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Bengals News (12/11): Joe Mixon to face his toughest test this season

Joe Mixon has been on a roll, but the Patriots defense has been stout most of this year.

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New York Jets v Cincinnati Bengals Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images

The Bengals revamped rushing attack faces a tough Patriots defense.
It may be a rematch of last February’s Super Bowl playbooks and an echo of that week in Atlanta when the defending champions come to town for Sunday’s game (1 p.m.-Cincinnati’s Local 12) trying to ice one of the NFL’s top hottest run games with the NFL’s No. 1 defense. But thanks to a native Bostonian (Bengals offensive line coach Jim Turner) and an adopted son of New England (Patriots head coach Bill Belichick), there won’t be the same game plans.

Game Preview: Patriots at Bengals
At first glance, Cincinnati put up what seemed to be a solid all-around showing against Cleveland. The Bengals’ offense gained a season-high 451 yards, HB Joe Mixon rushed for a career-high 146 yards and a TD, the team was plus-one in the turnover battle, and Browns QB Baker Mayfield was held to just a 45.8 percent completion percentage and 38.9 passer rating.

The Bengals signed WR Damion Willis to the active roster from the practice squad, and placed WR Auden Tate on the Reserve/Injured list.
Willis, a rookie out of Troy University, originally was a college free agent signee of the Bengals in May. He has played in 10 games (two starts) for Cincinnati this season, with nine catches for 82 yards.

Patriots Head Coach Bill Belichick addressed Scoutgate in his weekly conference call ahead of the Week 15 matchup against the Bengals.
Dot ComGate lurched into its second day Tuesday morning when Patriots head coach Bill Belichick told a conference call of Cincinnati media that he and his football staff had nothing to do with the presence of a videographer in the press box at Sunday’s Bengals-Browns game in Cleveland.

Patriots' Bill Belichick denies involvement with videographer caught taping Bengals' sideline
New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick on Tuesday denied any involvement with the videographer who was caught taping the Cincinnati Bengals' sideline during their game against Cleveland on Sunday.

Dehner Jr.: Sources say Patriots video focused for 8 minutes on Bengals’ sideline
What happened next included Bengals executives getting involved, then NFL security and eventually the video being confiscated and turned over to the league, which is currently reviewing the matter. And depending on who you talk to, there are differing accounts of what happened that could be significant in determining intent.

Illegal Patriots video reportedly shows Bengals coaching signals, cameraman wanted to delete footage
On the Patriots' end, they're insisting that the video from the game is harmless, and that it simply shows a behind-the-scenes look at what it's like to be an advance scout in the NFL, and that the footage was taken by a video crew of independent contractors who violated league policy because they simply weren't aware of NFL rules. However, people who have actually seen the video are painting a much different picture.

The Bengals must keep losing games
Actively rooting against your favorite team seems to defy all notions of common sense when it comes to sports fandom. Herm Edwards told us that you play to win the game, and consequentially, you support your team in the hopes that they will experience success. I imagine you’d be hard-pressed to find many individuals who got into the ‘sports fan’ game to watch their beloved team crash and burn on a weekly basis, although at times it may seem as though that is what Bengals fans have signed themselves up for.

Around the league

Earl Thomas: Refs need to protect Lamar Jackson more
The reason: Jackson's hypermobility, which has been an incredible tool for the Baltimore Ravens in his first season and a half, leaves him prone to more hits than the average, pocket-restrained passer. In fact, he's on the Ravens' injury report this week due to a quadriceps injury, though he's likely to play Thursday night against the New York Jets. Oddly enough, Jackson sustained the injury while in the pocket, but naturally, it was on a touchdown pass to tight end Hayden Hurst.

Saints' Marcus Davenport (foot) to miss rest of season
Davenport was steadily improving in his second professional season, building on a 4.5-sack rookie campaign by recording six quarterback takedowns in 13 games in 2019. His three forced fumbles led the team, and his 31 tackles tied him for ninth among Saints before his untimely departure.

Raiders cut three defensive vets after blowout loss
"It's a necessary evil right now," Gruden said Monday of what were then upcoming changes, per NBC Sports Bay Area's Scott Bair. "We have to play better. We're going to play better. There will be changes. What happened yesterday will not happen again."

Salary cap expected to increase at least $8M in 2020
NFL Network's Tom Pelissero reported the league informed clubs Tuesday it is projecting the 2020 salary cap to again increase, this time into the range of $196.8 million to $201.2 million. The increase would be more than $8 million from the current cap of $188.2 million.