Capitals

Late-season surge has Cowboys in control of fate

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Late-season surge has Cowboys in control of fate

IRVING, Texas (AP) Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones can't help but think about the New York Giants going from 7-7 to a Super Bowl title last season.

It probably wouldn't hurt to remind him that the Green Bay Packers had a defense that overcame injuries and won a championship a year earlier - at his stadium, no less.

``You can legitimately look at how the Giants played last year, what they did at the end of the year and how they took it all the way,'' Jones said after Dallas beat the Steelers in front of thousands of Terrible Towel-waving fans at Cowboys Stadium on Sunday. ``And that's not unrealistic to think that that can happen to you.''

Maybe Jones was a little giddy after the Cowboys beat Pittsburgh 27-24 in overtime for their third straight win.

Dallas is tied for first in the NFC East after winning three straight games and five of six, and for the first time in weeks doesn't need help to reach the playoffs.

The Cowboys (8-6) are in if they beat New Orleans on Sunday at home and win at Washington in two weeks.

The game against the Redskins could end up looking a lot like last season's finale, when the Giants beat the Cowboys in New Jersey with a playoff berth on the line.

The Green Bay connection is even more striking. The Cowboys have lost about as many defenders as the Packers did when they beat the Steelers in the Super Bowl after the 2010 season.

Four Dallas starters are on injured reserve, and a fifth - defensive tackle Jay Ratliff - won't play again in the regular season after sports hernia surgery. Nickel cornerback Orlando Scandrick (left hand and wrist) is out for the season as well, and rookie starter Morris Claiborne missed the Pittsburgh game with a concussion. Claiborne said Monday he thought he would play against the Saints (6-8).

Ratliff's backup, Josh Brent, won't return this season following his arrest on an intoxication manslaughter charge in the one-car accident that killed teammate and close friend Jerry Brown.

Yet somehow, the Cowboys keep winning, with plenty of help from the defense. Brandon Carr set up a touchdown with an interception in a 20-19 win at Cincinnati the day after the crash that killed Brown.

Dallas attended a private memorial service for Brown last Tuesday, then Carr won the Pittsburgh game by intercepting Ben Roethlisberger on the second play of overtime and returning it to the Steelers 1.

Dan Bailey kicked a winning 21-yard field goal a week after his 40-yarder as time expired beat the Bengals.

``You never know how you're going to handle situations when you're dealt with adversity like we had last week,'' said tight end Jason Witten, who caught a touchdown pass from Tony Romo for the first time this season Sunday against the Steelers.

``Everyone handled it professionally. Yeah, we were emotional. We stayed together and stayed focused.''

It would have been easy for the Dallas defense to give up after Thanksgiving, when linebacker Bruce Carter sustained a season-ending elbow injury in the most demoralizing game of the season.

The Cowboys wilted in the return of Heisman Trophy winner Robert Griffin III to Texas. The former Baylor star dazzled in a 28-point second quarter that led the Redskins to a 38-31 win.

The loss of Carter meant the top two inside linebackers were gone for the season - including defensive leader Sean Lee - and the roster shuffle was on. Brady Poppinga joined Ernie Sims as veterans brought in off the street to help Dan Connor, who figured to be a backup when he signed as a free agent.

Second-year player Alex Albright, Dallas' third-leading tackler against Pittsburgh after Sims went out with a concussion, and rookie Kyle Wilber were much higher on the depth chart than planned.

At least the Cowboys knew all the names of replacement linebackers on game day. When safety Charlie Peprah - another off-the-street pickup - injured a foot in practice after he'd already dealt with a concussion, the Cowboys brought in Sterling Moore so late on a Friday they barely had a chance to talk to him before putting him on the active roster two days later against Philadelphia.

And then there was Michael Coe, a former New York Giants cornerback who recovered a fumble against Dallas in October before he was released and signed by the Cowboys last week. He was No. 36 before Sunday's game. He was No. 20 during it.

``We're battling and peaking,'' Romo said. ``I said earlier we need name tags. A couple of the guys earlier, I said, `Great job No. 20?' I know his name is Coe now, but there a bunch of guys who just got here that are playing and getting a bunch of minutes.''

At least Romo knows Coe's name now. Defensive end Jason Hatcher was calling him ``a guy from New York'' after beating the Steelers. Who's the cornerback from New York?

``I don't know,'' Hatcher said. ``You see what I'm saying?''

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Follow Schuyler Dixon on Twitter athttps://twitter.com/lschuylerd

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Game 58: Capitals at Blackhawks Date, Time, How to Watch, Game Thread

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USA TODAY Sports

Game 58: Capitals at Blackhawks Date, Time, How to Watch, Game Thread

What: Washington Capitals vs. Chicago Blackhawks

Where: United Center, Chicago, Ill.

When: 8:30 p.m. ET

How to Watch: Capitals-Blackhawks will be broadcast on NBC Sports Washington (Channel Finder)

Live Stream: You can watch the Capitals-Blackhawks game on NBC Sports Washington's live stream page.

You can also stream the game online with no cable TV subscription on fuboTV (try for free!).

WHEN IS THE CAPITALS-BLACKHAWKS GAME?

The Capitals (33-17-7) take on the Blackhawks (24-26-8) Saturday, February 17 at 8:30 p.m. ET in Chicago.

WHAT CHANNEL IS THE CAPITALS-BLACKHAWKS GAME ON?

The Capitals-Blackhawks game will be broadcast on NBC Sports Washington. Coverage kicks off with Capitals FaceOff at 7:30 p.m. followed by Caps GameTime at 8:00 p.m. Stay with NBC Sports Washington for Caps Extra following the game, Caps Overtime at 11:30 p.m. and Caps in 30 at 12:30 a.m. for all your postgame coverage. (NBC Sports Washington channel Finder)

7:30 p.m. — Caps FaceOff
8:00 p.m. — Caps GameTime
8:30 p.m. — Capitals at Blackhawks
11:00 p.m. — Caps Extra
11:30 p.m. — Caps Overtime
12:30 a.m. — Caps in 30

WHAT ARE THE PROJECTED LINES FOR THE CAPITALS-BLACKHAWKS GAME?

Here are the projected lines for the Caps-Blackhawks game:

Forwards
Alex Ovechkin - Nicklas Backstrom - Tom Wilson
Alex Chiasson - Evgeny Kuznetsov - T.J. Oshie
Brett Connolly - Lars Eller - Andre Burakovsky
Chandler Stephenson - Jay Beagle - Devante Smith-Pelly

Defensemen
Christian Djoos - John Carlson
Dmitry Orlov - Matt Niskanen
Brooks Orpik - Madison Bowey

Braden Holtby starts with Philipp Grubauer as backup

Scratches: Jakub Vrana, Taylor Chorney

WHERE CAN I STREAM THE CAPITALS-BLACKHAWKS GAME?

The Capitals-Blackhawks game, as well as Caps GameTime and Caps Extra, is available to stream live here through NBC Sports Washington's live stream page and is available to authenticated NBC Sports Washington subscribers on desktops, tablets, mobile devices and connected TVs anywhere in the United States.

The game is also available to stream, along with all the pregame and postgame shows, on fuboTV (try for free).

CAPITALS-BLACKHAWKS OPEN THREAD

Use the comment section below to discuss the game action with other Capitals fans. 

For all the latest Caps coverage, follow Capitals Insider Tarik El-Bashir, Capitals correspondent JJ Regan and the NBC Sports Capitals account on Twitter. Be sure check out our Capitals page and NBC Sports Washington's Facebook page.

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2018 NBA All-Star Saturday night: TV and live stream info, things to watch for dunk contest, three-point contest

2018 NBA All-Star Saturday night: TV and live stream info, things to watch for dunk contest, three-point contest

The 2018 NBA All-Star Saturday Night is here with the three-point contest, dunk contest and skills competition set for Los Angeles.

Here is all you need to know: TV and live stream info, tip-off time, plus three things to watch:

2018 NBA ALL-STAR SATURDAY NIGHT

Where: Staples Center
Tip-off: 8 p.m.
TV: TNT
Online with no cable TV: fuboTV (try for free)

PODCAST: ALL-STAR WEEKEND PREVIEW, WIZARDS AT THE BREAK 

Skills competition

Participants: Lou Williams, Clippers; Jamal Murray, Nuggets; Al Horford, Celtics; Spencer Dinwiddie, Nets; Joel Embiid, Sixers; Buddy Hield, Kings; Lauri Markkanen, Bulls; Andre Drummond, Pistons

What to know: This year's crop has a fascinating mix of guards and big men and don't sleep on the seven-footers. Embiid in particular has a unique skillset for his size. Still, it's tough to beat the guards. Watch out for Dinwiddie, who is the best passer of the bunch.

RELATED: BETTING ODDS FOR DUNK CONTEST, THREE-POINT CONTEST

Three-point contest

Participants: Klay Thompson, Warriors; Eric Gordon, Rockets; Devin Booker, Suns; Paul George, Thunder; Wayne Ellington, Heat; Bradley Beal, Wizards; Kyle Lowry, Raptors; Tobias Harris, Clippers

What to know: Thompson and Gordon enter the contest as past champions, as Thompson won it in 2016 and Gordon took it home last year. Thompson has the best three-point percentage among the group and is the favorite, but watch out for Beal, a past runner-up, and George who has the second best percentage. Also, Booker is one of the game's best young players and has a very smooth stroke from three.

RELATED: WIZARDS/BULLETS HISTORY ON ALL-STAR SATURDAY NIGHT

Dunk contest

Participants: Dennis Smith Jr.; Mavericks; Donovan Mitchell, Jazz; Larry Nance Jr., Cavaliers; Victor Oladipo, Pacers

What to know: This is all about the rookies, Smith and Mitchell, who most are predicting to win. Oladipo has been in the contest before, but didn't win. He's also the only All-Star of the bunch. Nance is the only guy who isn't a guard and his father won it back in 1984. It will be interesting to see if he does some sort of nod to his old man, now 34 years later.

RELATED: LATEST NBA POWER RANKINGS