Thursday, May 24, 2018
Sports

Around the NFL

Fab five

1. Broncos2. Patriots

3. Texans4. Falcons



5. 49ers



Best bet

Broncos (10-3) over Ravens (9-4)

The Ravens are tough at home, but Peyton Manning hasn't lost since baseball season was still going.

What they're saying

"He is the best safety in the league and has been really for this past decade."

Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning on Ravens safety Ed Reed, above

Feeling Lucky?

As special — and stunning — as this season has been for the Colts, they have a special opportunity in front of them. In facing the first-place Texans today, the first of two matchups between the AFC South rivals in three weeks, quarterback Andrew Luck & Co. can clinch a playoff spot with a victory. And considering how bad Houston looked in Monday's loss to New England, don't be surprised if Luck — the No. 1 overall pick in April — pulls out his seventh game-winning drive of the season. "The thing about this guy, it reminds me a lot of (Steelers quarterback) Ben Roethlisberger," Texans coach Gary Kubiak said. "From a standpoint of even when you get there, he's hard to tackle." Said Texans defensive coordinator Wade Phillips: "I can't say enough how good a quarterback he is and how good a future he has."

Information from Times wires, the St. Paul Pioneer Press and the NFL was used in this report.

Dez's decision

Receiver Dez Bryant has been a lightning rod in Dallas during his first three seasons with his maturity (among other things) called into question. But you have to give Bryant credit for his toughness. He's risking long-term injury in trying to play with a fractured left index finger. Though Bryant is officially listed as questionable, he plans to start even though he knows he'll have limited flexibility and have to fight through excruciating pain for the rest of the season. Why is Bryant doing it? Because the Cowboys need a win over the Steelers to help their playoff hopes. "The position that we are in, that makes me want to be out there," said Bryant, who leads the team with 1,028 receiving yards and nine touchdowns. "If there was anything less than what we have a chance of, I would have went ahead and gotten surgery."

Perspective, please

The NFL is coming off tragic off-field incidents over the past two weekends. There was Chiefs linebacker Jovan Belcher, who fatally shot his girlfriend before committing suicide. Seven days later, Cowboys practice squad linebacker Jerry Brown was killed in what police say was an alcohol-related car wreck involving teammate and driver Josh Brent. In the aftermath, foxsports.com's Alex Marvez tackled the question of if the NFL is doing enough to prevent such events from occurring. He reached out to an interesting source: Bengals cornerback Adam Jones, who has gotten into his share of trouble for incidents involving alcohol and guns. "I think the league does a great job offering resources. We just don't use them," Jones said, citing rides that can be provided to those who have had too much to drink. "I know I didn't use mine when I was younger. This happens to a lot of young guys who come into the league. The first four years happen so fast, you never really get to catch up and realize the resources you have."

Charging up

Just when the Chargers were written off and reports surfaced that coach Norv Turner, left, and GM A.J. Smith would be fired after another disappointing season, they delivered a stunning win over the Steelers last week. San Diego is still likely to miss the playoffs, but the culprit of its roller-coaster season might not be Turner or Smith. In the Chargers' five wins, quarterback Philip Rivers has a combined three turnovers. In their eight losses, Rivers has 17. As Rivers goes, so go the Chargers. "What he brings to the table, he's kind of like the jumper cable," Chargers linebacker Takeo Spikes said. "Everybody else is just waiting, hanging on, waiting for him to flip the switch open."

Vikings quarterback Christian Ponder believes teammate and running back Adrian Peterson is a "freak of nature."

You have to believe him.

How else do you explain that less than a year after tearing the ACL and MCL in his left knee, Peterson is having the best season of his six-year career? He leads the league in rushing at 1,600 yards and has a legitimate shot at the NFL single-season record?

Peterson is carrying the Vikings into a big matchup with the Rams, stealing the show in a league dominated by quarterbacks.

"He's just gotten better and better, and I don't think there's anybody who thought going into the season that we'd be talking about Adrian with 1,600 yards, leading the league in rushing, MVP candidate, comeback player of the year candidate," Vikings coach Leslie Frazier said. "It's just mind-boggling in a lot of ways."

Eric Dickerson set the record of 2,105 yards 28 years ago with the then-Los Angeles Rams. Peterson, 27, needs 506 to pass him.

"I don't want him to break it," Dickerson, 52, told cbssports.com. "If anyone ever broke it and if my son played football, I'd want my son to break it. But that's it. No one else. If a player was to break it, I'd probably want it to be Adrian, but I like having the record. I don't think it's going to be broken."

But Peterson has taught us something this season: Don't count him out.

A 'FREAK OF NATURE'

   
Comments
When will the Lightning run out of wait-til-next-years?

When will the Lightning run out of wait-til-next-years?

TAMPA — Disbelief will eventually give way to acceptance.The Lightning isn't there yet.It isn't there yet in a lot of ways.Will it ever be?Just wondering.Really, what guarantees are there?Late Wednesday night, Washington Capitals captain A...
Updated: 13 minutes ago
Front-end loaders will serve as coda to Tampa Bay Lightningís wild ride

Front-end loaders will serve as coda to Tampa Bay Lightningís wild ride

TAMPA ó Hours before the puck dropped at Amalie Arena for Game 7 of the Eastern Conference finals, the ice crew boss talked about putting off any sign of the end for as long as possible."We donít want to see the front-end loaders," says Tom Miracle, ...
Updated: 25 minutes ago
Lightning journal: Ryan Callahan, among others, played hurt

Lightning journal: Ryan Callahan, among others, played hurt

TAMPA — Not surprisingly, several Lightning players went through the playoffs with what general manager Steve Yzerman called "significant injuries."He would not elaborate Thursday on who they were, though he said that information will be made p...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Bucs sign defensive tackle Vita Vea, cornerback Carlton Davis to four-year deals

Bucs sign defensive tackle Vita Vea, cornerback Carlton Davis to four-year deals

Two high draft picks that could earn starting jobs signed four year contracts with the Bucs Thursday.The team signed Washington defensive tackle Vita Vea, the team's first-round pick.Terms of the deal were not released, but Vea  is expected to r...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Rays tripling down on starting relievers vs. Orioles this weekend: Romo, Stanek, Romo

Rays tripling down on starting relievers vs. Orioles this weekend: Romo, Stanek, Romo

The Rays aren't kidding about being serious in using relievers to start games.After unveiling the strategy last weekend against the Angels, manager Kevin Cash said they planned to use it again, and he made that official on Thursday, naming Sergio Rom...
Updated: 3 hours ago
Bucs union rep Ali Marpet questions legality of the NFLís new anthem policy

Bucs union rep Ali Marpet questions legality of the NFLís new anthem policy

Bucs offensive lineman Ali Marpet questioned the legality of the NFL's new  policy that requires players to stand for the national anthem if they are on the field during the performance but gives them the option to remain in the locker room if t...
Updated: 3 hours ago
Lightning fans leaving Game 7 early: Understandable or bad form?

Lightning fans leaving Game 7 early: Understandable or bad form?

TAMPA — Lightning fans were heading for the exits with three minutes remaining in Tampa Bay's 4-0 loss to Washington Wednesday in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference final. Understandable given the disappointment of not reaching the Stanley C...
Updated: 4 hours ago
USF wins doubleheader to stay alive in AAC tourney

USF wins doubleheader to stay alive in AAC tourney

Its American Athletic Conference tournament hopes flat-lining, USF's baseball team has spent the past 30 or so hours reviving itself with plain ol' CPR.Clutch Pitching and Resolve.Needing back-to-back wins on a humid Clearwater day to remain alive, t...
Updated: 4 hours ago
Rivals: Only four cities produce more blue-chip recruits than Tampa

Rivals: Only four cities produce more blue-chip recruits than Tampa

Only four cities in the country have produced more four- or five-star prospects in the Rivals era than Tampa.That's according to a little number-crunching from Rivals' Mike Farrell.Tampa has produced 48 blue-chip prospects since the site began in 200...
Updated: 5 hours ago
For starters: Rays vs. Red Sox, with Snell on the mound

For starters: Rays vs. Red Sox, with Snell on the mound

Having lost a pair of close games, the Rays will try again tonight to beat the Red Sox, and will have LHP Blake Snell on the mound.SS Willy Adames is in the lineup for the Rays for the third and what is expected to be the final time before being sent...
Updated: 5 hours ago