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It was a good move on the part of the NFL to put more meaningful division games at the end of each team's schedule this season. But if the league really wanted to hype up the AFC North, for instance, it would have been prudent to bring Pittsburgh to Baltimore this week instead of Cincinnati.

The Bengals are in the throes of another of their lost seasons in 2010. Take away their 10-game losing streak and they would have a 4-1 record. What you have, of course, is a 4-11 team that won its last two home games of the year to salvage some pride, but likely will finish the season with a packed-and-ready-to-go-home game against the Ravens.

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Marvin Lewis doesn't have his top two receivers – Terrell Owens or Chad Ochocinco – and he may not have his third-leading receiver, either, because tight end Jermaine Gresham is doubtful with a knee injury. That must be comforting for quarterback Carson Palmer, who has thrown 18 interceptions already and could easily reach 20 on Sunday.

If the Bengals really are one-dimensional this week, Cedric Benson may rue the fact he insulted the Ravens a year ago with a pair of 100-yard rushing games. He won't come close this time. Somebody's going to have to run out the clock for Cincinnati, and it'll probably be him.

This is a game that does not figure to hold suspense for long. It's a game the Ravens must win in the unlikely event Pittsburgh actually loses in Cleveland. It's a game that ends the season for the Bengals, though probably not mercifully.

The Bengals' three-game winning streak over the Ravens means nothing. These are ships passing in the January twilight, going totally opposite directions. The NFL had the right idea, but picked the wrong teams for Week 17.

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