Capitals

No. 7 Florida plays ULL, then pulls for Auburn

No. 7 Florida plays ULL, then pulls for Auburn

GAINESVILLE, Fla. (AP) No. 7 Florida has one final shot to get to Atlanta.

And the Gators have no control over the scenario.

Coach Will Muschamp's team, which hosts Louisiana-Lafayette for homecoming Saturday, needs Auburn to upset Georgia later in the day to win the Southeastern Conference's Eastern Division and clinch a spot in next month's league title game.

So Florida (8-1) plays, then watches. That could be a recipe for trouble against the Ragin' Cajuns (5-3). But the Gators insist that won't be the case, especially when they recall what happened last year against lower-division Furman.

Florida came out flat last November and fell behind 22-7 at home before rallying. The scare still resonates with players.

``We definitely can't overlook them,'' Gators linebacker Jelani Jenkins said. ``Looking at the Furman game last year, it kind of reminds me a little bit of them. But I don't think we're looking past them.''

The Gators have won 49 consecutive games against teams outside the six Bowl Championship Series conferences. The streak started after a 17-11 loss to Memphis State in 1988 and includes two wins against Louisiana-Lafayette.

The Rajin' Cajuns are 27-point underdogs in this one.

In the program's first ``paycheck game,'' Louisiana-Lafayette lost 65-24 at Oklahoma State in September.

``We'll need to play much better against the Florida Gators, I can promise you that,'' ULL coach Mark Hudspeth said. ``They're a much better football team, obviously, than Oklahoma State. It'll take a great effort by a team, great preparation. We'll need to take care of the ball.

``We didn't take care of the ball at Oklahoma State. You can't go down to Florida and turn the ball over and not play sound and hope to have a chance. They'll smother you.''

Maybe, just maybe, ULL can surprise the Gators. After all, their players are coming off a grueling, eight-game stretch against SEC opponents, have rival Florida State in two weeks and certainly know they need help from Auburn against Georgia.

``We're definitely going to watch the game when we get done, just like we did last week,'' Florida quarterback Jeff Driskel said. ``But you've got to worry about what you can do and kind of stay focused on what we can control.

``It is tough, but at the end of the day, you've got to put what's in the past in the past and worry about what you can do. And what we can do is play well this week.''

The Gators have played well most of the season. It hasn't always been pretty because of offensive struggles - Florida ranks 102nd in the nation in total yards - but defense and special teams have bailed the team out in several close games.

Florida lone loss was a costly one. Had the Gators beaten rival Georgia two weeks ago, they already would be making travel plans for Atlanta. But they turned the ball over six times and lost 17-9.

Now, the Bulldogs just to beat the Tigers to win the East.

Muschamp is trying to turn his team's attention elsewhere, reminding players that the new goal is to remain unbeaten in The Swamp. The Gators lost two games at Florida Field last year and have a shot at running the home slate for just the fourth time since 2000.

It essentially would be a consolation prize if Florida fails to get to Atlanta.

``I think we have one of the great arenas in all of sports,'' Muschamp said. ``We've got a great following. It's very important. We talk about you want to have a special season, it starts at home. It starts with winning at home.

``Having been a visitor here before, I understand how difficult it is to come in here and play well and win a game. So, I've tried to stress it since Day 1 with our players the importance of playing well at home and defending The Swamp.''

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Game 60: Capitals vs. Lightning Date, Time, How to Watch, Game Thread

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Game 60: Capitals vs. Lightning Date, Time, How to Watch, Game Thread

What: Washington Capitals vs. Tampa Bay Lightning

Where: Capital One Arena, Washington, D.C.

When: 7:00 p.m. ET

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

Live Stream: You can watch the Capitals-Lightning 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-LIGHTNING GAME?

The Capitals (34-18-7) take on the Lightning (39-17-3) Tuesday, February 20 at 7:00 p.m. ET in Washington.

WHAT CHANNEL IS THE CAPITALS-LIGHTNING GAME ON?

The Capitals-Lightning game will be broadcast on NBC Sports Washington. Coverage kicks off with Capitals FaceOff at 6:00 p.m. followed by Caps GameTime at 6:30 p.m. Stay with NBC Sports Washington for Caps Extra following the game, Caps Overtime at 10:00 p.m. and Caps in 30 at 11:00 p.m. for all your postgame coverage. (NBC Sports Washington channel Finder)

6:00 p.m. — Caps FaceOff
6:30 p.m. — Caps GameTime
7:00 p.m. — Capitals vs. Lightning
9:30 p.m. — Caps Extra
10:00 p.m. — Caps Overtime
11:00 p.m. — Caps in 30

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

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

Forwards
Alex Ovechkin - Nicklas Backstrom - Tom Wilson
Jakub Vrana - 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: Alex Chiasson, Taylor Chorney

WHERE CAN I STREAM THE CAPITALS-LIGHTNING GAME?

The Capitals-Lightning 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-LIGHTNING 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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Need to Know: Redskins' Junior Galette will be a valued free agent

Need to Know: Redskins' Junior Galette will be a valued free agent

Here is what you need to know on this Tuesday, February 20, 22 days before NFL free agency starts.

I’m out this week so I’ll be re-posting some of the best and most popular articles of the past few months. Some may have slightly dated information but the major points in the posts still stand. Thanks for reading, as always.

Galette to be a valued free agent

Originally published 12/13/17

Like the Redskins, the Broncos are no longer relevant in 2017. Both teams’ fan bases have started to look towards the coming offseason.

To give their readers what they want, the Denver Post published an article by Mike Renner of Pro Football Focus that discussed some of the top pending free agents who have done the most to increase their values in the past year. There were two Redskins named, one you would expect to see on such a list and one that might surprise some people.

Kirk Cousins is at the top of the list. “The Washington signal-caller is grading as a top-10 quarterback (82.8), and soon he’ll have the long-term contract of one,” Renner wrote. “Only this time its value will be exponentially higher than any one he would have signed back when he first became a free agent in 2016.”

But the surprising name is that of Junior Galette. After missing the last two seasons with two torn Achilles tendons, he played this year on a one-year, $800,000 deal. And while he hasn’t been on fire in the sack department with just two on the year, he has been getting pressure on the passer.

“He’s accumulated the 27th-highest pass-rushing grade of any edge defender this season, but in only 264 snaps,” wrote Renner. “At 29 years of age, it’s doubtful he ever gets back to the level of the contract that he once had on the table with New Orleans. With how he’s played this season though, some pass-rush-needy team will pay handsomely for his services.”

One team that could be considered to be pass rush needy is the Redskins. Preston Smith is the starter and supposedly one of the Redskins’ top pass rushers. But in 100 fewer pass rush snaps this year, Galette has only three fewer quarterback hits than Smith and six more hurries.

And after missing those two seasons, Galette has remained healthy. Although he was limited with a hamstring during much of the preseason, he has not missed a practice or appeared on an injury report this year.

But would the Redskins be willing to pay him “handsomely”? Perhaps a good comp would be Connor Barwin, who moved from the Eagles to the Rams this past offseason at the age of 31. He had five sacks in Philly in 2016. That got him a one-year deal worth $3.5 million.

Barwin likely will have more sacks on his ledger going into free agency so let’s say Galette could command around $3 million. Perhaps he could offer Washington a bit of a hometown discount and agree to something in the $2.75 million range. If that is the case, the Redskins would be smart to keep him around for another year.

Plenty of things could alter the equation. If Galette gets hot in the last three games and posts a few more sacks his price could rise. With Smith and Ryan Kerrigan both back next year, perhaps Galette will want to go somewhere that he might get more playing time.

The details need to be sorted out but don’t be surprised if Galette gets a lot of attention in free agency, as much as teams need pass rush, and if the Redskins have to make a very tough decision about how much he is worth.

Stay up to date on the Redskins. Rich Tandler covers the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page Facebook.com/TandlerNBCS and follow him on Twitter @TandlerNBCS.

Timeline  

Days until:

—NFL Combine (3/1) 9
—NFL Draft (4/26) 65
—2018 NFL season starts (9/9) 201