<![CDATA[NBC 5 Dallas-Fort Worth - Dallas-Fort Worth Sports News]]>Copyright 2016http://www.nbcdfw.com/news/sports http://media.nbcnewyork.com/designimages/NBC+5-KXAS+Logo+for+Google+News.png NBC 5 Dallas-Fort Worth http://www.nbcdfw.comen-usThu, 08 Dec 2016 20:16:41 -0600Thu, 08 Dec 2016 20:16:41 -0600NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA[Cowboys Fan Makes Bold, Permanent Prediction]]> Thu, 08 Dec 2016 18:14:16 -0600 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/jordan-garnett-cowboys-tattoo.jpg

There are Cowboy fans and then there's 24-year-old Jordan Garnett. He's been cheering for America's Team since he was in first grade.

"I started watching the Cowboys in 1999, " Garnett said. "I'm pretty sure that was Irvin's last year, Aikman was done the next year and then we lost Emmitt to the Cardinals in '03.  The only great season I got to see was Emmitt beating the (NFL all-time rushing) record."
    
Still, Jordan kept rooting for the 'Boys and buying their jerseys.

Even though he lives in Florida, his recent trip to the tattoo parlor has gone viral.

"I'm calling it now, " he added, as he rolled up his sleeve and showed off his new ink. "You heard it here first, Dallas. Don't hate me. I'm not jinxing you. I'm just that confident."

His new tattoo, which happens to be his only tattoo, is a picture of the Dallas Cowboys iconic star with the words: Super Bowl LI Champions.

Last week the Cowboys became the first team in the league to clinch a playoff berth, but we're still two months away from Super Bowl LI.

"Everybody's like, 'You can't do that,'" Jordan explained.  "'You don't know yet, you don't know yet.' Come on, we know! We're going this year."

Not everyone's smiling about his bold, permanent prediction.

"I have middle schoolers threatening to kill me and beat me up, " he said.

Jordan just laughs it off.

"The best part about it is a Giants fan paid for the tattoo, " Jordan joked.  "We're gonna be OK. We're gonna take it. I promise I'm not the next Steve Bartman of sports. If it doesn't come true I'm the biggest idiot, but if it does come true, I look like a genius."



Photo Credit: @jordangarnett
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<![CDATA['Rico Claus,' Dallas Cowboys Gather Gifts for Angel Tree]]> Thu, 08 Dec 2016 16:08:15 -0600 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/cowboys-salvation-army-gifts_1200x675_828377155857.jpg Rico 'Claus' Gathers and the rest of the Dallas Cowboys load up gifts donated by players to the Salvation Army Angel Tree program.]]> <![CDATA[Claiborne Hopes to Return Before the Regular Season Ends]]> Thu, 08 Dec 2016 15:39:18 -0600 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/vlcsnap-2016-12-08-15h08m19s78.png

A familiar face rejoined the team on Thursday, although he didn't do much on the field. Morris Claiborne warmed up with his teammates at practice before doing drills on the side.

The cornerback is progressing from a late October groin injury.

At the time of the injury, surgery would have ended his season. So, he opted for rest and rehab, and that seems to be working.

"Right now, we're just giving it time to continue to heal. I haven't got a MRI, but just off my feeling, it has to be healing right because I'm able to move around and do certain things," said Claiborne.

The injury was so difficult to diagnose that Claiborne never had a time table to return. He might now, because he's confident that he'll be back.

"The plan is to be back for the regular season. We have to get to where we can practice first and then once we start practicing we can go from there. But like I said, it's a day-by-day thing. I can't tell you if it's the next week or the week after that," said Claiborne.

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<![CDATA[Cowboys Fan's Tattoo Portends Super Bowl LI Win]]> Thu, 08 Dec 2016 10:35:02 -0600 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/jordan-garnett-cowboys-tattoo.jpg

If you're superstitious, click away now.

A die-hard Dallas Cowboys fan in Florida is going all in on his favorite team, proclaiming a Super Bowl title is not only within reach — it's guaranteed.

Jordan Garnett, a 24-year-old fan of the Silver and Blue living in Palm Beach, recently began sporting a tattoo of a blue star printed with the text, "Super Bowl LI Champions."

Garnett tweeted "Y'all keep hating when we win it! I'll remember that you all weren't BELIEVERS! #CowboysNation."

Yes, it's real. And not everyone is happy about it, apparently.

"Stop messaging me it's fake," Garnett said. "I had no idea getting a tattoo would result in death threats. Relax. We will win."

The Cowboys currently have the best record in the NFL at 11-1 and have already clinched a playoff berth.



Photo Credit: @jordangarnett
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<![CDATA[Exclusive Interview With Raiders Quarterback Derek Carr ]]> Thu, 08 Dec 2016 08:46:43 -0600 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/214*120/Screen+Shot+2016-12-08+at+9.45.53+AM.png Thursday night the 10-2 Oakland Raiders take on the 9-3 Kansas City Chiefs in a battle for first place in the AFC West on your NBC station.]]> <![CDATA[Barry Switzer Jokes He'll Be Trump's 'Secretary of Offense']]> Thu, 08 Dec 2016 08:44:16 -0600 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-628351872.jpg

If President-elect Donald Trump is interested in running the wishbone, he found his man.

Former Oklahoma Sooners and Dallas Cowboys head coach Barry Switzer was spotted outside Trump Tower in New York Wednesday and he joked with reporters about his intentions.

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"Donald plans to run with the ball and I know a lot about rushing the football," he told reporters.

Switzer also knows a lot about success, winning three national championships in 16 years with Oklahoma and one Super Bowl in four seasons with the Cowboys.

Switzer's daughter, Kathy Miller, hosted a campaign fundraiser for Trump at her Norman home, according to The Dallas Morning News.



Photo Credit: Getty Images
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<![CDATA[Dallas Stars Visit Texas Scottish Rite Hospital for Children]]> Wed, 07 Dec 2016 21:22:30 -0600 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/STARS_VISIT_SCOTTISH_RITE_FOR_WEB_1200x675_827594307916.jpg

The Dallas Stars players made their annual holiday visit to Texas Scottish Rite Hospital for Children in Dallas Wednesday morning. 

The team, including captain Jamie Benn and Tyler Seguin, took time to sign autographs, play games and take pictures with all of the children.

It was a chance to put smiles on the faces of all the children as Christmas gets closer.

The players said they love getting everyone into the Christmas spirit and the visit helps to put things in perspective.

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<![CDATA[Mavs Center Bogut Sidelined with Knee Injury]]> Wed, 07 Dec 2016 21:18:52 -0600 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/andrew+bogut1.jpg

Dallas Mavericks center Andrew Bogut is expected to miss time with a bone bruise on his right knee.

The injury happened in the first quarter of the Mavericks' 109-101 loss to the Charlotte Hornets Monday night. 

The Mavericks say Bogut could be out 10 days to three weeks depending on how his rehab goes. Bogut told reporters that he is doing OK and that it could have been much worse. 

The 32-year-old is scheduled for rehab, and from there the Mavericks will ease him back on the court for some light shooting. 

Bogut is averaging just over 3 points and 10 rebounds a game.



Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[5 to Know: TCU vs. SMU in Men's Basketball]]> Wed, 07 Dec 2016 18:18:26 -0600 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/MO_SMUvsTCU_1200x675_826385987838.jpg NBC 5 Sports' Mercedes Owens has 5 things you need to know before TCU and SMU face off in men's basketball Wednesday at Moody Coliseum.]]> <![CDATA[Football Gods Clear a Path for a Cowboys Super Bowl]]> Wed, 07 Dec 2016 18:09:12 -0600 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-619361868.jpg

Even with the best record in the NFL (11-1), the Dallas Cowboys are not the favorites to win the Super Bowl in Las Vegas. The betting favorites continue to be the New England Patriots, but barely.

New England: 16/5

Dallas: 7/2

That's the same New England Patriots team that won't have Rob Gronkowski for the rest of the season.

That injury brings me to a series of points for the Dallas Cowboys. They're relatively healthy, minus Morris Claiborne. It's possible the corner back could come back the playoffs, but that's a iffy.

More importantly, every other Super Bowl contender has serious injury problems to key players. Gronk is out for the Patriots, Giants star DE Jason Pierre-Paul could be out for the rest of the season and All-Pro Seattle safety Earl Thomas broke his leg and won't play again until fall 2017.

Those teams have lost extremely significant pieces needed to potentially beat the Cowboys in the playoffs. Dallas has been lucky to this point with injuries.

But the greatest thing the Cowboys have working for them, aside from the injuries across the NFL, is the state of Texas. If the Cowboys earn home field advantage, which they could do as early as this Sunday, they won't leave Texas for a single playoff game.

They would have a wild card weekend bye, then play at AT&T Stadium for the divisional round, then play at AT&T Stadium for the NFC Championship and then Houston's NRG Stadium for Super Bowl Ll if they're lucky enough to advance.

If that happens, somebody better check on Jerry Jones. He might explode with happiness.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Sunday Night Football Preview: Giants vs. Cowboys]]> Wed, 07 Dec 2016 17:34:52 -0600 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/180*120/GettyImages-602993368.jpg

The Dallas Cowboys and breakout rookie Dak Prescott can atone for their only loss of the season — and win their division — when they play the New York Giants on Sunday Night Football.

What is becoming a dream season for the Cowboys (11-1) started with a mildly disappointing 20-19 home loss to New York. In that game Prescott was forced into starting because Tony Romo fractured a vertebra in a preseason game. Since the opener, all Prescott has done is win.

The Giants (8-4) overcame an early three-game losing streak by winning six in a row before a confidence-sapping loss at Pittsburgh last week. Now they have to defend their home field to have any chance at winning the NFC East.

If New York does so, it’ll almost certainly be due to a big game from Eli Manning and Odell Beckham Jr. Manning is having a pretty good season himself, and Beckham has more than 1,000 yards receiving along with 8 TD catches as his primary deep target.

Dallas cornerbacks Orlando Scandrick and Anthony Brown can make their impact by limiting him, though Victor Cruz is likely to be more involved after a silent game Sunday against Pittsburgh in which he wasn’t thrown to once.

Against a tough Giants rushing defense, the Cowboys’ other rookie star, Zeke Elliott, could be vulnerable. And that could put the game in the hands of Prescott, who has improved since a so-so performance in the opener, but fumbled twice last week on Thursday night.

If Prescott can bounce back to his usual performance level this season — he’s had a QB rating over 100 in 10 games so far — the Cowboys could be the first team to clinch a division title this season.

Players to Watch

Dallas QB Dak Prescott. It’s the biggest game of the rookie’s career, and a division title and playoff spot is right in front of him.

Dallas C Travis Frederick. The Cowboys entire offensive line did an excellent job run blocking last week. If they can win one-on-one matchups against the Giants’ fearsome front, Prescott could have an easier day than expected.

Giants DE Olivier Vernon. Has seven sacks in five games. No one has blocked him since October.

Giants RB Rashad Jennings. The Giants’ run game has been barely there most of this season, but Jennings was productive against Dallas in the opener, and could be a wild card Sunday night.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Ian Desmond Signs With Rockies: Report]]> Wed, 07 Dec 2016 11:11:51 -0600 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-608607576.jpg

Ian Desmond, who played center field for the Texas Rangers in 2016, has signed with the Colorado Rockies, according to a report.

MLB's Ken Rosenthal was the first to report Desmond's free agent five-year deal reportedly worth nearly $70 million Wednesday morning.

Because Desmond rejected the Rangers' qualifying offer, they'll receive a pick in the 2017 MLB Draft's first compensatory round. The Rockies will also give up their first-round pick — No. 11 overall.

After spending his first seven seasons playing shortstop for the Washington Nationals, the 31-year-old Desmond signed a one-year deal to be the Rangers' center fielder.

Desmond appeared in 156 games for the Rangers in 2016, hitting .285/.335/.446 with 22 home runs and 21 stolen bases. He was also named to his second All-Star team.



Photo Credit: Getty Images
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<![CDATA[Rangers 'In Talks' With Free Agent Encarnacion: Report]]> Thu, 08 Dec 2016 10:12:46 -0600 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-613646678.jpg

The Texas Rangers are rumored to be one of two teams negotiating with free agent third baseman Edwin Encarnación.

ESPN's Marly Rivera tweeted that the Rangers and Cleveland Indians are negotiating with Encarnación at MLB's Winter Meetings.

USA Today's Bob Nightengale essentially refuted Rivera's information, citing payroll limitations.

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Encarnación would be the ideal fit for the Rangers, who need a right-handed hitter that can play first base and designated hitter.

The 33-year-old Encarnación hit .263/.357/.529 with 42 home runs and an AL-leading 127 RBI for the Toronto Blue Jays in 2016. He's topped the 30-home run mark in each of the last five seasons.

Encarnación was drafted by the Rangers in the 9th round of the 2000 MLB Draft. The Rangers traded him to the Cincinnati Reds for pitcher Rob Bell.



Photo Credit: Getty Images
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<![CDATA[Cowboys LB Lee Helps Spread Holiday Cheer]]> Tue, 06 Dec 2016 21:39:26 -0600 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/Cowboys_Lee_Charity_1200x675_826566211781.jpg Area youth got an early Christmas present as Cowboys linebacker Sean Lee took them shopping at JCPenney.]]> <![CDATA[Dallas Stars Recall Forward Jason Dickinson from Texas Stars]]> Tue, 06 Dec 2016 16:24:07 -0600 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-519675532.jpg

Dallas Stars General Manager Jim Nill announced Tuesday that the club has recalled forward Jason Dickinson from the Texas Stars, Dallas' top development affiliate in the American Hockey League.

Dickinson, 21, has registered 10 points (4-6=10) in 13 games with Texas this season, while he ranks sixth on the team with a +6 plus/minus rating.

The forward began the 2016-17 season on the injured non-roster list with a hip injury.

The 6-foot-2, 205-pound native of Georgetown, Ont. was selected by Dallas in the first round (29th overall) of the 2013 NHL Draft.

Dickinson has appeared in one career NHL contest, making his debut and scoring his first career NHL goal (1-0=1) on April 7, 2016 against Colorado.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Mission Accomplished: Mean Green Will Play In Bowl Game]]> Tue, 06 Dec 2016 12:27:50 -0600 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/183*120/Mean+Green+Celebration.jpg

This season was already considered a success for North Texas. They finished with a 5-7 record, which at first doesn’t seem that impressive on paper. But remember, the Mean Green went 1-11 the year before and started from scratch going into this season with a new coaching staff, a new athletic director and some “swag.”

And guess what, that 5-7 record was good enough for the Mean Green to go bowling during the holiday season.

Usually the benchmark for a college football team to be eligible for a bowl game is six wins. But thanks to a reform effort in Division 1, North Texas was eligible due to APR, which stands for Academic Progress Rate. APR involves academic progress through a team-based metric that accounts for the eligibility and retention of each student-athlete for each academic term. North Texas was 10th in APR and second among teams that did not qualify for a bowl game.

So, the Heart of Dallas Bowl sent out the invite, which North Texas accepted. And now they will play at the Cotton Bowl in Dallas on December 27.

 “We are extremely excited to stay at home and be at the Heart of Dallas,” said first-year head coach Seth Littrell. “I know it will be an unbelievable matchup. And we will be really excited about it.”

This will be the first trip to a bowl game for North Texas under Littrell and athletic director Wren Baker.

“I think it's much bigger for the program and the momentum that I felt like we've been building all along the way,” said Baker. “When you win games, when you build excitement, when you have momentum, when you can see progress, it makes it easier to sell tickets and raise money and to continue to build this program, which we're all dedicated to doing.”

Their opponent will be a familiar one in Army, who will play in its first bowl game in six years. Back in October, North Texas beat the Black Knights 35-18 on a rainy day in West Point, New York.  Defensive back Eric Jenkins had two interceptions and a fumble recovery as the Mean Green defense was able to slow down Army’s triple-option offense. North Texas running back Jeffrey Wilson had 160 yards rushing, 153 of those in the second half.

Wilson, a big part of the Mean Green offense, was slowed down towards the end of the season due to a knee injury. The goal is for Wilson to be ready for the bowl game.

“The thing with Jeffery, he's extremely tough,” said Littrell. “He wants to be out there. He wants to be playing. He's been the reason offensively, if you look at the entire year, he's been our most explosive weapon. So really the biggest thing we had to do is make sure he's 100 percent.”

This will be the ninth bowl game in Mean Green history and their first since they beat UNLV in the 2014 Heart of Dallas Bowl. North Texas is expecting a good crowd to show up at the Cotton Bowl and support the Mean Green, much like they did that year.

“We have 38-thousand students, and we have over a quarter million alums in the metro area,” said Baker. “We need to fill up the Cotton Bowl. This is a special time. Every one of these is special.”

Mean Green Quick Hits:

* Kickoff for the Heart of Dallas Bowl is 11 a.m. at the Cotton Bowl in Dallas.

* Rookie head coach Seth Littrell becomes only the second head coach to take North Texas to a bowl game in his first year. Odus Mitchell guided North Texas to it’s first-ever bowl game in 1946.

* The Mean Green is scheduled to host Army at Apogee Stadium in Denton in 2017.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Jerry Jones Expects Wilcox, Durant to Return Sunday]]> Tue, 06 Dec 2016 10:00:11 -0600 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-456300366.jpg

The Dallas Cowboys might return key defenders for Sunday night's game against the Giants in New Jersey.

Cowboys owner and general manager Jerry Jones said on 105.3 The Fan Tuesday morning that he's optimistic linebacker Justin Durant and safety J.J. Wilcox will be available Sunday.

Jones also said cornerback Morris Claiborne was doubtful for Sunday's game.

The return of Wilcox and Durant could provide a boost to a defense ranked 26th in the NFL in takeaways with 11 and 25th in yards per play at 5.8.

Wilcox (thigh bruise) and Durant (strained hamstring) had been out since the team's game against Washington on Thanksgiving.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Cowboys Give Back Through Charity]]> Tue, 06 Dec 2016 06:35:46 -0600 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/cowboys-hospital.jpg

The Dallas Cowboys took some time off from preparing for the New York Giants by giving back to the community.

Fresh from clinching a playoff berth, Cowboys players visited local hospitals and spent part of the morning with children and their families.

“It's always unbelievable to come to the hospital and be huge heroes, you know to these kids and also those kids [become] heroes to us,” Dez Bryant said.

"The players are very fortunate to do what they do and also have the opportunity to use that platform to give back to various charities whether it is their own or something through our team effort,” Cowboys spokeswoman Emily Cruz Robbins added.

Many of the players have their own personal charities and the organization gives back as a whole.

“That's within our hearts," Bryant said. "It's just something that we feel that we should do and you know we enjoy it and when the opportunity presents itself, we take advantage of it."

The Cowboys work with the Salvation Army every year to raise money for those in need.

“We have helped raise, in 20 years, over $2.1 billion in the red kettles that we kick off at Thanksgiving,” Cruz Robbins said. “That's just one part of what we do."



Photo Credit: NBC 5 Sports]]>
<![CDATA[Cowboys Clinch Playoff Berth, Get Flexed To SNF]]> Mon, 05 Dec 2016 21:30:24 -0600 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-627084782.jpg

I predicted the Cowboys would win the NFC East this year.   They almost have the division locked up.

Every team in the NFC East lost on Dec. 3. The Washington loss in Arizona put the Cowboys in the playoffs. Dallas is the first NFL team to lock up a playoff berth this season.

The Cowboys can avenge their only loss of the season when they face the New York Giants in the Meadowlands on NBC 5 Sunday. A Cowboys win will earn them the 2016 NFC East title.

They will have ten days of prep to avenge that 20-19 defeat they suffered in the opener in Arlington.

The Cowboys final four games of the season look like this:

• Dec. 11 at N.Y. Giants on NBC 5’s Sunday Night Football
• Dec. 18 Tampa Bay (flexed to Sunday Night Football)
• Dec. 26 Detroit (Monday Night Football)
• Jan. 1 at Philadelphia

The Bucs won today in San Diego and NBC decided to flex that Bucs at Cowboys game from its Noon time slot to Sunday Night Football for Dec. 18.   

Right now, the Bucs moved into that final NFC Wild Card spot with that victory over the Chargers.

The Cowboys end up with back to back Sunday Night Football appearances in December. This move makes for five consecutive national television games for Jerry Jones' club ,starting with the Thanksgiving Day win over Washington. 



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Dak Spotted Shopping for Salvation Army/NBC 5 Angels]]> Wed, 07 Dec 2016 18:50:44 -0600 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/196*120/dak-shopping.jpg

The Dallas Cowboys quarterback just keeps getting better and better.

Dak Prescott was spotted in a Frisco Target on Sunday night. But this was no ordinary shopping trip.

When employee Stuart Newton approached him to see if he could help, Prescott said he was shopping for gifts for several angels he adopted from The Salvation Army/NBC 5 Angel Tree program.

How great is he?

First, he's led the Cowboys to win after win after win - so far, with an 11-1 season.

Then, he was caught on camera picking up trash on the sidelines during a game.

And now, he's buying Christmas gifts to donate to children and seniors in need across North Texas.

Newton's wife, Brooke, posted a photo of him with Prescott during his shopping trip on Facebook.

We can't get enough of Dak!



Photo Credit: Stuart Nelson via Facebook
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<![CDATA[Cowboys Make Annual Children's Hospital Christmas Visit]]> Mon, 05 Dec 2016 16:50:25 -0600 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/160*120/cowboys+scottish+rite+visit.jpg Dallas Cowboys players spent Monday morning at four DFW children's hospitals, a tradition that began 28 years ago.]]> <![CDATA[Blue Star Breakdown - Dak Prescott]]> Mon, 05 Dec 2016 13:37:47 -0600 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-627084970.jpg Newy Scruggs and Pat Doney breakdown how Cowboys rookie QB Dak Prescott is having such a successful season.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Blue Star Breakdown - Ezekiel Elliott]]> Mon, 05 Dec 2016 18:09:56 -0600 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-627095794.jpg Newy Scruggs and Pat Doney breakdown how Cowboys rookie Ezekiel Elliott is having such a successful season.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Cowboys Visit Children in North Texas Hospitals]]> Mon, 05 Dec 2016 12:54:09 -0600 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/cowboys-hospital.jpg Members of the Dallas Cowboys visit children in hospitals across North Texas Monday.

Photo Credit: NBC 5 Sports]]>
<![CDATA[A.L. West Watch: Busy Offseason for Astros]]> Mon, 05 Dec 2016 11:46:36 -0600 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/Astros+After+Win.jpg

While watching the division rival Houston Astros take care of business during the current offseason, the Rangers might be taking a step back and saying to themselves “uh-oh.”

Both teams were expected to fight for the A.L. West title last season, but the Astros struggled out of the gate and never came close to challenging the Rangers, who ended the year as back-to-back division champs. Needless to say, the brass in Houston decided to do something about it.

And they are making all the right moves before the MLB winter meetings even begins.

The latest is the signing of free agent outfielder/designated hitter Carlos Beltran to a one-year, $16 million deal. Beltran hit .280 with seven home runs and 29 RBI’s after being acquired by the Rangers in a trade deadline move last season. Just as important, the 36-year old added a veteran presence in the Rangers clubhouse which the Astros are now banking on. He’s also familiar with Houston, having played for the Astros during their 2004 playoff run while they were a National League team.

But it’s not just the Beltran deal that has caught everyone’s attention. The Astros were hard at work prior to that, adding catcher Brian McCann, along with outfielders Josh Reddick and Nori Aoki to plug into a lineup that already includes Jose Altuve, Carlos Correa, George Springer and Alex Bregman. Adding McCann and Reddick could be a major upgrade on offense as both have swings that fit Minute Maid Park from the left side of the plate. Aoki was a solid leadoff hitter during the Kansas City Royals’ run to the World Series in 2014.

However, the Astros may not be done. Rumors are Houston could be among those in pursuit of Chicago White Sox pitcher Chris Sale, despite the White Sox claiming they have no intention of trading Sale to an A.L. team. Tampa Bay Rays pitcher Chris Archer, whom the Rangers were also interested in during last season’s trade deadline, has been mentioned to be on the Astros radar if talks over Sale fall through.

If Dallas Keuchel returns to Cy Young form, Lance McCullers bounces back from an injury-plagued 2016 season, Collin McHugh brings in another solid season and you add a Sale or Archer to the mix, the argument whether the Astros have the best pitching staff in baseball is valid. Anything they get from another free agent acquisition, Charlie Morton, would be a bonus.

There’s no doubt the Astros are gearing up for a run at the division title and more. All the “wheeling and dealing” this offseason could make the Rangers feel like they’ve been put on notice when it comes to division supremacy, especially since the Rangers have holes to plug on their roster, particularly in centerfield, first base and with the pitching staff.

It all looks good on paper, but you still have to play the games. With that being said, the road to the Fall Classic, at least on the American League side, may have to go through Texas. The only question is whether it’s Arlington or Houston.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Thursday Night Football Preview: Chiefs vs. Raiders]]> Thu, 08 Dec 2016 10:36:17 -0600 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-617476462-chiefs-raiders-oct-2016.jpg

Derek Carr has emerged as one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL this year. Now he’s got a chance to lead his team to a major win.

First place and an inside track to the AFC West title are on the line when Oakland (10-2) visits Kansas City (9-3) on Thursday Night Football, at 8 p.m. on NBC.

Oakland will be in the hunt for its seventh straight win after roaring back late to blow by Buffalo, while the Chiefs are coming off a more dramatic win.

Do-everything star Eric Berry returned an interception of a 2-point conversion attempt back for the go-ahead points in the fourth quarter of a 29-28 win at Atlanta.

Kansas City’s Alex Smith mostly enjoyed a pressure-free day against the Falcons, something he’s not likely to repeat against Oakland’s Khalil Mack.

In the teams’ first meeting this year, the Raiders were held scoreless after halftime and Carr had a forgettable day in a season to remember.

Through 12 games, he’s thrown for 24 touchdowns and over 3,000 yards. But quarterbacks, fairly or not, aren’t judged just by stats.

On Thursday night, Carr can add to his resume by leading his team to the brink of its first division title since 2002 — in his third season.

Four to Watch

Oakland WR Michael Crabtree: Amari Cooper is the leader in yards receiving, but Crabtree has more touchdowns, and Carr threw to him 11 times in Sunday’s win.

Oakland DE Khalil Mack: Could be the best pass rusher in the NFL right now, but teams can usually ignore the Raiders’ other rushers.

Kansas City DB Eric Berry: Returned two interceptions for points on Sunday. One was for a touchdown, and the other came on a 2-point conversion attempt in the fourth quarter of a one-point win.

Kansas City TE Travis Kelce: Coming off a huge game in which he had eight catches for more 140 yards.



Photo Credit: Brian Bahr, Getty Images (File)]]>
<![CDATA[NBC Decides to Flex Bucs at Cowboys Dec. 18]]> Mon, 05 Dec 2016 13:29:41 -0600 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/cowboys-bucs.jpg

The Cowboys will play on NBC 5's Sunday Night Football as they host Tampa Bay on December 18.

The Cowboys are 11-1. Tampa Bay is 7-5 and currently holds the final playoff spot in the NFC.

The Bucs have won four straight games.  Both clubs played last year in Tampa and the Bucs won 10-6 as then rookie Jameis Winston ran in the game winning touchdown with 54 seconds to play.

This mean Dallas will play back to back games on NBC 5's Sunday Night Football.

They are at the Meadowlands December 11 to face the New York Giants and then come home to AT&T Stadium to host the Bucs.  If you include the December 1st game Dallas won in Minnesota, that will be three consecutive prime time NBC games for the Cowboys this month. 



Photo Credit: NBC 5 News
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<![CDATA[Breaking Down The CFB Playoff Selections]]> Sun, 04 Dec 2016 19:07:13 -0600 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/180*120/493147062.jpg NBC 5's David Watkins has more from Grapevine on Sunday's College Football Playoff selections.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Inside High School Sports - Segment 4]]> Sun, 04 Dec 2016 19:01:17 -0600 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/Inside_HS_Sports__SEG_4_1200x675_824175683965.jpg A look at this week's playoff edition of the Plays of the Week.]]>