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Andy Dalton's Not Looking Past Bucs


Scott Boehm/Getty Images(CINCINNATI) -- The Cincinnati Bengals will play at Tampa Bay on Sunday as the season heads into December.

Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton is trying to guide his team to their fourth straight playoff appearance.

"We know every week is important," Dalton said. "So you don’t want to have any slip-ups, because if you do, you can go from first to last really easily. We know every week is so important so it just brings that extra focus to the game."

Dalton is coming off two big games against the Saints and Houston.

"They’ve been playing well," said Dalton of Tampa's effort in their last few games. "Some of those things, they’re really sound in what they do. Whether it be the drops that they’re taking – they know what they’re doing, they know how to play certain routes. You’ve got to be sharp."

Despite their 2-9 record, the Buccaneers go into Sunday's game only two games behind the Saints and Falcons in the NFC South.

"Realize how important this game is," Tampa head coach Lovie Smith said.

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Philip Rivers on Ravens: It's a 'Big Game'


Peter G. Aiken/Getty Images(SAN DIEGO) -- The San Diego Chargers will travel to Baltimore to take on the Ravens on Sunday.

Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers has his team in the thick of things in the AFC and knows how important this game is.

"It’s a big game. It’s a big game for both teams. Baltimore is a good team," Rivers said this week.  "That’s a heck of a division there, and obviously, every team in that division has 7 wins or more, and in our division, three of them have 7 or more. It’s going to be a heck of a game, and we’ve had some good games in the past. And it’s kind of what you’d expect this time of year with the two teams late in the year fighting for a spot. So, it’ll be exciting and a heck of a challenge for us."

Rivers respects Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco, who has tossed 18 touchdown passes this season.

"I know Joe a little bit. I don’t know him super well, but I know him pretty well," Rivers said.  "His brother [Mike] was out here in training camp, so I got to know him a little bit. But Joe is a heck of a player, obviously. He’s a guy that has a big arm and he’s led those guys to lots of wins, [Super Bowl] championship and all. He’s a good player I’ve always respected from afar."

Both teams sit at 7-4 and San Diego currently holds the sixth and final spot in the AFC.  Baltimore would be on the outside looking in if both teams finished tied at the end of the season.

"It’s an important game – it’s the next one," Chargers head coach Mike McCoy said. "It’s the next one you’ve got to win. Every week you go into the game trying to be 1-0. So obviously, being in the conference and all that stuff, there’s added bonus of winning those games. So yes, that does come into play, but you’ve just got to find a way to come out 1-0. That’s the most important thing this week."

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Redskins Prepare for Andrew Luck


Joe Robbins/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- The Indianapolis Colts decided to go with Andrew Luck instead of Robert Griffin III with the first pick in the 2012 NFL draft, the Redskins then selected Griffin III.  

Griffin III was benched this week by the Redskins and the Colts will now face Colt McCoy on Sunday, who has guided Washington to two wins this year.

Redskins defensive coordinator Jim Haslett had much praise for Luck on Friday.

"He’s one of the best I’ve seen in the league," Haslett said Luck. "He gets the ball out of his hands. Things don’t bother him. He knows where to go with the ball. He’ll take a hit, and it doesn’t really affect him."

Luck has the Colts in first place in the AFC South and has thrown 29 touchdowns this year.

"The object is not just to hit him or put pressure on him or get a quarterback hit on him," Haslett said. "Obviously you’ve got to get a sack on him or try to get the ball or dislodge it from him, which is not easy because he’s a big human being."

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Scoreboard Roundup - 11/28/14


Hemera/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- NBA: Chicago Bulls 109 (10-6) - Boston Celtics 102 (4-9)

Golden State Warriors 106 (13-2) - Charlotte Hornets 101 (4-13)

Milwaukee Bucks 104 (10-7) - Detroit Pistons 88 (3-13)

Atlanta Hawks 100 (8-6) - New Orleans Pelicans 91 (7-7)

Oklahoma City Thunder 105 (5-12) - New York Knicks 78 (4-13)

Dallas Mavericks 106 (12-5) - Toronto Raptors 102 (13-3)

Los Angeles Clippers 102 (10-5) - Houston Rockets 85 (12-4)

Indiana Pacers 98 (7-9) - Orlando Magic 83 (6-12)

San Antonio Spurs 112 (11-4) - Sacramento Kings 104 (9-7)

Denver Nuggets 122 (8-8) - Phoenix Suns 97 (10-7)

Memphis Grizzlies 112 (14-2) - Portland Trail Blazers 99 (12-4)

Minnesota Timberwolves 120 (4-10) - Los Angeles Lakers 119 (3-13)

Top 25 College Football: Stanford 31 (7-5) - (8) UCLA 10 (9-3)

(11) Arizona 42 (10-2) - (14) Arizona St. 35 (9-3)

(17) Missouri 21 (10-2) - Arkansas 14 (6-6)

Western Kentucky 67 (7-5) - (24) Marshall 66 (11-1) - Overtime

Top 25 Men's Basketball: (2) Wisconsin 69 (7-0) - Oklahoma 56 (4-2)

(5) North Carolina 75 (5-1) - (18) Florida 64 (3-3)

(8) Virginia 64 (6-0) - La Salle 56 (4-1)

(10) Gonzaga 73 (6-0) - St. John's 66 (4-1)

(11) Kansas 82 (4-1) - Tennessee 67 (2-2)

(16) Ohio State 73 (5-0) - James Madison 56 (4-2)

(17) Miami 87 (7-0) - South Alabama 75 (1-3)

(20) Michigan State 79 (5-1) - Marquette 68 (3-3)

(22) UCLA 88 (5-2) - UAB 76 (2-5)

Ole Miss 75 (4-1) - (23) Creighton 68 (5-1)

(25) Arkansas 89 (5-0) - North Texas 73 (4-2)

NHL: New York Rangers 3 (10-8-4, 24pts) - Philadelphia Flyers 0 (8-11-3, 19pts)

Chicago Blackhawks 4 (14-8-1, 29pts) - Anaheim Ducks 1 (14-5-5, 33pts)

Washington Capitals 5 (9-8-4, 22pts) - New York Islanders 2 (16-6-0, 32pts)

Carolina Hurricanes 4 (7-12-3, 17pts) - Pittsburgh Penguins 2 (15-5-2, 32pts)

Vancouver Canucks 5 (16-6-1, 33pts) - Columbus Blue Jackets 0 (6-14-2, 14pts)

Boston Bruins 2 (14-9-1, 29pts) - Winnipeg Jets 1 (12-9-4, 28pts) - OT

Buffalo Sabres 2 (7-14-2, 16pts) - Montreal Canadiens 1 (16-7-1, 33pts)

Detroit Red Wings 5 (13-5-5, 31pts) - New Jersey Devils 4 (9-10-4, 22pts) - SO

St. Louis Blues 4 (15-6-2, 32pts) - Edmonton Oilers 3 (6-14-4, 16pts) - OT

Florida Panthers 3 (9-6-6, 24pts) - Ottawa Senators 2 (10-8-4, 24pts)

Minnesota Wild 5 (13-9-0, 26pts) - Dallas Stars 4 (9-9-5, 23pts) - OT

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Jason Frasor Signs One-Year Deal With Royals


Thinkstock(KANSAS CITY, Mo.) -- The Kansas City Royals signed relief pitcher Jason Frasor to a one-year deal with a mutual option for 2016, the team announced Friday.

The 37-year-old right hander will earn $1.25 million next season with the opportunity to make another $500,000 in performance bonuses. The 2016 option is for $2 million plus $500,000 in potential performance bonus money and comes with a $500,000 buyout.

Frasor joined the Royals last July when they acquired him in a trade with the Texas Rangers. He went on to appear in seven postseason games for Kansas City posting a 2-0 record with a 1.69 ERA.

Frasor has pitched for the Toronto Blue Jays, Chicago White Sox, Texas Rangers and Kansas City throughout his 11 major league seasons. During that time he pitched 618 2/3 innings compiling 36 saves, 3.59 ERA, 1.30 WHIP and 593 strikeouts.

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Rice Wins Appeal, is Reinstated


(NEW YORK) --  Former Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice won his appeal of an indefinite suspension from the NFL and has been reinstated into the league.

The 27-year-old Rice is now free to sign with any NFL team.

"I would like to thank Judge Barbara Jones, the NFL Players Association, my attorneys, agents, advisors, family, friends and fans -- but most importantly, my wife Janay," Rice said in a statement released by the NFLPA on Friday. "I made an inexcusable mistake and accept full responsibility for my actions.

"I am thankful that there was a proper appeals process in place to address this issue. I will continue working hard to improve myself and be the best husband, father and friend, while giving back to my community and helping others to learn from my mistakes."

Rice received an indefinite suspension from the league on Sept. 8 when it was found he violated the NFL's personal conduct policy after a video surfaced of him hitting his then-fiancée Janay Palmer.

Rice was originally suspended two games by NFL commissioner Roger Goodell for the incident. That prompted Rice to appeal the indefinite suspension saying the NFL couldn't suspend him a second time for conduct the league already knew about.

Rice has played in six NFL seasons, all with the Ravens. During that time he's rushed for 6,180 yards and 37 touchdowns while also catching 369 balls for 3,034 yards and six touchdowns.

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Tom Brady Respects Aaron Rodgers


Doug Pensinger/Getty Images(FOXBOROUGH, Mass.) -- Patriots quarterback Tom Brady knows it won't be easy going up against the Packers led by quarterback Aaron Rodgers on Sunday.

Brady last visited Lambeau Field in 2006 when the Patriots shutout Green Bay 35-0.

"He's just phenomenal, a great player. I always love watching him play because he does things that a lot of guys in the league can't do; that nobody can really do except him," Brady said of Rodgers.  "For a quarterback, I really know how hard it is to do that, especially on a consistent basis, and he's been as consistent as anybody who has ever played the position, so I've got a lot of respect for him." 

Rodgers has thrown 30 touchdown passes and has to keep pace with the Lions, who won on Thanksgiving.

"They have the highest percentage of scores after you turn the ball over than any team in the league. That's a big reason why they're getting ahead at home because they get ahead of you, you start to press, you turn it over, they convert into more touchdowns, and it just piles on," Brady said. "You've got to keep the game close and keep it competitive, and I think Aaron has done a great job in his career of not turning the ball over. He's got all the ability in the world." 

The Patriots are averaging 32.5 points per game and own the best record in the AFC.

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Ohio State Gears Up for Michigan


Kirk Irwin/Getty Images(COLUMBUS, Ohio) -- Sixth-ranked Ohio State will need to win and have some luck this weekend if they are going to get into the College Football Playoff rankings.

The Buckeyes (10-1) are preparing for Michigan (5-6) and have won nine out of the last ten meetings.

"We just make a huge deal out of rivalry games.  I want the players to take ownership in the program, part ownership in the game," Buckeyes head coach Urban Meyer said this week.  "This is not another game.  This is the game."

"I want to have some fun with it," Meyer continued.  "But I also want the players to, when you say have fun, I'm not sure how to have fun.  It's how to have fun is sing the fight song in the locker room after a win against your rival.  That's how you have fun.  Everything leads up to that fun."

Michigan will have to pull off an upset to become bowl eligible.

"This is one of those weeks where there is a lot of excitement and obviously when this rivalry, which I believe is the greatest one is sport, that obviously would make it the greatest rivalry in college football, so it is fun. It is fun to prepare; it is a game that the intensity level by both teams is always at its highest," Michigan head coach Brady Hoke said.

"We all want to play our best, and that is our goal, to play your best game on that last Saturday in November. Very balanced team we are going to play, when you look at what they do from an offense, defense, special teams standpoint," Hoke continued.  "There is a great deal of pride when you play in this game, coach in this game. That is special. You talk to the guys who have played in it, and they can tell you how special it is. We have got to improve, we have got to improve every week, and that is one of the goals we have always had. At times we are making strides, and at times we are not as good executing as we would like to be, but this is a game that is like no other, and we are excited about it."

Ohio State quarterback J.T. Barrett has thrown 33 touchdowns and has the offense averaging 44.3 points per game this season.

"You look at the progression from the first start to going through the season, and I think he has done a great job in how they manage and what he wants and has to do offensively. He is athletic, obviously, and I think the way he has thrown the ball, the precision on that," Brady said of Barrett.  "I know last week was one of those games, the way it started, that was not as good. I think he has overcome a lot when those things have happened, and I think he has been a guy that has done a great job for them."

Michigan is 3-4 in their Big Ten matchups this season.

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Civil War Preview


Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images(EUGENE, Ore.) -- Second-ranked Oregon (10-1) will travel to Oregon State (5-6) in the 118th edition of the Civil War on Saturday.

The Ducks hold a 61-46-10 advantage in the all-time series and have a 29-9-1 (.756) mark vs. the Beavers since 1975, including wins in six straight.

Oregon quarterback Marcus Mariota is coming off a three touchdown pass game in their 44-10 win over Colorado last weekend and has thrown a touchdown in all 37 games of his career.

"Somebody was talking to me the other day about how easy he makes it look sometimes," Oregon coach Mark Helfrich said. "What he's doing is really difficult. His decision making, competitiveness, his command of the team is so outstanding. It's great to be around him because he makes you want to work harder as a coach. The other guys feed off of him."

Oregon is averaging 45.8 points per game and is allowing just 23.6 points on the defensive front.

"The Civil War's always a big game. We always talk about taking one game at a time. But we understand it's a huge part of this community and a huge part of this state," Mariota said. "To play in it, it's truly special."

The Beavers are averaging 26.3 points per game and fell to Oregon 36-35 last year.

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Report: Former Bills Star Contemplated Suicide


Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images(BUFFALO, N.Y.) -- One of the star members of the Buffalo Bills four consecutive AFC Championship teams, Darryl Talley, is suffering from chronic depression and has contemplated suicide.

Talley tells the Buffalo News that he believes the ill effects he is experiencing are a result of incurring numerous severe hits from his playing days as a linebacker. 

Now 54, Talley stated "When you go through the s--- that I’ve gone through, you start to wonder: Is this really worth it? Is it worth being here, worth being tortured anymore?"

He continues to explain that one of the the reasons he continues to fight the depression is the desire to see his grandchildren grow up. 

Talley was one of the named plaintiffs in the lawsuit filed against the NFL which claimed that the league hid evidence that playing the game posed risks to players’ mental health.

The NFL initially settled the lawsuit for $675 million over 65 years.  A federal judge later removed the cap on the settlement after seeing that the more than 20,000 players could qualify for treatment. 

 

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