Nationals

Bengals must recognize Eagles haven't quit

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Bengals must recognize Eagles haven't quit

The Philadelphia Eagles haven't completely given up on the season. They damaged Tampa Bay's playoff chances last weekend and get an opportunity Thursday night to do the same to the Cincinnati Bengals.

It's a critical game for the Bengals (No. 16 in the AP Pro32). At 7-6, they are in the midst of the AFC wild-card race, tied with the Steelers and a game in front of the Jets for the final spot. After blowing a nine-point lead in the fourth quarter against Dallas, at home no less, they can't afford to flop in Philly, where the Bengals are a 3-point favorite.

Had the Eagles (No. 27, AP Pro32) not rallied to win at Tampa on the final play last Sunday, this wouldn't seem much of a hurdle. To the credit of coach Andy Reid and the young players he's using in this lost season, the Eagles still are trying.

``I think the big thing is, it's a great thing for the team sticking together,'' rookie quarterback Nick Foles said. ``We can build off of this.''

Perhaps. But at 4-9 and with an eight-game slide just concluded, Philadelphia isn't going anywhere this season. Cincinnati could be, and with games remaining at Pittsburgh and home for Baltimore, a loss to the lowly if re-inspired Eagles is unthinkable.

``We let a huge opportunity get away based upon what happened with a couple of other clubs,'' coach Marvin Lewis said. ``And that's the shame of it.''

Falling to Philadelphia would be even more of a shame.

BENGALS, 19-13

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No. 3 San Francisco (plus 3) at No. 1 New England

If Patriots do to Niners what they did to Texans, there might be no stopping them.

BEST BET: PATRIOTS, 24-17

No. 6 (tie) New York Giants (plus 1) at No. 5 Atlanta

Falcons look like first-place team chasing those behind them.

UPSET SPECIAL: GIANTS, 26-20

No. 10 Indianapolis (plus 8 1-2) at No. 4 Houston

Texans look like first-place team chasing those behind them, too.

TEXANS, 23-21

No. 13 Pittsburgh (plus 1) at No. 14 Dallas

Picking road underdogs is dangerous business. But Dallas isn't imposing at home.

STEELERS, 23-17

No. 6 (tie) Green Bay (minus 3) at No. 12 Chicago

Packers wrap up NFC North, keep archrivals skidding.

PACKERS, 27-17

No. 2 Denver (minus 2 1-2) at No. 8 (tie) Baltimore

Ravens need to straighten themselves out. This is not the best game to do so.

BRONCOS, 28-27

No. 8 (tie) Seattle (minus 3) vs. No. 26 Buffalo at Toronto

Win here and Seahawks can make playoff plans.

SEAHAWKS, 24-20

No. 15 Minnesota (plus 3) at No. 17 St. Louis

Jeff Fisher should be in Coach of Year conversation.

RAMS, 21-20

No. 18 Tampa Bay (plus 3 1-2) at No. 19 New Orleans

Bucs will kick themselves for loss to Eagles when season concludes.

BUCCANEERS, 30-27

No. 32 Jacksonville (plus 7) at No. 23 Miami

Jaguars have No. 1 overall draft pick in their sights.

DOLPHINS, 17-9

No. 25 Carolina (plus 3) at No. 21 San Diego

Both teams pulled off upsets a week ago. Chargers avoid one.

CHARGERS, 30-28

No. 24 Detroit (minus 6 1-2) at No. 29 Arizona

Cardinals will show up this time. They just won't win.

LIONS, 24-13

No. 30 (tie) Kansas City (plus 3) at No. 30 (tie) Oakland

AP Pro 32 rankings say it all about these teams.

CHIEFS, 19-17

No. 20 New York Jets (plus 1) at No. 28 Tennessee, Monday night

Now Jets fans are talking playoffs? Fuhgeddaboudit!

TITANS, 14-13

No. 11 Washington (OFF) at No. 22 Cleveland

With or without RG3, Redskins have come too far to stumble here.

REDSKINS, 17-13

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2012 RECORD:

Against spread: 8-7 (86-106-7). Straight up: 9-7 (127-77-1)

Best Bet: 6-6-2 against spread, 10-4 straight up.

Upset special: 10-4 against spread, 8-6 straight up.

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Online:http://pro32.ap.org/poll andhttp://twitter.com/AP-NFL

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How to entice Bryce Harper in to re-signing with the Nationals? With food, of course!

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How to entice Bryce Harper in to re-signing with the Nationals? With food, of course!

They say the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach… and if that leads us to Bryce Harper’s potential landing spot, then I present to you the yummiest reasons he should stay with the Washington Nationals.

In a video from TMZ, a paparazzi follows Harper to baggage claim and implores him for any hints toward where he is signing this offseason. The only true answer he got was that Harper likes a place called Steak 48 in Chicago. This surf-and-turf hot spot in the River North neighborhood of downtown Chicago has the audacity to serve “Maryland STYLE lump crab cakes.” Really, Bryce? Will the real thing convince you?!

On that note, let’s start off with the seafood we have to offer. This is the Mid-Atlantic, after all.

How can you work here April-September without eating local crabs in some form? I think that’s impossible. You can choose from hard shell or soft shell, but no shame in either game.

Live Chesapeake blue crabs can be bought at Captain White’s Seafood and other vendors on The Wharf off Maine Avenue. Otherwise, you can sit down and have them steamed for you at Quarterdeck, Ivy City Smokehouse, Bethesda Crab House or Captain Pell’s.

If Harper is more of a soft shell guy, all of those places also serve out-of-the-park crab cakes, but you can’t go wrong with Hank’s Oyster Bar, Old Ebbitt Grill, Chris’ Marketplace, or Clyde’s.

If the star really wants to dive in to local taste, he should eat Chesapeake Bay oysters from the largest estuary in America. My personal favorite selection is at Whaley’s (seafood tower on me, Bryce), but Rapphanock Oyster Bar, The Dabney, Pearl Dive Oyster Palace and Black’s Bar & Kitchen can’t be beat.

I find it hard to believe the team hasn't had an outing at The Salt Line, the lively seafood spot just a short throw from Nats Park where teammate Ryan Zimmerman is an investor and co-owner.

Now that we’ve satisfied Harper’s iron intake, let’s break down his protein. In order to keep the superstar here, I want to make sure he knows that D.C. cares about providing a well-rounded diet.

Barbecued meats in general around here are delectable. Sitting in juxtaposition between the north and south, D.C. restaurants bring a mash-up of styles of smoked and sauced meats. Favorites are Federalist Pig, Hill Country, Fat Pete’s and Hardy’s BBQ truck.

However, if Bryce Harper show he’s as invested in authentic Nationals fans as our season tickets are in him, he should really pick up a half-smoke, the district’s original recipe for a spicy, thicker pork and beef dog that’s aggressively seasoned and sometimes served with chili sauce.

Could you imagine Harper making his announcement to stay over a half-smoke at Ben’s Chili Bowl? I think even the panda statue would cry tears of joy.

Another hyper-local taste is mumbo sauce. While proven not originally from here, D.C. natives are enthusiastic about the special sauce. Yum’s is pretty well-known for carrying it.

Time for dessert! I think we can all agree that in the past 10 years, cupcakes have become iconic in the district with Georgetown Cupcakes, Baked & Wired and Sprinkles all having a home in Georgetown. To settle the debate, Baked & Wired is best. They are ranked #1 on Yelp if you don’t believe my own palette.

But what if it’s game night, you ask? D.C. has it’s hearty share of restaurants that are open even after extra innings. The Diner, Kramerbooks, Mandu, New Big Wong, Old Ebbitt Grill, Oyamel Cocina Mexicana, Amsterdam Falafelshop and Jumbo Slice are all here to keep you warm at night no matter what you’re craving post-victory. Need I go on?

Bryce reassured Nats fans and TMZ that he is “still a National right now.” Better eat these while you can, Bryce, or you’ll be sorry you didn't sign in one of the best food cities in the MLB.

Do you have any local food or restaurants you think will convince Bryce Harper to stay with the Washington Nationals this offseason? Send them to @NBCNationals or @rmhopmayer. Maybe we can throw together a friends-giving or holiday dinner for those that want him to stay our beloved Guest of Honor.

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Josh Norman wants to play 'early Santa,' will give away Redskins tickets

Josh Norman wants to play 'early Santa,' will give away Redskins tickets

Josh Norman caused quite a stir with his comments Sunday about the atmosphere at FedEx Field, and the Redskins cornerback made it clear he plans to do his part in making sure the stadium is packed for Sunday's game against the Texans. 

Norman told reporters Thursday he's going to be giving away "40 or 50" free tickets for the Houston game, online and perhaps even in person.

"Yes, I will be giving out free tickets," he said. "I'll be doing it on my socials as well, I think I'll probably post tonight or something about it."

"Who knows, you may see me coming out and being an early Santa somewhere in the mall or something, just handing out tickets."

And if you are one of the lucky fans who gets a ticket from "Santa Norman," he has specific instructions on how you should behave at Sunday's game:

"Whoever get(s) them, we want them loud and just obnoxious. Just really obnoxious."

Norman joins several Redskins players who have promised to give away tickets to the Texans game.

It may be November, but the Christmas spirit is alive and well at Redskins Park. 

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