Ravens

Peterson vs. Pack has been boon for Vikings RB

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Peterson vs. Pack has been boon for Vikings RB

EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. (AP) Adrian Peterson rushed for 210 yards at Green Bay the first time. He was, uh, limited to 199 yards for Minnesota in the most recent meeting.

So how much more can this man do? Will the Packers be able to finally stop him with their third try?

That's an issue for this Saturday at Lambeau Field in a playoff game full of intriguing story lines, when the Vikings and Packers will renew their rivalry in the wild-card round. Peterson carried the Vikings into the postseason with another standout performance in Sunday's 37-34 victory, even though the Packers continually sent a safety up to the line to crowd his running lanes as if he was on a blitz.

``They were a lot more physical in that game than they had been before,'' Vikings fullback Jerome Felton said. ``I think they were trying to box everything and keep it in the middle. I just remember thinking, `Man, they're coming downhill.' But I think we're just such a physical team that it wears on people. So he didn't have the 80-yard run, and he still had 200 yards rushing.''

Peterson had an 82-yard touchdown sprint on Dec. 2 during the 23-14 defeat in Green Bay, but his longest run on Sunday was 28 yards.

``I look forward to us having a better performance on defense,'' Packers coach Mike McCarthy said.

The Vikings, naturally, were anticipating more adjustments.

``I'm sure they'll come up with another wrinkle when we play them again,'' coach Leslie Frazier said.

One year ago on New Year's Eve, Peterson was lying in a hospital bed, hooked up to tubes and wires with a glazed look on his face, a carton of ice cream clutched in his hand, in the first hours after reconstructive surgery on his left knee. He sent that photo of that scene on Twitter, a stark contrast to the raucous stadium he helped ignite Sunday by spinning around, racing past and running through the Packers.

He needed a franchise-record 34 carries to get to those 199 yards, but five of those attempts went for no gain and five more lost yards. That proved again just how difficult it is to stop him, given the ferocity and determination he's running with, and the confidence with which the Vikings are blocking for him. Peterson finished 9 yards short of becoming the NFL's all-time leading single-season rusher, but even though the total resets next season he vowed to pass Eric Dickerson someday.

``God willing, I'll get it next year, or at least make it close,'' Peterson said.

Felton, picked for the Pro Bowl for his blocking prowess after signing a one-year contract, told Peterson after Sunday's game he'd break the record in 2013 if Felton is brought back.

All those individual accolades will be put in the background until next season, though. The playoffs are here.

``Once you get in, anything can happen. It's been done before. There's a precedent set for teams like this getting on a roll. Hopefully we can keep it going and become one of those teams,'' left guard Charlie Johnson said.

The Vikings haven't won an outdoor game this year, but their formula for winning is designed to work in winter: pounding Peterson into the line and relying on the defense to rack up sacks and force a turnover or two.

``When your players have an identity and they know what that identity is, they tend to think a little bit less about what some of the other implications or ramifications can be with the weather,'' Frazier said. ``They know mentally that this is what we are going to focus on no matter the condition. I think it has to be an advantage for you.''

Christian Ponder can't escape responsibility, though. Coming off a three-touchdown, no-turnover game, he'll need to complete enough third-down throws and medium-to-long-range passes to supplement Peterson's work on the ground.

``Green Bay had to play honest. They had to respect the pass game and when we're doing that, we're playing balanced football, we're a tough team to beat,'' Peterson said on Sunday.

NOTES: CB Antoine Winfield's status for Saturday's game is in question, after he aggravated his broken right hand Sunday and sat out most of the afternoon. His hand was swollen badly afterward, and Frazier said Winfield ``was in quite a bit of pain.'' ... DE Brian Robison played through a sprained right shoulder and finished the season with a career-high 8 1/2 sacks, one of which forced a fumble by Aaron Rodgers the Vikings recovered to set up a touchdown. ... Though the dates won't be set until April, the Vikings have their 2013 opponents lined up. Beyond the usual division games, they'll host Philadelphia (4-12 this year), Washington (10-6), Carolina (7-9), Cleveland (5-11) plus Pittsburgh (8-8) in London. They'll travel to Dallas (8-8), the New York Giants (9-7), Seattle (11-5), Baltimore (10-6) and Cincinnati (10-6).

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Mr. Consistency Justin Tucker misses first field goal of the season

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Mr. Consistency Justin Tucker misses first field goal of the season

Justin Tucker is the best kicker in the NFL. That much hasn’t changed.

Now that we’re on the same page, it’s time to admit something. He hasn’t looked totally himself as of late. While most of his kicks have still found their way between the uprights, many have looked closer than they should.

That trend culminated with his first miss Sunday against the Texans. Tucker’s attempt on the Ravens’ first drive of the game -- from 43 yards out -- bounced off the right upright.

The miss snapped a streak of 22 consecutive made field goals for Tucker, who is the NFL’s all-time leader in field goal percentage. He is the only kicker in NFL history to convert more than 90% of his field goal attempts.

It’s too soon to be concerned about Tucker going forward. For now, just pick your jaws up off the floor and go back to feeling confident in the Ravens’ most consistent player the next time he jogs out onto the field.

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Redskins vs. Jets Week 11 Inactives: Guice returns, Richardson out

Redskins vs. Jets Week 11 Inactives: Guice returns, Richardson out

When rookie quarterback Dwayne Haskins makes his first start at FedExField vs. the Jets, he'll be without one of his top wide receivers. Veteran Paul Richardson was ruled out Friday with a hamstring injury. Second-year wide receiver Cam Sims has been called up to the 53-man roster from the practice squad. 

Haskins will have running back Derrius Guice to lean on, however. The second-year running back was activated off injured reserve last week and is set to return against the Jets. For the first time, Redskins fans will get to see Haskins, Guice, and standout rookie wideout Terry McLaurin in action together.

Neither tight end Vernon Davis or running back Chris Thompson, two of the team's best offensive weapons, will play vs. New York. Davis will miss his sixth consecutive game, still recovering from a concussion he suffered in Week 4 vs. the Giants. Thompson has still yet to practice since suffering a toe injury against Miami in Week 6 and will miss his fourth consecutive game.

Safety Montae Nicholson, who has not played since Week 6, is active. Earlier this week, he was cooperating with police following a 21-year-old woman's death.

Special teams captain and safety DeShazor Everett is inactive. He has not played since the Redskins Week 5 loss to New England.

Here are the Week 11 inactives.

Redskins vs. Jets Week 11 Inactives

Redskins Inactives:

TE Vernon Davis
RB Chris Thompson
QB Colt McCoy
DL Tim Settle
WR Paul Richardson
OL Ross Pierschbacher
S Deshazor Everett

Jets Inactives:

S Matthias Farley
LB C.J. Mosely
LB Paul Worrilow
CB Darryl Roberts
OL Leo Koloamatangi
CB Nate Hairston
DL Jordan Willis

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