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Bengals News (1/11): Battle of protection

The Raiders may have the best pair of edge rushers in the entire playoffs. Zac Taylor knows the Bengals need to slow them down.

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Cincinnati Bengals v Oakland Raiders Photo by Robert Reiners/Getty Images

Bengals wide receiver Auden Tate cleared to practice
Tate has been on the Reserve/Injured list since Dec. 4 with a calf injury. Today starts a 21-day period during which he may practice with the team without counting against the 53-player active roster. He is eligible to be activated to the roster at any time during that period.

Joe Burrow looks to make history with the Bengals in the playoffs
"I grew up around Bengals fans. I know about these guys," Burrow says. "Kenny was little before my time. I know he was a good player and went to a Super Bowl. And, yeah, an MVP. Carson was the first one I remember. I liked how he could really spin it. When Andy came in as a rookie and went to the playoffs right away, I thought that was really impressive."

Quick Hits: Bengals vs. Raiders in the AFC Wild Card hinges on who plays best in the trenches
"It's as good of a group as you can play against," Taylor said of the Raiders defensive line. "Those two edge guys really bring it and they're really stout inside and have some good pass rush tackles as well."

40th Anniversary of the "Freezer Bowl" How the 1981 Bengals are similar to the 2021 Bengals
It was 40 years ago Monday that they froze the Chargers out of the nine-below AFC championship game. It was 27-7 and the 1981 Bengals are warming themselves with memories of that first Super Bowl trip by enjoying the exploits of their striped descendants as they begin their own playoff run this week.

Seven Players Return To Active Roster From Reserve/COVID-19 List, Calitro Waived
Returned seven players to the active roster from the Reserve/COVID-19 list — S Vonn Bell, DE Trey Hendrickson, DT B.J. Hill, C Trey Hopkins, HB Joe Mixon, DT Larry Ogunjobi and G Quinton Spain. Bell, Hendrickson, Hopkins and Spain had been on Reserve/COVID-19 since Jan. 4, Hill and Mixon had been on since Jan. 5, and Ogunjobi had been on since Jan. 6.

NFL Power Rankings: Bengals, Titans make largest leaps from Week 1 to end of season, little change in top five
This is the time when I look back to my Week 1 rankings and compare them to the final rankings to see how just how far off I was predicting the season way back in September.

Bengals unveil jersey combo for playoff matchup vs. Raiders
A week ago on the road, the team trotted out white jerseys, black pants and white socks for the loss to the Browns. They’ll return home to a friendly Paul Brown Stadium in black jerseys they’re 1-4 in this year (they were 0-4 before donning them in a win over the Ravens, so things are trending the right way?).

'Time for us to turn the page': Bengals' playoff drought resonates across 31 years of players, coaches – The Athletic
Walker played linebacker for the Cincinnati Bengals from 1988 to 1993. He played in the club’s last playoff victory on Jan. 6, 1991. One week later against the Raiders, his tackle ended the football career of Bo Jackson.

Around the league

Bears to interview former Dolphins coach Brian Flores for head coaching job
Flores was a surprise fire following the Dolphins' Week 18 win over New England. NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport reported Monday that palpable frustration and tension between Flores and general manager Chris Grier essentially boiled over this season. Owner Stephen Ross elected to side with his GM, ousting Flores after three seasons.

Frank Reich says Colts will learn from 2021 'scar': 'We're going to learn from it and get better'
The Indianapolis Colts have to spend the entire offseason being scorned, berated and laughed at for botching a golden opportunity to make the 2021 postseason. Sunday's blowout loss to the Jacksonville Jaguars, who own the NFL's worst record, was the cherry on top of the embarrassment.

Rams coach McVay on Week 18 loss to 49ers: 'We're going to choose to say it doesn't mean (expletive)'
"You can always draw on previous experiences going into the playoffs," McVay said, via the official team transcript. "Winning or losing really hasn't been much of a factor on how teams do dependent upon whichever lens you want to look at it through. So, we're going to choose to say it doesn't mean s---."

Super Bowl LVI: Ranking the five matchups I'd most like to see at SoFi Stadium in February
I'm throwing the Bengals in here because it brings Joe Burrow that much closer to carving out an immediate legacy for a team lost in the wilderness for decades. Cincy hasn't sniffed gold since Boomer Esiason and Co. had their hearts ripped out by Joe Montana in Super Bowl XXIII. Amid a flawed pool of AFC contenders, the Bengals -- at their ceiling -- are a dangerous, big-play stage act with the power to drop a bushel of points. Can they pull it off in three games straight to get to LVI? In Burrow we trust.