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Bengals Bytes (12/27): Can the Bengals spoil another team’s playoff hopes?

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The Bengals are fresh off a win that ended the Lions season, and next week they will be travelling to Baltimore to hopefully do the same thing to the Ravens.

Baltimore Ravens v Cincinnati Bengals Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images

Lewis' tenure in Cincinnati deserves more respect
Although he has declined to discuss his situation publicly, multiple reports in recent weeks have indicated that this Sunday's game in Baltimore will be the final one of his 15-year tenure in the Queen City. The reports resulted in many snarky comments regarding it being "about time" or "finally," both on social media and even among a couple friends of mine who are longtime Cincinnati residents. To which I say both "how quickly we forget" and "be careful what you wish for"

Cincinnati Bengals Baltimore Ravens Preview NFL Week 17
The Cincinnati Bengals eliminated the Detroit Lions from the NFC playoff race with a 26-17 victory at Paul Brown Stadium on Sunday, behind 116 rushing yards from Giovani Bernard and a makeshift offensive line. Baltimore controls its playoff destiny at the end of the season and took the first step to the postseason with a 23-16 victory over the Indianapolis Colts last weekend at home. The Ravens are 9-6 and if they beat the Bengals, they clinch a wild-card spot.

Can Bengals play spoilers against Ravens?
Go back to Sept. 10. That's when the Cincinnati Bengals' season began - and ended, for all practical purposes - with a 20-0 home loss to the Baltimore Ravens. That defeat sent the Bengals on a downward spiral to 0-3 and eventually to 6-9 and their second straight losing season - one that's expected to cost coach Marvin Lewis's job.

Defense throws it back to look ahead
This is how it used to look back in the day. The NFL’s best quarterbacks would waltz into Paul Brown Stadium and leave with not only a loss, but a bruised passer rating courtesy of the Double A Gap blitz and a Velcro secondary. From 2012-2015 the Bengals Pall in the Paul Defense dispatched no less than seven Super Bowl-winning quarterbacks, not to mention future Hall-of-Fame candidates Matt Ryan and Philip Rivers.

Top 50 Moments: Bengals begin playoff push with domination of Super Bowl champ Giants
Backs to the wall with a 3-5 record after a loss to Denver jacks their losing streak to four games, head coach Marvin Lewis makes them aware of quotes from Broncos defensive end Elvis Dumervil that go along the lines of, “The Bengals are hell of a team, but it seemed like they don’t believe in themselves.” The Bengals say they believe they can still make the playoffs after making it last year with the rookie wide receiver-QB duo of A.J. Green and Andy Dalton and on Nov. 11, 2012 they make a huge statement at Paul Brown Stadium when they dominate the defending Super Bowl champion Giants in both trenches during a 31-13 rout the Bengals big people cut down to size Super Bowl MVP Eli Manning.

TDBH: Chad’s late TD gives Bengals improbable division title
If John Elway and Denver have “The Drive,” then Carson Palmer and Cincinnati now have “The March.” In vintage ’09 fashion it starts out as a 98-yard slog straight out of Valley Forge with the first play losing a yard and the first five snaps netting all of 20 yards. But it ends in beautiful quick time with Palmer’s six-yard arrow to wide receiver Chad Ocho Cinco catching and falling in the back of the end zone on third-and-goal with 2:03 left for one of the clutchest plays in Bengals history. It gives them the AFC North title with a 17-10 victory over Kansas City today at Paul Brown Stadium. The natural world even seems to celebrate the club's seventh and most improbable division title with a snow shower as the game ends supplying the 64,333 with some confetti.

AFC North Bytes

Steelers Injury Report: Antonio Brown will miss Week 17, no update on his status
The Pittsburgh Steelers have been without star wide receiver Antonio Brown since he injured his lower leg in the first half against the New England Patriots in Week 15. Mike Tomlin, as usual, refused to put a timeline on when Brown might return to the lineup. Brown missed the Week-16 game vs. the Texans, and at his weekly press conference on Tuesday, Tomlin ruled Brown out for the Week-17 game against the Cleveland Browns at Heinz Field.

John Harbaugh of the Baltimore Ravens criticizes NFL after Sunday's game time was changed
Baltimore Ravens coach John Harbaugh isn't pleased with the NFL's decision to move kickoff for Sunday's pivotal game against the Cincinnati Bengals to 4:25 p.m. ET, especially if it affects the size of the crowd at M&T Bank Stadium. "I don't think the NFL did us any favors by moving it back," Harbaugh said Tuesday. "But they don't care about us. So, we just have to care about ourselves. We have to take care of our own business. That goes for our team, for our fans and for our city. Let's go win the football game."

Random Bytes

Report: DeMarco Murray Knee Injury Diagnosed as MCL Tear; Expected to Play
Tennessee Titans running back DeMarco Murray reportedly suffered a third-degree MCL tear in Sunday's 27-23 loss to the Los Angeles Rams at Nissan Stadium, according to ESPN's Adam Schefter. Citing a source, Schefter added Murray "believes he can play through it" when the Titans square off against the Jacksonville Jaguars in Week 17.

Landon Collins Calls Giants Teammate Eli Apple a Cancer During Interview
New York Giants cornerback Eli Apple has struggled through an up-and-down 2017 season, which hasn't gone unnoticed by teammate Landon Collins. Collins called the 2016 first-round pick a cancer during a radio interview Tuesday with Bob Wischusen of ESPN, per Ian O'Connor of ESPN.com.

James Harrison to Sign Patriots Contract After Being Cut by Steelers
The New England Patriots are "expected to sign" free-agent linebacker James Harrison after the 15-year veteran was released by the Pittsburgh Steelers on Dec. 23, according to ESPN's Field Yates. Harrison confirmed the signing by posting an Instagram photo with Tom Brady