<![CDATA[NBC 5 Dallas-Fort Worth - Dallas-Fort Worth Sports News, Analysis, and Scores for the Giants, Jets. Patriots, Huskies, Knicks and More]]> Copyright 2014 http://www.nbcdfw.com/news/sports http://media.nbcbayarea.com/designimages/NBC+5-KXAS+Logo+for+Google+News.png NBC 5 Dallas-Fort Worth http://www.nbcdfw.com en-us Sat, 20 Dec 2014 00:33:33 -0600 Sat, 20 Dec 2014 00:33:33 -0600 NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA[Gilmer Tops West Orange-Stark for 4A D-II Title]]> Fri, 19 Dec 2014 16:43:23 -0600 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/160*120/Generic+Footballs+on+Grass.jpg

Blake Lynch scored two fourth-quarter touchdowns and Gilmer overcame an 18-point deficit to beat West Orange-Stark 35-25 for the Class 4A Division II state championship Friday.

Gilmer (16-0) won its third state title, all in the last 11 years. West Orange-Stark is now 2-3 in state championship games after opening the postseason with a 64-0 victory against Houston Scarborough, believed to be the first 0-10 team to make the Texas playoffs.

West Orange-Stark (13-3) had three turnovers in the second half. The first two led to touchdowns that started Gilmer's 28-point second-half surge.

Lynch, who has committed to play at Baylor, ran 4 yards to give Gilmer its first lead with 10:53 to play. He scored from 7 yards out with 4:59 remaining. Lynch finished with 21 rushing yards on five carries, and caught two passes for 96 yards.

Photo Credit: AP
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<![CDATA[Padres, Preller Going Nuts, Probably Not Done]]> Fri, 19 Dec 2014 17:48:33 -0600 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/preller+1.jpg

A.J. Preller came up in baseball with Texas Rangers GM Jon Daniels, and he's taking an awfully aggressive approach to his first offseason as big-league GM in his new stomping grounds of San Diego.

Preller has transformed the weak-hitting Padres overnight by acquiring Matt Kemp, Wil Myers and now his latest addition, Atlanta Braves slugger Justin Upton. He's also traded for Derek Norris, and suddenly, the Padres have one of the most feared, power-filled lineups in baseball even if they play in a pitcher's paradise.

But is Preller done? Something tells me no.

In fact, what if he's about to work a big deal with his former employer and his ol' buddy JD.

The Rangers have been hot on Upton for quite some time, even dating back to a couple of years ago when the Braves ended up getting him from Arizona. He would add a huge bat to the middle of the Rangers' lineup. But he's also a free agent after the 2015 season, and it'd be hard to imagine JD parting with a top-level prospect, such as Jurickson Profar even in his injured, uncertain state, to get that.

Myers could make more sense and would warrant giving up better prospects for the former Rays standout rookie who fell on some harder times last year after winning the AL Rookie of the Year honors in 2013. He's still young (24) and is very controllable (after the 2020 season).

Photo Credit: Matthew Wood/NBC7]]>
<![CDATA[Potential Target: Allen Craig]]> Fri, 19 Dec 2014 17:49:57 -0600 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/180*120/174188769.jpg

The Rangers' top winter priority is upgrading its starting pitching but they're also going to be looking for a bat.

Target: Allen Craig, OF/DH

2014 stats: .215 batting average, .279 on-base percentage, 20 doubles, eight home runs, 46 RBIs in 126 games

The Boston Red Sox acquired Craig from St. Louis at the deadline in hopes a change of scenery and a beautiful hitters' park would rejuvenate him. It did the opposite, as Craig sunk to .128 batting average in his 29 games as a member of the Red Sox.

Now, Boston is looking to shop him, and the Rangers could be a potential suitor.

The one catch with Craig is that his contract was backloaded, so a team trading for him would need to pick up a lot of money on an aging player. But when he's right, he can hit the baseball, and he's proven that over time with three strong years prior to last season.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Romo: Playoffs Started Weeks Ago]]> Fri, 19 Dec 2014 17:17:19 -0600 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/459955032.jpg

It gets annoying and cliche when people talk about how every game is a must-win game, even if it's a Week 4 game against a team from the other conference. It's tiresome.

But in the Dallas Cowboys' case, the past few games have truly been of the "must-win" variety with the top-heavy NFC and the thought that an 11-5 season would most likely have the Cowboys on the outside of the playoff picture in a couple of weeks.

Quarterback Tony Romo reinforced that thought on Thursday, saying the Cowboys' past two games have been playoff games dating back to that Thursday-night affair in Chicago. And he's pretty much right.

"I think you knew going into Chicago that if you didn’t win that game, it was going to be very difficult to have any chance at getting in,’’ Romo said in The Dallas Morning News. “We’ve been at it for two weeks. We feel like we’ve been in the playoffs the entire month of December, so we’re just going to keep that attitude and keep going.”

Traditionally, the Cowboys have tanked in December going back to the Bill Parcells/Tony Romo days. This year, things have been different so far, and for the Cowboys' season to continue beyond two weeks, it'll have to continue this week against a 10-win Colts team.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Murray to Speak With Lacy]]> Fri, 19 Dec 2014 17:19:28 -0600 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/459956212.jpg

The Dallas Cowboys seem to expect DeMarco Murray to be able to play on Sunday in a must-win game against the Colts, that game coming a less than a week after Murray underwent surgery to repair a broken hand suffered Sunday night.

There's something to be said for networking, as Murray has a contemporary in the league to reach out to for advice on playing so soon in Green Bay Packers running back Eddie Lacy.

Lacy suffered the same injury and played the following two weeks in college as a star runner for Alabama. In those two games, the Iron Bowl against Auburn and the national championship game against Notre Dame, Lacy rushed for more than 400 yards.

Murray said he plans on talking to Lacy about protecting the hand, even though Murray already had the surgery.

"I'll probably talk to him here today and see what he did and things of that nature, see what information he can give me about it," Murray said. "I'm not overthinking it. I'm just going out there and trying to work hard today and do what I can."

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[DeMarco Murray: "We'll See How it Goes"]]> Fri, 19 Dec 2014 17:20:47 -0600 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/457517236.jpg

Dallas Cowboys running back DeMarco Murray has practiced three days in a row now after undergoing surgery on his broken hand on Monday, but it’s still not clear whether he’ll play or not.

Murray told the team’s official website this week that the final decision on whether he goes or not will “probably” be his.

“I’m competitive, very competitive person, and I want to help this team out as much as I can,” Murray said. “Whatever that portrays me doing come Sunday, we’ll see from there. I’ve got two good days, and we’ll see how it goes.”

Entering Week 16, Murray is leading the NFL in rushing yards and carries by a wide margin, with 1,687 yards on 351 attempts. He said ultimately, the decision will be based on (a) if he can handle the pain and (b) if he can be effective with the bum hand.

“People deal with injuries all the time, so you’ve got to be able to fight through the pain,” Murray said. “These are some important games that we’ve got coming up, and I know how important they are, we know how important they are. Whatever we can do to get these wins is definitely crucial and vital to what we want to do in the playoffs and trying to get there.”


Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Jerry: No Regrets About Brandon Carr Deal]]> Fri, 19 Dec 2014 17:22:50 -0600 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/459963010a.jpg

Having seen Brandon Carr give up two big plays in the past two weeks and really struggle for much of the season, some have wondered if the Dallas Cowboys might regret giving Carr that five-year, $50.1 million deal before the 2012 season. According to owner and general manager Jerry Jones, the answer is an emphatic no.

I’m glad we got him,” Jones said, per Todd Archer of ESPN Dallas. “I’m glad I‘m paying him. Like everybody you’d like to have your deal squared up more to the value of where it is but that’s just part of this. And he’s very capable. He plays the ball well. One of his skills is how well he plays the ball, and let’s hope that he makes that interception at [a] time that [will] down in history for the Dallas Cowboys.”

In last week’s win over the Eagles, Carr gave up a 72-yard catch-and-run to Jeremy Maclin after he went for the pass breakup rather than making the sure play and just tackling Maclin. But Carr doesn’t plan on being any less aggressive moving forward.

“It’s one of those in the heat-of-the-moment type things,” Carr said. “My mentality, my personality I have is to kind of go after the ball. I just didn’t come up with it. But at the same time I’m not going to turn off my aggression and turn off how I play. I’m going to keep playing the same way for the last two games the way I play.”


Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Place Your Bets: Week 16]]> Fri, 19 Dec 2014 17:25:36 -0600 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/457133768.jpg

If you live in Nevada, Oregon, Montana or Delaware, you're in luck. Otherwise, go to Canada or Europe and get your bet on for the NFL weekend! All games are Sunday unless otherwise noted.

1. Minnesota (+6.5) at Miami -- The Dolphins aren't playing very good football right now. The Vikings are a young team looking for a positive end to their season and are riding their rookie quarterback into South Beach. Not sure the Dolphins lose this game, but it's going to be a close one.

2. Detroit (-8.5) at Chicago -- The Bears benched Jay Cutler in favor of Jimmy Claussen, for real. The Lions have a really strong chance of winning the NFC North if they win out. This game should be an epic blowout, no matter how you look at it.

3. New England (-10) at New York Jets -- The Patriots are probably the best team in the AFC. The Jets are back to starting Geno Smith at quarterback. Enough.

4. Seattle (-8) at Arizona -- The Cardinals are still sporting the NFC's best record, which is highly impressive when you look at their rash of injuries. Now, though, the injuries might be too much as the Cardinals will roll out their third-string quarterback against the NFL's best defense. Look out, and expect a low-scoring game in a defensive struggle.

5. Indianapolis at Dallas (-3) -- The Cowboys have to win this game. The Colts really can't help or hurt themselves regardless of the outcome. That enough should push the Cowboys to a win in what will be a close game.

Last week: 2-2-1. 2014 season: 30-39-1.

(Yes, it's been an awful season!)

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Jerry "Skeptical" About Free's Status for Sunday]]> Fri, 19 Dec 2014 13:36:28 -0600 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/175605471.jpg

Dallas Cowboys owner and general manager Jerry Jones remains confident that right guard Zack Martin will be able to play in Sunday’s matchup with the Colts at AT&T Stadium, even after he missed Friday’s practice session. He’s a little less optimistic about Doug Free, who was also held out on Friday for the third day in a row.

"I'm a little skeptical we're going to have Free," Jones told 105.3-FM The Fan on Friday, via FOX Sports. "But let's see what the few days bring. We may get some of Free, and that may be worth giving him an active roster spot."

If Free can’t go, he’ll be replaced by Jermey Parnell, who took over the right tackle spot in the second half of last week’s win over the Eagles in Philadelphia.

"I like him, Jones said of Parnell. "I don't think anybody has a better swing, backup tackle, because he can play both tackles. I don't think there's a better backup situation in the NFL."

Stay on top of the latest Dallas Cowboys news with NBCDFW.com. Follow NBC DFW on Facebook or have breaking Cowboys news sent directly to your phone with Blue Star SMS alerts. Text "bluestar" to 622339 (NBCDFW) to subscribe, text HELP for more info, and text STOP to end the subscription. Message and data rates may apply.Read more about it here.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Scandrick Ready For T.Y. Hilton Challenge]]> Fri, 19 Dec 2014 17:24:28 -0600 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/orland-scandrick-ped-presser.jpg

Dallas Cowboys cornerback Orlando Scandrick is looking forward to the test presented by Indianapolis Colts receiver T.Y. Hilton, the third-year speed demon out of Florida International who has 82 catches, 1,345 yards and seven touchdowns on the year coming into Sunday’s matchup in Arlington.

According to Scandrick, Hilton’s size and style of play is reminiscent of the Redskins DeSean Jackson who, particularly in his years with the Eagles, saw plenty of success against the Cowboys.

“He’s a smaller guy,” Scandrick told the team's website. “You know, he reminds me a lot of DeSean Jackson, just the same type of game for me.”

Hilton is coming off a game against the Texans in which he was held to 50 yards on four catches. But the week before that, against the Browns, he went for 10 catches, 150 yards and two touchdowns.

“Just a really good player. They move him around. He’s outside, he’s inside. He can really do everything,” head coach Jason Garrett said. “He runs deep, he runs intermediate routes, they get him the ball short and his run after catch is outstanding, so he’s a very dangerous player. He and the quarterback have a great rapport, so there’s a comfort level that’s quarterback friendly and he makes a lot of plays for them.”


Photo Credit: NBC 5 Sports]]>
<![CDATA[Jerry on Sunday: "It's What I Built the Stadium For"]]> Fri, 19 Dec 2014 17:26:58 -0600 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/jerry-jones-camp-2014-day0-02.jpg

Big games like Sunday’s matchup between the Colts and the Cowboys are why Jerry Jones poured $2 billion into his stadium, Jones told reporters this week.

"To have this game right now for our home fans, and obviously the caliber of competition Indianapolis is, this is a serious, meaningful (game) for our franchise, meaningful for the last few years, meaningful for what we can do this year," Jones said, per Todd Archer of ESPN Dallas. "So, it’s what I built the stadium for."

While there’s no doubting that JerryWorld is an impressive place, the Cowboys haven’t exactly established a strong homefield advantage there. This season, while they’re 7-0 away from home, they’re just 3-4 at AT&T Stadium and haven’t won there since mid-October.


Photo Credit: Jose Sanchez, NBC 5 Photojournalist]]>
<![CDATA[3 Reasons the Cowboys Will Beat the Colts]]> Fri, 19 Dec 2014 13:06:15 -0600 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/460475634.jpg

The Cowboys need to beat the Colts Sunday.

Indianapolis has already wrapped up their division and the Cowboys risk missing the playoffs if they lose. That alone might give Dallas enough of an advantage in a game against two closely-matched teams.

Either way, though, the Cowboys still hold a slight advantage because of...

1. Colt’s Run Defense

For the most part, the Colts run defense has been the definition of average. In seven of their first nine games, Colts’ opponents rushed for totals within ten yards of their season average.

They’ve also been dominant at times, holding the league’s No. 5 rushing attack — Baltimore — to 42 yards below their average and No. 6 running team — Cincinnati — to 98 yards below average.

But in one game, they were absolutely gashed. The New England Patriots mixed outside zone, stretch zone, power blocking and misdirection to pile up 246 yards on the ground in Week 11. If that template sounds familiar, it’s because it was the same one used by Dallas in Philadelphia last Sunday, minus a little misdirection.

Look for Dallas to run for at least 150 yards Sunday.

2. Dallas' Third Down Pass Catchers

The Colts have also been mediocre defending the pass this season, but they do one thing very well that prevents them from looking even worse: They get off the field on third down.

The Indianapolis defense is No. 1 in the NFL at preventing third down conversions, allowing opponents to convert only 33 percent. If opponents converted at a rate closer to the average NFL team (about 40 percent), they suddenly look more like a bottom-5 defense.

So why is this relevant? The Cowboys have the best third-down offense in the NFL, converting 48 percent of the time. A big reason for that success is the ageless wonder Jason Witten and the emergence of slot receiver Cole Beasley.

3. Indy's Disappointing Run Game

Colts offensive coordinator Pep Hamilton held the same position for Jim Harbaugh at Stanford when Luck quarterbacked there. Hamilton is really trying to recreate that physical, multiple-tight end offense in Indianapolis, but he can’t quite make it work.

Part of the problem is running back Trent Richardson, who hasn’t lived up to his draft selection yet. The Colts traded a first-round pick for Richardson and they seem determined to get their money’s worth. Running back Dan Herron has significantly outplayed Richardson, yet Richardson gets the bulk of carries.

Bottom Line

Both offenses are potent and shouldn’t have trouble moving the ball Sunday against the other team’s mediocre defense that looks better than it actually is.

This is a close matchup that probably goes to the Cowboys because they have better balance offensively and, frankly, they need this win more than the Colts.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Cowboys Looking to Reverse Home Fortunes]]> Thu, 18 Dec 2014 15:26:34 -0600 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/459664296.jpg

Home sweet home?

Not so much for the Dallas Cowboys this year.

The Cowboys are 7-0 on the road, after defeating the Eagles in Philadelphia last week. At home, they’re just 3-4, leaving fans and players alike perplexed as to why the team has so struggled in Jerry Jones’s $1.2 billion shrine to football and excess.

I don’t have a good answer for you,” quarterback Tony Romo said this week when asked about the team’s struggles at home, via the team’s official website. “More than anything, you just go and do all of the things that it takes to win.”

According to Romo, up until the Thanksgiving Day debacle, the crowds at AT&T Stadium had been good, and loud. He added that he fully expects the building to be electric once again on Sunday.

“You could really feel the energy, excitement and just the passion behind the fans and I expect to see that again this weekend,” Romo said. “I think it’s going to be a real special place. And everyone who is at that game, I think it’s going to be loud.”

Stay on top of the latest Dallas Cowboys news with NBCDFW.com. Follow NBC DFW on Facebook or have breaking Cowboys news sent directly to your phone with Blue Star SMS alerts. Text "bluestar" to 622339 (NBCDFW) to subscribe, text HELP for more info, and text STOP to end the subscription. Message and data rates may apply.Read more about it here.

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<![CDATA[Pagano: Even Without Murray, Dallas Offense Scary]]> Thu, 18 Dec 2014 14:54:42 -0600 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/460474530.jpg

Indianapolis Colts head coach Chuck Pagano told reporters this week that the team would prepare as though Cowboys’ running back DeMarco Murray will play this week. But even if he can’t, Pagano says, the Dallas offense gives opposing defenses plenty to worry about.

“[Dez Bryant]’s a nightmare. He’s one of the most competitive guys that we’ve seen,” Pagano said, via the Cowboys’ website. “He’s a great talent. He’s a great player. He’s a combination of size, athleticism and speed. But his competitive nature and his drive and his passion for the game and for his team and for winning is second to none. The guy’s a monster.”

Pagano was also full of praise for quarterback Tony Romo.

“He’s still got that Houdini in him where he can get out of harm’s way and still extend plays and find guys down the field,” Pagano said. “Tony’s playing great football. For 12 years in, his numbers are fabulous. He’s managing the game extremely well. He’s doing a great job and he plays hurt. He plays tough. He plays strong. Tremendous amount of respect for Tony and what he’s been able to accomplish through the course of his long, long career. He’s playing as good as he’s played. He’s playing really well, and we’ve got our hands full.”

Stay on top of the latest Dallas Cowboys news with NBCDFW.com. Follow NBC DFW on Facebook or have breaking Cowboys news sent directly to your phone with Blue Star SMS alerts. Text "bluestar" to 622339 (NBCDFW) to subscribe, text HELP for more info, and text STOP to end the subscription. Message and data rates may apply.Read more about it here.

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<![CDATA[Free, Martin Held Out of Practice Again]]> Thu, 18 Dec 2014 15:28:24 -0600 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/456306852.jpg

The Dallas Cowboys were once again without right tackle Doug Free and right guard Zack Martin in practice on Thursday, according to the Dallas Morning News, throwing their availability for Sunday’s matchup with the Colts into some question.

Free suffered a sprained left ankle in last Sunday’s 38-21 victory over the Eagles and was forced to miss the entire second half. Martin suffered a sprained right ankle early in that game but played through the injury and finished the game.

Perhaps because he was able to finish, the Cowboys are more optimistic about Martin’s chances of playing than Free’s. Owner and general manager Jerry Jones said earlier in the week that he’s hopeful that Free will be able to play, but acknowledged that he could be held out for a week.

If Free can’t play, he’ll be replaced by Jermey Parnell, who has already made three starts on the season.

Stay on top of the latest Dallas Cowboys news with NBCDFW.com. Follow NBC DFW on Facebook or have breaking Cowboys news sent directly to your phone with Blue Star SMS alerts. Text "bluestar" to 622339 (NBCDFW) to subscribe, text HELP for more info, and text STOP to end the subscription. Message and data rates may apply.Read more about it here.

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<![CDATA[Garrett: JJ Wilcox "Getting Better and Better"]]> Thu, 18 Dec 2014 15:27:45 -0600 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/458696424.jpg

Dallas Cowboys head coach Jason Garrett has seen noticeable improvement from second-year safety JJ Wilcox this season, a good sign after years of shaky free safety play.

The hard hitting Wilcox certainly made his impact in last week’s 38-27 win over the Eagles. He made a circus catch on an interception in the third quarter and forced a fumble in the fourth that allowed the Cowboys to kick a field goal and extend their lead to two possessions, at 38-27. He finished with four tackles and now has 67 on the season, as well as two picks.

I thought he tackled really well and was very active,” Garrett said of Wilcox, per Jean-Jacques Taylor of ESPN Dallas. “He’s one of those guys that’s getting better and better every game he plays. It’s important to him. He really cares about it.

“I think he watches guys on our football team to see how they conduct themselves. He’s continuing to mature as a player and I think we’ve seen evidence of that during the season.”

Stay on top of the latest Dallas Cowboys news with NBCDFW.com. Follow NBC DFW on Facebook or have breaking Cowboys news sent directly to your phone with Blue Star SMS alerts. Text "bluestar" to 622339 (NBCDFW) to subscribe, text HELP for more info, and text STOP to end the subscription. Message and data rates may apply.Read more about it here.

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<![CDATA[Romo: Murray Will Do Everything He Can to Play]]> Thu, 18 Dec 2014 15:25:28 -0600 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/459486534.jpg

Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo fully expects DeMarco Murray to play against the Indianapolis Colts, if there’s any way he can.

Of course, Murray suffered a fractured bone in his hand in last week’s 38-27 victory over the Eagles in Philadelphia. He underwent surgery on Monday, but practiced on Wednesday and Thursday, presumably a sign that he’s at least seriously considering giving it a go.

"I think you've all seen how special DeMarco is as a player. He's had a great season," Romo said, per Todd Archer of ESPN Dallas. "I think he's going to do everything he can to play. We're just going to do what we do and go from there."

If Murray can’t play on Sunday, the Cowboys will use a platoon system consisting of Joseph Randle and Lance Dunbar against the Colts.

Stay on top of the latest Dallas Cowboys news with NBCDFW.com. Follow NBC DFW on Facebook or have breaking Cowboys news sent directly to your phone with Blue Star SMS alerts. Text "bluestar" to 622339 (NBCDFW) to subscribe, text HELP for more info, and text STOP to end the subscription. Message and data rates may apply.Read more about it here.

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<![CDATA[Cowboys Lose a Turnover, Gain an Onside Kick]]> Thu, 18 Dec 2014 15:27:13 -0600 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/460474742.jpg

The Dallas Cowboys, especially under Jason Garrett, have not been known as a team to break out the rogue onside kick in a game situation that doesn't necessarily call for it. Garrett has traditionally been very conservative in such instances.

So years from now when folks look back on the pivotal win over the rival Eagles on Sunday and see the Cowboys recovered an onside kick on the opening kickoff, football historians everywhere will have their eyebrows raised.

(Full disclosure: The preceding was a dramatization of a turn of events that will likely never happen)

But that's exactly what the record books will show after Elias Sports Bureau ruled on Wednesday that the opening kickoff was indeed an onside kick, and not a fumble by the Eagles. It's the correct ruling, considering it's fairly clear Josh Huff nor Brad Smith touched the ball before C.J. Spillman recovered it to set up a quick Dez Bryant touchdown catch.

Don't expect the Cowboys to go on a streak of going for onside kicks on the opening kickoff. In fact, that might never happen again in Garrett's tenure, but for one night, anyway, it happened.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Profar Hoping For Quick Return]]> Thu, 18 Dec 2014 15:24:29 -0600 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/jurickson-profar1.jpg

At the MLB Winter Meetings a couple of weeks ago, Texas Rangers GM basically made it clear that former top prospect Jurickson Profar would start the season in the minor leagues, barring any unforeseen circumstances.

The Rangers seem prepared to give fellow youngster Rougned Odor the first dibs on the team's starting second base job after he was promoted last year to get the Rangers out of the mess known as Donnie Murphy and Josh Wilson.

Of course, Wilson and Murphy were being platooned through the first month and a half after the Rangers traded Ian Kinsler to Detroit to clear room for Profar to have an everyday role at second base. Instead, Profar ended up missing the entire season with a torn shoulder muscle and letting Odor pass him up in the minds of several folks in the organization.

Now, Profar wants to be back with the Rangers even though Daniels has pretty much laid out a concrete plan for him to start in the minors and go from there.

“We will see where I’m at in January, when I start throwing and doing all my stuff, and see when I’m ready to play,” Profar told the Star-Telegram after the team’s media luncheon at Bob’s Steak and Chop House at the Omni Hotel in Dallas. “I’m feeling better than I’ve been feeling before. No pain and I’m feeling stronger. I’ve done a lot of things, a lot of training.”

Reports say Profar was approached by a California doctor with the idea that surgery might be a good fix that could prevent further issues, but he decided against it.

“It has been very hard missing a year," Profar said. "I’m confident in myself, and it’s just when I’m ready I’m going.”

Read more here: http://www.star-telegram.com/sports/mlb/texas-rangers/article4566664.html#storylink=cpy

Photo Credit: Getty Images, NBC 5 News]]>
<![CDATA[3 Reasons the Colts Will Beat the Cowboys]]> Thu, 18 Dec 2014 12:47:37 -0600 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/460468624.jpg

Last Sunday's win in Philadelphia was the Cowboys' biggest in a few years, but fans who think they can rest easy on the way to the playoffs need to think again.

The Indianapolis Colts come to Arlington — where the Cowboys have struggled this season — having already wrapped up the AFC South with a 10-4 record. Only the Ravens and Patriots are outscoring their competition by more points than the Colts, who also rank third in the NFL in scoring offense.

If the Eagles beat the Redskins and Giants in their final two games, the Cowboys will miss the playoffs with a loss to the Colts. Indianapolis is a dangerous team because of...

1. NFL’s Best Young QB

We’ve heard about the great Andrew Luck since his redshirt freshman year at Stanford, but this season he’s actually exceeding the hype. Put simply, he is the best quarterback in the NFL younger than 30 and it’s not particularly close.

Arm strength, accuracy, pocket presence and movement…name the quality and Luck has it. He is also extremely athletic, posting combine numbers eerily similar to Cam Newton after college, but his intelligence is what sets him apart. He has an understanding of the game uncommon in a third-year quarterback, which has accelerated his learning curve exponentially.

After two relatively mediocre seasons, Luck is finally producing at a level more commensurate with his potential. His Adjusted Yards per Attempt (yards per attempt weighted with touchdowns and interceptions) of 8.0 ranks fifth in the NFL. He has thrown more interceptions than ideal, but it seems like they stem more from calculated risk than inaccuracy or bad decisions.

There’s a very good chance Luck passes for more than 350 yards against the Cowboys Sunday. It can be frustrating, but try to just sit back and enjoy watching an elite quarterback grow up.

2. Young TE Tandem

On the surface, the Cowboys giving up an average of about 60 yards and .5 touchdowns per game to tight ends doesn’t look too bad. But the truth is, tight ends on teams that use them properly have had their way with the Dallas defense.

And not many teams use their tight ends as much as the Colts.

Many draft “experts” raised an eyebrow when Indianapolis selected tight ends in consecutive rounds of the 2012 draft, but tight end Coby Fleener and H-back Dwayne Allen have quietly become two of the more productive tight ends in football (both rank among the NFL’s top 20 in receiving yards).

Fleener is the deep threat you'll see running down the seam a handful of times Sunday. He's averaging 16.4 yards per reception, tops among tight ends with more than 20 catches, and his 15 receptions of 20 yards or more ranks second only to New England’s Rob Gronkowski. Both are redzone favorites, rank fifth (Allen) and sixth (Fleener) among tight ends in touchdowns.

3. An Emerging CB

It’s too early to rank Colts’ cornerback Vontae Davis among the league’s elite, but he’s getting close. He’s always had the size, length, speed and pedigree (brother to 49ers tight end Vernon Davis), and his production is catching up.

The Colts defense is fairly mediocre as a whole, ranking 13th in the NFL in passer rating against (85.5), but Davis has been shutting down receivers — minus a few hiccups — since he held the Broncos’ Demaryius Thomas to 48 yards in Week 1.

Not many defensive backs can shut Dez Bryant out, but Davis is the best cover corner the Cowboys face this season not named Richard Sherman. If Davis can limit Bryant the way he has with comparable receivers this year, the Cowboys offense might struggle to keep up with the Colts.

Bottom Line

Sunday's game between the Cowboys and Colts features two teams in very different playoff positions. The Colts have already won their division and are working on a bye while the Cowboys must win out to ensure they even make the postseason.

The Cowboys have struggled at home (3-4) this year, and now they have to figure out a way to buck the trend against the highest scoring offense they face this season or risk spending another January on the couch.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Rua Could Factor Into Infield Picture]]> Thu, 18 Dec 2014 15:24:54 -0600 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/455887540.jpg

The Texas Rangers are still looking for someone to step into a starting left field role that will likely be vacated when Shin-Soo Choo is expected to be moved to right field, which is more of his natural position.

One of the main candidates to fill that role is rookie Ryan Rua, who got a cup of coffee in September and fared really well for himself along the way, hitting .295 with two homers and driving in 14 runs on the year.

In 129 minor-league games split between Frisco and Round Rock, Rua hit .306 with 18 homers and 74 RBIs while seeing time at first base, second base, third base and left field. The 24-year-old played first, third and left field for the Rangers in September, with 17 of his 27 starts coming in left field.

The left-field picture is still plenty cloudy, but Rua, who was drafted as a shortstop, could factor in elsewhere in the infield, as well.

“A little bit depends on what we do the rest of the way,’’ Rangers GM Jon Daniels told The Dallas Morning News of Rua's plan for 2015.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Four Cowboys Among Leaders in Pro Bowl Voting]]> Thu, 18 Dec 2014 12:39:14 -0600 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/4599562081.jpg

With the Pro Bowl teams set to be announced next week, the fan balloting portion was closed on Monday, and four Dallas Cowboys are among the leaders at their respective positions in the fan voting, which counts for one-third of the total vote, along with players' and coaches' voting.

Of course, the most obvious of the bunch is running back DeMarco Murray, who was the leading vote-getter for running backs and was the fifth-most voted on player in the league.

One of Murray's main protectors, second-year center Travis Frederick was the top vote-getter among centers.

Two more Cowboys finished second at their respective position in tackle Tyron Smith and kicker Dan Bailey, who somehow managed to not win despite being the best kicker to ever walk the Earth.

The Cowboys have hurt for Pro Bowl players in recent seasons, but it appears they'll be well-represented this year.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[HIstory Favors Cowboys at Home Over Colts]]> Thu, 18 Dec 2014 12:29:21 -0600 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/459656676.jpg

As you rush around for last-minute Christmas gifts, ponder this: The last time the Cowboys won a home game you were mulling over your Halloween costume.

Yeah, it’s been that long.

The team’s 7-0 road record is as confounding as its continuing futility at home. The Cowboys are 3-4 at AT&T Stadium, last winning way back on Oct. 19 over the Giants. And this “Home Sour Home” trend isn’t new. Since moving into their $1.2 billion stadium in Arlington in 2009, the Cowboys are only a mediocre 26-22 at home.

If the Cowboys lose to the Colts Sunday in their home finale and then beat the Redskins in Washington next week, they would cap arguably the strangest season in NFL history by being the first team to go 8-0 on the road but only 3-5 at home.

In fact, of the other five teams to go 8-0 on the road none finished with fewer than six home wins and all advanced to the conference championship or Super Bowl.

The Cowboys’ feat would not only make history, it would put their playoff hopes in serious peril.

The good news: To cough up their NFC East lead they’ll have to do something that’s happened only once in the last 54 years and twice in the history of ever. Lose to the Colts at home.

It occured in 1960 when quarterback Don Heinrich was out-dueled in front of 25,000 fans in the Cotton Bowl by a guy named Johnny Unitas. And again in 1996, when the defending champs got touchdowns from Emmitt Smith and Deion Sanders but were beaten on a late rally engineered by a guy named Jim Harbaugh.

Whether in Baltimore or Indianapolis, the Colts have always been in the AFC and, therefore, haven’t made many visits to North Texas. They’re 2-5 on the road against Dallas, making them one of the Cowboys’ favorite guests.

No NFL team has been playing the Cowboys longer with less success on the road. Only nine teams have fewer road wins against the Cowboys than the Colts, and all nine began traveling to DFW in 1970 later.

A look at teams’ records in road games against the Cowboys: 

Eagles -- 22-36
Giants -- 21-33
Redskins -- 17-36
Cardinals -- 11-31
49ers -- 9-8
Rams -- 8-9
Vikings -- 7-7
Browns -- 7-9
Packers -- 6-12
Dolphins -- 5-3
Bears -- 5-7
Steelers -- 5-9
Titans -- 4-3
Saints -- 4-11
Raiders -- 3-2
Broncos -- 3-2
Lions -- 3-8
Falcons -- 3-9
Chargers -- 2-2
Jaguars -- 2-2
Colts -- 2-5
Seahawks -- 2-6
Ravens -- 1-0
Jets -- 1-2
Patriots -- 1-4
Chiefs -- 1-4
Bills -- 1-4
Panthers -- 1-4
Bengals -- 1-5
Buccaneers -- 1-10
Texans -- 0-2

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Bryant's Award a Long Time Coming]]> Thu, 18 Dec 2014 12:40:04 -0600 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/460479420.jpg

Dez Bryant has had a pretty decorated career since joining the Dallas Cowboys out of Oklahoma State.

This season, he's leading the NFL in touchdown receptions with one game remaining despite a cold period earlier in the season in which the Cowboys were relying almost exclusively on the running game.

You would've probably thought Bryant would've won NFC Offensive Player of the Week honors before Wednesday, but you'd be wrong as it was his first time winning the award.

Want to hear an even bigger surprise? It was the first time a Cowboys wide receiver had won the award in December since Michael Irvin won the award in 1991 — before the Cowboys' dynasty had even begun.

It's pretty remarkable, actually, that Irvin never won the award during the Cowboys' dominant stretch, and really just as amazing that Terrell Owens didn't pull it off in his few years in a Cowboys uniform.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Mock Draft Has Cowboys Going Cornerback]]> Thu, 18 Dec 2014 12:37:58 -0600 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/187477062.jpg

Don't get too caught up in mock drafts, especially not in December, but when guys like ESPN's Todd McShay release their first mock draft, we have to at least take a gander, right?

That's exactly what McShay did on Wednesday, and the "draft expert" had the Cowboys picking 25th in the draft and taking Wake Forest cornerback Kevin Johnson, a move that would make some decent sense at least from a position-of-need perspective.

McShay said the following about Johnson:

The Dallas defense held up better this season with the help of a dominant running game and ball-control offense, but corner is still a position of need for the Cowboys. Former first-round pick Morris Claiborne was benched this season prior to his season-ending injury, and the Cowboys could use an infusion of youth and talent at the position. Johnson doesn't have elite physical traits, but he's fast and fluid enough as an athlete to keep up with most receivers and is physical and aggressive as a press corner despite his lean frame and shorter arms. His instincts and awareness are excellent.

McShay is right about Claiborne — he's been a monumental bust in terms of where he was selected in the draft and given the fact the Cowboys traded up to get him. There's also the fact that the Cowboys are unlikely to bring Brandon Carr back unless he takes a serious pay cut, which chances are he won't do.

Again, it's really far too early to be talking about mock drafts, but the Cowboys will almost certainly be looking defense, and lots of it, so there's probably something to this.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Fantasy Land: Studs and Duds, Week 16]]> Thu, 18 Dec 2014 12:40:52 -0600 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/460474696.jpg

A two-time champion in a hardcore keeper league, including some know-it-all media "experts," Adam Boedeker gives his fantasy expertise on a weekly basis.

Stud of the Week

Tony Romo, QB, DAL — We've heard all week that the Colts' strength on defense is against the pass and they can be run on fairly easily, making it an even bigger story to see if the NFL's leading rusher takes the field with his surgically repaired broken hand. But let's be real, the Colts' defense isn't real great at anything. Romo has had a rough go at home this year, whether it's been because of injury or just bad performance, and in his home finale against the game's best young quarterback, expect a big game from Romo.

Honorable mention: Matt Ryan, ATL (at NO); Mark Ingram, NO (vs. ATL); Joique Bell, DET (at CHI); DeSean Jackson, WAS (vs. PHI)

Dud of the Week

Johnny Manziel, QB, CLE — I know what you're thinking here: The Browns rookie has nowhere to go but up after his horrific NFL starting debut last week, and to some extent, you'd be right. But don't be fooled by how bad the Panthers are, because ther defense is actually pretty solid, and has been especially good this year against quarterbacks. Manziel will not only be hearing it from Panthers defenders, but also from Carolina fans in what will be an awful road start for the former Heisman winner.

Honorable mention: Philip Rivers, SD (at SF); Giovani Bernard, CIN (vs. DEN); Josh Gordon, CLE (at CAR); Larry Fitzgerald (vs. SEA)

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>