Falcons' woeful run D braces for Packers' Lacy
FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. (AP) - The Falcons don't know if they'll be facing Green Bay quarterback Aaron Rodgers on Sunday.
They do know they'll have to try to stop rookie running back Eddie Lacy, and that's a major concern for the NFL's 30th-ranked run defense.
Atlanta has struggled against the run all season and showed no improvement even when snapping their five-game losing streak last week against Buffalo. C.J. Spiller had a season-high 149 yards rushing in the Bills' overtime loss. The Falcons are worried the powerful Lacy could be even more difficult to contain.
If Rodgers is held out as he continues to recover from a broken collarbone, the Falcons could follow the trend of other defenses who have loaded the box to focus on slowing Lacy's runs.
Auburn AD says Malzahn has done 'miraculous' job
AUBURN, Ala. (AP) - Auburn athletic director Jay Jacobs says the winner of the SEC championship game with No. 5 Missouri "belongs in Pasadena" playing for a national title.
Jacobs cites strength of schedule for teams playing in what he calls "the best college football league in the nation."
He notes that the third-ranked Tigers just beat then-No. 1 Alabama.
Jacobs also said in an informal session with reporters that what coach Gus Malzahn has accomplished this season "is nothing short of miraculous."
He says Malzahn's contract after the season should place him in the top half among Southeastern Conference coaches.
Jacobs said Thursday that Malzahn has earned the trust of the third-ranked Tigers' players "so he's the right guy for our program."
Bobcats Taylor hopes starting ends shooting slump
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) - Bobcats small forward Jeffery Taylor is hoping a spot in the starting lineup will help shake his recent shooting slump.
Taylor takes over Friday night against the Philadelphia 76ers after the team's regular starter Michael Kidd-Gilchrist broke his left hand in Tuesday night's loss to the Dallas Mavericks.
Taylor, the team's second-round draft pick in 2012, has scored just 15 points in his last four games on 7 of 21 shooting. He averaged 10 points per game in his first 15 games this season.
Taylor played a season-low three minutes in Charlotte's loss to the Mavericks.
Taylor says, "I've struggled a little bit. I had a stretch where I was playing well and now I haven't played so well. I just need to stay at it."
France focused on improved on-track product
LAS VEGAS (AP) - NASCAR continues to work on improving its on-track product, an endeavor chairman Brian France takes so seriously he plans to attend Monday's test at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
The test at Charlotte will be the second as NASCAR continues to seek a rules package that could enhance the competition.
Once that's complete, a focus could be turned to other areas of the product: France hinted Thursday that NASCAR could place a larger emphasis on winning and make changes to the qualifying process.
France also downplayed an overhaul to the 2015 Sprint Cup schedule, and said he didn't anticipate any "significant changes." NBC takes over the second half of the NASCAR television package in 2015.
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