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Bengals Bytes (7/2): Cincinnati’s 5 most important players

ESPN ranked the Bengals’ five most important players heading into the season.

NFL: Pittsburgh Steelers at Cincinnati Bengals David Kohl-USA TODAY Sports

Baltimore Ravens: How do they match up against the Bengals
On paper the Ravens have a lot of advantages over the Cincinnati Bengals. The problem is that the Bengals seem to have the Ravens number. Sure, the 2017 season started with a 20-0 shutout of the Bengals, but it also ended with Cincinnati spoiling the Ravens return to the postseason. The Bengals have won seven out of nine games since 2013. Marvin Lewis knows how to beat John Harbaugh’s team.

Bengals 5 best position groups entering training camp
The Cincinnati Bengals once again head to training camp with one of the NFL’s better on-paper rosters. While the on-paper outlook doesn’t always translate to the field itself due to coaching, injuries or something else, few would argue against the idea the Bengals are a talented team.

Bengals Twitter reactions to LeBron James choosing Lakers
Like everyone else, members of the Cincinnati Bengals were waiting to see what LeBron James decided to do in NBA free agency. James, after opting out of his contract with the Cleveland Cavaliers, kept true to his word and wrapped up his trip to market before July 4. Despite a brief flirtation with the idea of joining the Philadelphia 76ers, James chose the Los Angeles Lakers.

Bengals' five most important players: Why it's A.J. Green's team
Green might be the key to the Bengals' success. That's rare for a wide receiver, as defenses can find ways to take wideouts out of the game, but Green is probably the best player on the team. Green had more than 1,000 receiving yards last season, but he felt he had a "crummy" year due to some inconsistent play and bad luck with passes being tipped off his hands. Other receivers will need to step up to take some of the defensive coverage away from Green, but he remains the most important offensive weapon.

Darqueze Dennard not worrying about next contract yet
Cornerback Darqueze Dennard called it a confidence boost when the Bengals picked up the option on his contract for the 2018 season more than a year ago, but other reactions weren’t uniformly positive.

Seven Cincinnati Bengals stats to know heading into 2018
Pay close enough attention and you'll notice stats often tell a story. So what tale do these set of numbers tell about your favorite team?

AFC North Bytes

Browns ready to replace LeBron James as King of Cleveland
LeBron James is gone and forgotten in Cleveland. The King announced Sunday night he’s leaving the Cavaliers for a second time, this time joining the Los Angeles Lakers as a free agent on a four-year, $154 million deal. (Art Modell only left Cleveland once.)The Browns hope to fill the void James leaves.

Baltimore Ravens season rests on Joe Flacco, Justin Tucker
No one has been a bigger barometer of the Ravens’ success than Flacco. Since he joined Baltimore in 2008, the Ravens are 53-10 (.841) when Flacco produces a passer rating over 94. The problem is Flacco hasn’t delivered many big games on a consistent basis lately. During the Ravens’ three-year playoff drought, Flacco has thrown 52 touchdowns and 40 interceptions. That has to change for Baltimore to return to the postseason. With the Ravens drafting Lamar Jackson in the first round, the pressure is on Flacco to change his fortunes.

Random Bytes

Kam Chancellor Announces He's Leaving NFL After 8 Seasons with Seahawks
Chancellor, 30, spent his entire eight-year career with the Seattle Seahawks. He missed seven games in 2017 because of injury. "I always prayed to God and told myself that I would play this game of football until the wheels fall off," Chancellor wrote. "Well the wheels didn't fall off, but God has given me a sign that I can't just ignore."

2018 NFL - Rating No. 1 wide receivers for all 32 teams
On one hand, Jones' premise that not all teams rely on a clear-cut No. 1 wide receiver is obviously correct. In some cases, that's because a team has several very good wide receivers. In others, the team simply doesn't have an alpha dog at the position. And that got us thinking: Which wide receivers fall into that "No. 1 wide receiver" category? And what is the best way to determine them?

New Orleans Saints WR 'Can't Guard Mike' living up to his name
Trivia question: Who holds the NFL record for most receptions over the first two years of his career? All right, the headline of this story probably gave it away. But file that one away to stump your buddies who aren't the most die-hard New Orleans Saints or Ohio State Buckeyes fans.