
Carolina Panthers linebacker Thomas Davis' two-game suspension for his blindside hit on Davante Adams was reduced to one game Tuesday by NFL appeals officer James Thrash. Davis was originally hit with a two-game ban for launching himself helmet first into Adams' helmet, concussing the Green Bay Packers wideout. While Davis' hit drew criticism and he was penalized 15 yards, the NFL saw pushback on what some viewed as inconsistent policing of dirty hits after giving him a two-game suspension.

NFL1000: Doug Farrar's Week 16 QB Rankings
The marquee matchup of Week 15 was a quarterback battle. When the New England Patriots and Pittsburgh Steelers faced off for control of the AFC on Sunday afternoon, the game pitted Tom Brady against a third team in a row capable of playing man coverage and bringing pressure right up the middle—two things Brady didn't like at all when he faced the Miami Dolphins and Buffalo Bills in New England's previous games.

NFL Pro Bowl Selections 2018: Voting Results and Full List of Players Announced
New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady and Philadelphia Eagles signal-caller Carson Wentz headlined the 2018 Pro Bowl rosters announced by the NFL on Tuesday. Brady has now been selected to 13 Pro Bowls, including nine straight. Wentz, meanwhile, was selected to his first postseason exhibition and named the NFC's starting quarterback after throwing for 3,296 yards and a franchise-record 33 touchdown passes before he suffered a torn ACL against the Los Angeles Rams in Week 14.