Monday hits: Ocho could play; Ravens playing for keeps; Lewis backs Whit

Updated: 6:45 p.m.

» Bengals wide receiver Chad Ochocinco may be able to play in Sunday's season finale in Baltimore, head coach Marvin Lewis said Monday, the day after the bone spurs in The Ocho's ankle flared long enough to ice him for Sunday's win over the Chargers.

» The Ravens already have a playoff spot secured, but they still have a shot to win the AFC North if they beat the Bengals and the Browns beat the Steelers in Cleveland. And head coach John Harbaugh says the Ravens are going to play it out and try to win the game, even if he looks up at the scoreboard and sees the Steelers with a big lead.

Asked Monday if he'd start pulling players in that scenario, he said, "I don't know. Not for me, I don't look at it that way. I'm sure we'll be watching the scoreboard to see how the game's going, but we're not pulling anybody out of the game. We're going to try to win the game.

"So, we're playing for something, so we'll play. Heck, it'd be great to have the No. 1 seed all wrapped up and be able to rest some guys, but we're not in that situation. We've got something to play for, and you know there probably are some plusses. I think you continue to play, and you keep momentum going, and you continue to improve. If you can stay healthy, it's a big deal. It should be a plus."

» The Bengals have won three straight over Baltimore, giving Lewis a 10-5 record against his old club and a 3-2 record against Harbaugh. After watching the Chargers tape, Harbaugh said Bengals quarterback Carson Palmer (9-3 vs. Baltimore) is playing as well as he's ever played in the last two games.

"They were lighting it up; their defense is playing at a really high level," Harbaugh said. "To me, they're the Bengals right now that we expected them to be all year. I don't know about the rest of the season; we didn't watch them since [we played them in] Week 2, but they're playing at an incredibly high level. They're going to be incredibly motivated to come in here and make a statement. I think that they've got a lot of statements they want to make, and they've had a lot of success against us the last three times – in a lot of ways. They've gotten after us pretty good three times in a row, so that's motivation for us, too. It's going to be a heck of a game."

» Lewis said cornerback Jonathan Wade (knee), out the past two weeks, can go in the 1 p.m. game ... Harbaugh said injured tight end Todd Heap has a "great" chance to play.

» With the Pro Bowl teams announced Tuesday at 7 p.m. on the NFL Network, Lewis heartily endorsed Bengals left tackle Andrew Whitworth, winner of the fan vote at AFC tackle.

"He's had a fine, fine season," Lewis said. "When you put together things offensively, particularly against this division and the people we've played this year, you have to count on certain things and we pretty much for the most part have left him alone, and he's generally up to the challenge. The running game is probably where he's improved the most as a blocker on the line of scrimmage. He's done a great job this year and he's a tremendous leader."

At one time or another this season, Whitworth has gone against seven sackers with at least 7.5 sacks and offensive line coach Paul Alexander says he's allowed only two this season.   

» Both Lewis and receivers coach Mike Sheppard praised the work of offensive assistant David Lippincott when it comes to the development of Jerome Simpson. Lippincott spends part of his week tutoring Simpson one-on-one in addition to Simpson's classroom work with Sheppard. It's a reason the Bengals didn't have to pare down the offense for Simpson during Sunday's 124-yard, two-touchdown day, and have been able to use him at times in the last two games at all three spots.

Yet Lewis knows there are "things you can't coach. ... He can run and jump like not many people I've seen before," he said. Lewis also suggesed that Simpson has friends in high places as he talked about his practice exploits.

"My boss sees it, too," said Lewis, referencing Bengals president Mike Brown.

» Palmer never started a game like he did Sunday when he completed his first 10 passes. His longest streak in a game is 13, which he did in a win in Tennesse on Oct. 16, 2005, and in a loss in Cleveland on Sept. 16, 2007.

» Since 2003, when Lewis took over the Bengals, the Ravens and Bengals are both in the NFL's top five in takeaways. The Ravens lead with 248 and the Bengals are fourth at 241. In points off turnovers since 2003, Elias Sports Bureau reports that the Ravens lead the NFL with 810, and the Bengals are fifth at 735.

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