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DE Hardy says 3-9 Panthers better than Falcons

DE Hardy says 3-9 Panthers better than Falcons

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) The Panthers' 3-9 record isn't keeping them from talking some trash leading up to their rematch with the division rival Atlanta Falcons on Sunday.

Carolina defensive end Greg Hardy said Wednesday the struggling Panthers are a ``better team'' than Atlanta.

Yes, better than the Falcons, who have clinched the NFC South division title and have the NFC's best record at 11-1. The Panthers, meanwhile, are coming off a loss to Kansas City, which had won only one game this season before Sunday.

When asked if he meant the Panthers were the better team on Sept. 30 when they lost 30-28 at Atlanta or better overall, Hardy replied, ``Both.''

Hardy said this Sunday's rematch is about ``payback'' and ``punishment.''

``We owe them something and it is coming,'' Hardy said. ``I'm trying to mess with their whole playoff experience. I want them to go home sick in the stomach and mad about life, a couple of depression issues, all types of things. It's going to be a long day from my point of view. I'm coming.''

Hardy, now a full-time starter in his third season with the Panthers, said he's not a big fan of the team's Interstate-85 rivals, calling the Falcons ``a little cocky.''

``I feel like they're not respectful,'' Hardy said.

Hardy is among several Carolina defensive players who felt disrespected by Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan after television cameras caught him cursing as he shouted get off our field toward the Panthers sidelines in the final seconds of Atlanta's Week 4 win at the Georgia Dome.

Ryan's emotions were running high after the Falcons completed an improbable comeback against the Panthers. The Falcons were backed up on their own 1-yard with less than a minute to play and no timeouts in the last meeting.

But Ryan heaved a pass downfield for Roddy White to get the Falcons to midfield and a few plays later Matt Bryant booted a 40-yard field goal to give Atlanta the win.

An emotional Ryan left the field slapping high-fives and shouting as he made his way to the locker room.

``He said some harsh words man, so it's going to be a fight out there,'' cornerback Captain Munnerlyn said. ``He totally disrespected us. They won the game. They came all of the way back to beat us. But to say what he said, I don't think there was cause for it.''

Panthers defensive end Charles Johnson, who had 3 1/2 of Carolina's seven sacks against the Falcons in Week 4 said the Panthers saw the video tape of Ryan on the team bus after the game.

He said it's bothered him ever since.

Johnson said the Panthers have had this game marked on their calendar.

``Now he has to come into our house,'' Johnson said.

The Panthers, though, haven't been very good in their own house; they've lost five straight at home.

The Falcons had closed their media availability for the day prior to Hardy's comments and were unavailable for respond.

At one point Wednesday Hardy admitted the Falcons were a good team, but then returned to his rant.

``They have receivers that can catch, but they can be stopped. They have linemen that can block, but they can be beaten. They have a quarterback who is going to be on the ground because that's where he belongs,'' Hardy said. ``That's going to happen.''

Hardy also advised Ryan to get rid of the ball early and often on Sunday.

``He likes to hold the ball and that's something he should do when you're coming to play the Carolina Panthers because it's going to have repercussions,'' said Hardy, who has a career-high eight sacks on one forced fumble this season.

Panthers coach Ron Rivera coach said he hasn't seen the tape of Ryan's outburst from after the game and isn't sure if he'll be showing it to his players this week as motivation.

``Truthfully, if you want to do something about it (then) do it on the field,'' Rivera said. ``That's the way I look at it. Let's not talk about it, let's let our actions speak for us on the field.''

Quarterback Cam Newton is also anxious to gain a measure of respect on the Falcons as well, but for a completely different reason.

His late-game third-down run against his hometown team would have sealed Carolina's win had he not fumbled and the ball bounced back backward behind the first down marker.

Although Carolina recovered, the Panthers had to punt and the Falcons went on to score the go-ahead field goal.

``To back (Hardy) and defend him, there are a lot of things that haven't been true about our season so far,'' Newton said. ``We are a way better team than what our record is.''

NASCAR at New Hampshire: everything you need to know about racing this weekend

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NASCAR at New Hampshire: everything you need to know about racing this weekend

Still not over that finish from Kentucky Speedway? Good, us either. NASCAR is right back after it this weekend in the Granite State and New Hampshire Motor Speedway for some short-track summer action.

Here's what we're watching for on Sunday afternoon in the Foxwoods Resort 301 (3 p.m. EST on NBCSN).

NEW HAMPSHIRE STATISTICS
New Hampshire Motor Speedway: 1.058-mile oval in Loudon, N.H.
Race information: 318.46 miles, 301 laps
Stage lengths: 75 laps, 75 laps, 151 laps
Defending winner: Kevin Harvick
Most wins: Jeff Burton (4)

WEEKEND SCHEDULE

NEW HAMPSHIRE MOTOR SPEEDWAY

Friday, July 19

12:05 – 12:55 p.m. – Cup practice (NBCSN)

1:05 – 1:55 p.m. – Xfinity practice (NBCSN)

3:35 – 4:25 p.m. – Final Xfinity practice (NBCSN)

4:35 p.m. – Cup qualifying (single vehicle/two laps all positions) (NBCSN, Performance Racing Network)

Saturday, July 20

10:05 – 10:55 a.m. – Cup practice (CNBC)

11:15 a.m. – Xfinity qualifying (single vehicle/two laps all positions) (NBCSN)

12:35 – 1:25 p.m. – Final Cup practice (NBCSN)

4 p.m. – Roxor 200 Xfinity race (stages 45/90/200 laps = 211.6 miles) (NBCSN, PRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio)

Sunday, July 21

3 p.m. – Foxwoods Resort Casino 301 (stages 75/150/301 laps = 318.46 miles) (NBCSN, PRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio)

Is It Time For SHR To Panic?

Past the halfway point in the 2019 season, Joe Gibbs Racing, Team Penske, Hendrick Motorsports, Chip Ganassi Racing and Spire Motorsports (!) have visited Victory Lane.

Notably absent is Stewart-Haas Racing.

2014 Monster Energy Cup Series champion Kevin Harvick had five wins at this point last season, Clint Bowyer had two, and the duo of Aric Almirola and Kurt Busch had been running consistently inside the top five and top 10. This season, they're a step behind.

Whether it's the adjustment to the new Ford Mustang or the new aerodynamic rules package for this season, SHR is behind, there's no sugarcoating it.

Although Harvick is safely in the playoffs, Almirola is in but does not have a large buffer, Bowyer is on the bubble and Daniel Suarez is on the outside looking in.

Harvick did win this race last season, and another checkered flag for the No. 4 camp this weekend would go a long way confidence wise for the organization.

More Sticky Stuff

PJ1 is back, and it seems here to stay.

The sticky adhesive that was put down last weekend in Kentucky, as well as multiple times last season, has been applied at NHMS and will be applied next weekend at Pocono Raceway as well. The adhesive is in hopes to create more racing lines and in turn, a better on track product.

With temparatures this weekend reaching upwards of triple digits, the PJ1 will become more active earlier on. The hotter it is, the more grip the substance has.

Lobstah

New England NASCAR trips and somewhat cringeworthy New England NASCAR accents go hand in hand. Like it or not, that's part of it, right?

The winner of each NHMS race gets a big ole lobster to celebrate with. But don't give one to Denny Hamlin. We remember what happened to him a couple years back, right?

2019 NASCAR STANDINGS

Next week, NASCAR heads to the Pocono Raceway for the second time this season for the Gander Outdoors 400 on Sunday, July 28 at 3:30 p.m. EST on NBCSN.

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Nationals Roundup: Late Victor Robles magic not enough as Braves walk-off Nats

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USA TODAY Sports Images

Nationals Roundup: Late Victor Robles magic not enough as Braves walk-off Nats

As you would expect a first-place NL East team to do, the Atlanta Braves bounced back to even the series with Washington Friday night inside SunTrust Park. Josh Donaldson erased Victor Robles' game-tying, two-run home run with his walk-off single in the ninth. Atlanta improved to 59-40 and increased its lead over the Nationals to 6.5 games with a 4-3 final. 

Consider these notes as Washington grinds through a pivotal series in Atlanta: 

Player Notes:

Washington's first-year lefty didn't have his best stuff going Friday night in Atlanta. Patrick Corbin tossed just five innings allowing eight hits, two runs, two walks on 100 pitches. He struck out five Braves on his 30th birthday. 

The Nationals' third baseman has brought new meaning to the word 'consistency' all year long in his first season as an All-Star. Two games into this four-game series in Atlanta, Anthony Rendon has five hits, a walk, and 2 RBI.  

Victor Robles brought the fireworks in the ninth at SunTrust Park. The 22-year-old delivered a game-tying, two-run home run off Luke Jackson. The long-ball traveled a whopping 446 feet. 

The Fernando Rodney experience was alive and well. Davey Martinez made the questionable decision to bring his 42-year-old back out in the ninth for a second consecutive inning. It backfired. Just 14 of his 32 pitches were thrown for strikes. 

Injuries: 

SP Max Scherzer: Back, Expected to be out until at least Jul 25

RP Jonny Venters: Back, Expected to be out until at least Jul 26

SP Jeremy Hellickson: Shoulder, Expected to be out until at least Jul 20

RP Justin Miller: Shoulder, Expected to be out until at least Jul 20

RP Koda Glover: Elbow, Expected to be out until at least Aug 7

RP Austen Williams: Shoulder, Expected to be out until at least Jul 26

Coming Up:

Saturday 7/20: Nationals at Braves, 7:20 p.m., SunTrust Park 

Sunday 7/21: Nationals at Braves, 7:20 p.m., SunTrust Park 

Monday 7/22: Nationals vs. Rockies, 7:05 p.m., Nationals Park 

MORE NATIONALS NEWS: