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Bengals News (12/20): Mitch Wilcox embodies Cincinnati’s work ethic

The Bengals have plenty of guys stepping up when they are called on, and Mitch Wilcox was rewarded on Sunday.

NFL: Cincinnati Bengals at Tampa Bay Buccaneers Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Mitch Wilcox And His Just Do Your Part Bengals Savor A Hometown Win And Lesson
"He scored it on the right side last night. A few years ago it was on the left side," said Chuck Wilcox, who should know because he keeps his binoculars trained on him every play. "Every NFL player has a story and Mitchell is no different. All the things you go through to get to that point."

Bengals Cool Off Brady With Burrow Efficiency And Defensive Adjustments
In a six-game winning streak that has taken the Bengals to 10-4 and a one game lead in the AFC North, Burrow has quarterbacked the Bengals through shootouts with the Steelers and Chiefs, slugfests with the Titans and Browns and a rout of the Panthers. Now he can add one of their biggest road rallies in history against Tom Brady fueled by a defensive and special teams masterpiece to the resume they're building for the AFC's top seed with a 34-23 victory that saw them erase a 17-0 deficit in a stunning 11 minutes.

NFL Week 15 overreactions and reality checks: Bengals No. 1 seed? Cowboys one-and-done? Jaguars South champs?
This is jumping the gun a bit, even though Cincinnati is one of the hottest teams in the NFL right now. The Bengals sit in first place of the AFC North, one game behind the Buffalo Bills and Kansas City Chiefs for the top seed in the conference. There is a path for the Bengals to get the top seed in the AFC, which comes in Week 17 vs. the Bills.

Bengals take aim at AFC’s top playoff seed, not just AFC North title
But for quarterback Joe Burrow, there’s more for the team to achieve. He told Fox 19’s Jeremy Rauch: that the top seed in the conference — most just the divisional crown — is the goal: “We’ve still got to win all the games. Going to come down to that last one. Take care of business these next couple weeks.”

Bengals get bad news on the Sam Hubbard injury update
The report, from NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero: “Bengals DE Sam Hubbard is expected to miss a few weeks because of the left calf injury he suffered Sunday, per source. The hope is Hubbard – who has started every game and has 6½ sacks this season – can make it back for the playoffs.”

Cincinnati Bengals Wide Receiver Ja'Marr Chase On Carlton Davis Matchup: 'I Didn't Get No Calls' - Sports Illustrated Cincinnati Bengals News, Analysis and More
Chase ended up with 7 catches for 60 yards and a score, but it took 13 targets to get there. Davis was the biggest reason why covering him on eight of those throws. According to NextGen Stats, he allowed just 3 catches for 32 yards and nabbed the tipped interception.

Around the league

The First Read, Week 16: Who's clinched a playoff berth? Helped/hurt their chances?
The Cincinnati Bengals (10-4, No. 3 in AFC) are the hottest team in football. They've won 10 of their last 12 games, and they're doing it with style. This isn't just a team with an electric offense anymore. Cincinnati fell behind Tampa Bay by 17 points on Sunday, then ripped off 34 straight points while forcing four Bucs turnovers in the process. Here's how the last three weeks have gone for the Bengals: 1) they beat the Chiefs for the third straight time in a calendar year; 2) they trounced the same Browns team that had dominated them in three previous meetings; 3) they humiliated Tom Brady on Sunday and walked away with a one-game lead over Baltimore in the race for the AFC North. It doesn't get much better than that.

2023 NFL Draft order: Bears leapfrog Seahawks for No. 2 pick; Lions move up to No. 4
With their two first-rounders, the Texans can use the first to draft a quarterback and the second to draft a player capable of helping the signal-caller. That could be another offensive lineman, even after drafting Kenyon Green 15th overall in 2022. It also could be a receiver (or tight end) who can provide either deep speed or physicality to the offense.

Eagles QB Jalen Hurts has right shoulder sprain, status in doubt for Saturday vs. Cowboys
Hurts didn't miss a snap during Sunday's win in Chicago but saw plenty of action rushing the ball, tying his season high in carries (17) amid a three-touchdown performance. His numbers through the air weren't as productive, however, completing 22 of 37 passes for 315 yards and two interceptions.

Rams officially eliminated from playoff contention; tie '99 Broncos for earliest elimination for defending Super Bowl champion
"I mean this has been a real struggle in a lot of instances, a lot of adversity that we've gone through, but I think what we've seen from our guys is they're going to continue to battle, they're gonna finish up these last three games the right way, with the right mindset and mentality, and we'll compete to the best of our ability," Rams head coach Sean McVay said after the game. "That's all I know how to do, and I trust that that's exactly what we'll do collectively as a group.