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Original Issue


1. I think the Bengals, despite their two-game slide, will still make the playoffs. It's as much my faith in rookie QB Andy Dalton as it is in their softer schedule down the stretch (with games against Cleveland, St. Louis and Arizona). In fact, all three teams of substance in the AFC North—the Ravens, the Steelers as well as Cincinnati—should make the postseason.

2. I think I'm in favor of NFL sanctions for coaches who curse at fans. I really am. But $75,000 for Jets coach Rex Ryan because he used one four-letter word when he told a heckler to be quiet? Hugely excessive, especially in light of the way the league reveled in the attention the R-rated Ryan received on Hard Knocks last year.

3. I think, unfortunately for Rams coach Steve Spagnuolo—a savvy defensive mind—St. Louis probably needs a 4--2 finish (with four games against strong playoff contenders) to make a case for keeping his job. Of all the head coaches in the NFL, nobody's job is in more jeopardy.