Make us your home page

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

NFL notebook

Power rankings

1. Packers 2. Patriots

3. Saints 4. 49ers

5. Steelers 6. Ravens

Upset special

Chiefs (6-9) over Broncos (8-7)

Is Tim Tebow running out of magic? Denver has lost two straight, and Tebow threw three interceptions against the Bills last week.

Quote of the week

"There's nobody I'd rather have than Romo."

Cowboys owner Jerry Jones on quarterback Tony Romo in New York's Daily News

Milestone watch

If the Patriots win today, Bill Belichick becomes the first coach with at least 13 victories in five seasons (14 in 2003, 14 in 2004, 16 in 2007 and 14 in 2010).

Milestone watch 2

The Ravens' Ray Rice needs just 27 rushing yards and 4 receiving yards against the Bengals to join Hall of Famer Marshall Faulk (four times) as the only players with 1,200 and 700, respectively in multiple seasons. Rice had 1,339 and 702 in 2009.

Times wires and the NFL contributed to this report. Joe Smith can be reached at

Tank or try?

The Colts are one loss away from securing the top pick in next year's draft, and the prize is a future franchise quarterback in Stanford's Andrew Luck. But if the Colts beat the Jaguars and the Rams lose to the 49ers, St. Louis would get top honors. So do the Colts take a dive? According to Indianapolis Star columnist Bob Kravitz, there's no chance. "It would be the ultimate insult for anybody to be asked to give anything less than full effort and commitment," he wrote. Colts vice chairman Bill Polian's comments to's Peter King had similar sentiment: "How can you build an organization with a culture of winning and look players in the eye and tell them to give their best effort every day but this one?"

America's Team?

With the Cowboys and Giants playing today for the NFC East title (and NFC's final playoff berth), New York has a chance to make it another miserable offseason in Dallas. New York Daily News columnist Gary Myers argues it's about time the Cowboys' long-held title as "America's Team" expires. They haven't been to the Super Bowl since January 1996 and have won just two playoff games since. "If this is America's Team, America deserves better," Myers said. Always-opinionated Giants defensive end Justin Tuck took it another step. "I don't know if they ever deserved to be America's Team," he said. "I don't have a vote on that. The only people that it rubs the wrong way are the people who don't root for them."

Stomp squashed

The last time the Lions played the Packers, on Thanksgiving Day, Detroit defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh made headlines for stomping on Packers lineman Evan Dietrich-Smith after a play. He drew a two-game suspension. But both teams say they've moved past it. Suh spoke to Dietrich-Smith on the phone to patch up the relationship, saying afterward, "There's no hard feelings." Said Dietrich-Smith: "We talked. He said, 'Sorry.' And I said, 'No big deal.' That was about it. I think we've all moved past it."

For as much hype and praise quarterback Tim Tebow has received in helping turn around Denver's season, a familiar face can give the story a disappointing end. Kyle Orton, whom the Broncos benched for Tebow earlier this season then released, has a chance to lead the Chiefs past his former team today. A Broncos loss and Raiders win would crush the hopes of a division title and Denver's first playoff berth since 2005 for the "Mile High Messiah." The Broncos enter today with a two-game losing streak. Writes Dave Kreiger of the Denver Post: "If Kyle Orton and the Chiefs win Sunday, the Broncos' releasing of Orton on Nov. 22 will go down as one of the franchise's all-time boneheaded personnel moves."

NFL notebook 12/31/11 [Last modified: Saturday, December 31, 2011 5:06pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. No. 12 FSU, freshman QB James Blackman struggle in 27-21 loss to N.C. State


    TALLAHASSEE — Whatever was left of No. 12 Florida State's College Football Playoff hopes suffered a massive, likely fatal, blow Saturday at Doak Campbell Stadium.

    Florida State Seminoles wide receiver Nyqwan Murray (8) carries during the first quarter of the Florida State Seminoles game against the North Carolina State Wolfpack on September 23, 2017, at Doak Campbell Stadium in Tallahassee, Fla.  At the half, North Carolina State Wolfpack 17, Florida State Seminoles 10.
  2. Trump tells Warriors star Stephen Curry that White House visit is off


    SOMERSET, N.J. — Stephen Curry and President Donald Trump agree on one thing: The Golden State star is not going to the White House anytime soon.

    Golden State Warriors' Stephen Curry poses for photos during NBA basketball team media day Friday, Sept. 22, 2017, in Oakland, Calif. [Associated Press]
  3. For starters: Rays at Orioles, facing another old friend in Jeremy Hellickson


    UPDATE, 3:29: Here is the Rays lineup, with Duda at 1B and Morrison the DH:

  4. Bucs have chance to beat Vikings in their third stadium


    Here's a cool sign that the Bucs are getting up there as an NFL franchise: If Tampa Bay can win Sunday at U.S. Bank Stadium, it will mark the first time the Bucs have posted road wins against the same NFL opponent in three different stadiums.

    TIMES ARCHIVES (2012) | Bucs RB Doug Martin runs during Tampa Bay's 36-17 win at the Vikings in 2012, in what was then called Mall of America Field. If Tampa Bay wins Sunday, it will mark the first time they have road wins against the same NFL opponent in three different stadiums.
  5. NFL commissioner, players' union angrily denounce Trump comments on national anthem


    SOMERSET, N.J. — The National Football League and its players' union on Saturday angrily denounced President Donald Trump for suggesting that owners fire players who kneel during the national anthem …

    President Donald Trump walks off the stage after he speaks at campaign rally in support of Sen. Luther Strange, Friday, Sept. 22, 2017, in Huntsville, Ala. [Associated Press]