Packers face challenge in stopping Peterson


Packers face challenge in stopping Peterson

GREEN BAY, Wis. (AP) Green Bay Packers cornerback Tramon Williams respects and admires Adrian Peterson.

However, he doesn't want to see the Minnesota Vikings running back break the NFL's single-season rushing record against his team on Sunday.

``If anybody deserves to get the record, it's definitely (Peterson), no doubt about it. But unfortunately, they're playing us,'' Williams said. ``We want to put our best foot forward. It's going to be a tough task; we know that already. But if history is on our side, A.P. had his good game against us already. Hopefully, we can come back and get our good game against him.

``If it happens, we've shown already that he can run for 200 and still win. But we want to play our best ball, we want to control all we can control, and the way the guys are playing, we think that we can put a better performance than we did the first game.''

Peterson rushed for 210 yards on 21 carries in the Packers' first game against the Vikings, on Dec. 2 at Lambeau Field. Green Bay won the game 23-14.

Now, Peterson enters the regular-season finale with 1,898 yards, needing 208 yards to break Eric Dickerson's single-season rushing record of 2,105 yards, set in 1984.

The Vikings (9-6) have a simple playoff scenario against the Packers: Win, and they're in.

If the Vikings lose, they'll need a loss by the Chicago Bears to the Detroit Lions, a loss by the New York Giants to the Philadelphia Eagles and a loss by the Dallas Cowboys to the Washington Redskins to get into the playoffs at 9-7.

Meanwhile, the Packers (11-4) can clinch the No. 2 seed in the NFC and earn a first-round playoff bye with a victory over the Vikings.

Vikings coach Leslie Frazier made it clear Wednesday that getting Peterson the record is not as important as winning the game - and thereby clinching the sixth and final NFC playoff berth.

``We're going to have to call a regular game and if the record comes in the midst of us getting a win, that would be great,'' Frazier said. ``Adrian will be the first to tell you that the most important thing for our team is to win. If we don't get the record and we win, he's going to be a happy dude, no matter what. He wants to win the game, and that's how we're approaching it. We've got to find a way to win the game.''

Peterson rushed for just 86 yards against the Houston Texans last Sunday in the Vikings' 23-6 victory, as the Texans put eight defenders in the box on most plays in an effort to keep Peterson in check.

Peterson's final carry came with 6:46 left in the game, and a strained abdominal muscle kept him from practicing Wednesday.

``I don't think anyone really shuts him down. He's amazing,'' Packers inside linebacker A.J. Hawk said. ``But it's going to be awesome. What a great challenge coming down to the last game. They have to win to get in (to the playoffs); we're looking to get better position in the playoffs. That's a lot riding on the 16th game of the season, so that's exciting. That'll be fun to be a part of that one.''

Meanwhile, Packers wide receiver Greg Jennings created a bit of a stir last week when he said that he wanted to see Peterson get the record.

Asked if he wanted to revise his remarks about Peterson and the record, Jennings said no.

``It's one of those situations where he's playing against us in the last game of the season, so if he were to get it, it would have to be against us,'' Jennings said.

``That's the thing. You have to learn to appreciate what you have out there. I mean, who knows if that will ever happen? Just like with (Lions wide receiver) Calvin (Johnson) breaking Jerry

Rice's record. I (wanted) him to do it. That's just the way it is. Records are meant to be broken, whether it's against you or someone else.''

But Jennings apparently is alone in his position.

``I hope he doesn't break it against us,'' wide receiver James Jones said. ``Great season he's had. To be even close to the 2,000-yard mark is unbelievable. But hopefully he doesn't break it against us because we've got to stop him and win the ballgame.''

Added outside linebacker Dezman Moses: ``We've got a lot of pride. We're men, too. We don't want anybody to (set) a record. We understand what's at stake, and we definitely want to be the team to stop him. That's a big task, but something we're up for.''

NOTES: Three Packers were chosen for the NFC Pro Bowl roster: Quarterback Aaron Rodgers, who could start for the NFC; outside linebacker Clay Matthews; and veteran center Jeff Saturday. Saturday was benched last week in favor of backup Evan Dietrich-Smith. ... Kick returner Randall Cobb and right guard Josh Sitton were selected first alternates. ... Wide receiver Jordy Nelson (hamstring) returned to practice and expects to play Sunday. ... Kicker Mason Crosby was sent home with the flu. . Sitton did not practice because of a concussion, but coach Mike McCarthy was hopeful he'd be cleared on Thursday.


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Wizards display lack of urgency in loss to Nuggets and Scott Brooks is frustrated

Wizards display lack of urgency in loss to Nuggets and Scott Brooks is frustrated

Following their seventh loss in 11 games and another lackluster performance in key areas, Wizards head coach Scott Brooks reverted back to a critique that characterized many defeats months ago. He called into question the effort of his team, more specifically their urgency. How they could overlook the stakes at this point of the season and with so much on the line had escaped him.

Brooks wasn't pleased following Washington's 108-100 loss to the Denver Nuggets on Friday night. He didn't like their three-point defense, their inability to force turnovers and their lack of zip on offense. But overall, it was the apparent lack of realization that time is running out in the regular season and off-nights cannot be afforded.

"We have to play with more spirit [and] we have to take some pride in our home court," Brooks said. "We’re building our habits going into the playoffs and these are moments where we need to take advantage because it’s playoff implications in every game."


Pride is something Brooks has referenced after the Wizards' worst defeats since he took over. This one didn't qualify, as they only lost by eight points and had opportunities late to write a different ending. But they were playing a team fighting for their own playoff position in the opposite conference and for the most part did not match their intensity.

The Nuggets, to put it plainly, are among the worst defensive teams in basketball. They were missing their leading scorer, Gary Harris. And they tightened their rotation to just eight players.

Yet the Wizards only managed 100 points, six below their season average, and committed 17 turnovers. Aside from their 33-point third quarter, the Wizards' offense was effectively stalled. 

"We can’t have guys that are not going to participate with hard cuts and hard setups and good screens. We need everybody. It’s not one person, it’s all," Brooks said.


The Wizards only forced 10 turnovers on the Nuggets and only three in the first half. That held back their offense in the sense they had few opportunities for fastbreak buckets.

"That’s where we get most of our offense from anyways, getting stops, getting out in transition," forward Otto Porter said.

The Wizards have lost two straight games. Meanwhile, the Cavaliers and Pacers both won on Friday night.

The Wizards are sixth place in the East and just 1 1/2 games out of fourth, but there is a huge difference in those spots. Sixth could mean meeting the Cavs in the first round and they have won three straight since Kevin Love returned from injury.


The Cavaliers could quickly become the most dangerous team in the Eastern Conference. Their record is deceiving due to Love's injury and they still boast LeBron James, the best player on the planet. No one can control a playoff series quite like he can.

An argument could be made the Wizards would be better off moving down than up, as the seventh spot would match them up with the injury-riddled Boston Celtics. The Wizards are just 1 1/2 games ahead of the seventh-seed Miami Heat.

The Wizards, though, would prefer to move up and they still have a chance to get into fourth, which would mean home court advantage.

John Wall will return at some point, likely soon. In the short-term, Brooks would like to some urgency and for his team to get back to the trademark ball movement that allowed them to go 10-3 in their first 13 games when Wall went down.

"We can get it back, but it’s not going to come back. We have to go get it. It’s time to do it; it’s time," Brooks said.

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Game 75 Capitals at Canadiens Date, Time, How to Watch, Game Thread

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Game 75 Capitals at Canadiens Date, Time, How to Watch, Game Thread

What: Washington Capitals vs. Montreal Canadiens

Where: Bell Centre, Montreal, Quebec, Canada

When: 7:00 p.m. ET

How to Watch: Capitals-Canadiens will be broadcast on NBC Sports Washington.

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


The Capitals (43-24-7) take on the Canadiens (27-36-12) Saturday, March 24 at 7:00 p.m. ET in Montreal.


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

6:00 p.m. — Caps FaceOff
6:30 p.m. — Caps GameTime
7:00 p.m. — Capitals at Canadiens
9:30 p.m. — Caps Extra
10:00 p.m. — Caps Overtime


You can watch the Capitals-Canadiens game on NBC Sports' live stream page.


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.