INDIANA BOYS BASKETBALL SCORES

Adams Central 77 Woodlan 70
Alexandria 49 Eastbrook 44
Andrean 73 Kankakee Valley 56
Argos 60 South Bend Career 48
Barr-Reeve 53 Eastern Greene 34
Bellmont 62 New Haven 47
Benton Central 80 West Lafayette 69
Blackford 58 Elwood 44
Bloomington South 60 Terre Haute North 56 OT
Bluffton 43 Southern Wells 22
Boone Grove 51 Tri-Township 38
Brebeuf Jesuit 86 University 57
Brown County 59 Cloverdale 54
Brownsburg 59 Avon 42
Brownstown Central 84 North Harrison 27
Cannelton 54 Seven Oaks 44
Carroll (Flora) 68 Rossville 62
Center Grove 77 Whiteland 54
Central Noble 40 West Noble 37
Chicago Washington (Ill.) 70 Whiting 60
Christian Academy 91 South Central (Elizabeth) 46
Churubusco 52 Prairie Heights 49
Clarksville 64 Trinity Lutheran 48
Columbus East 46 Columbus North 45
Connersville 56 South Dearborn 52
Crawfordsville 46 North Montgomery 31
Crown Point 69 Munster 51
Daleville 63 Blue River 46
Danville 59 Lebanon 52
Decatur Central 65 Mooresville 39
Delta 47 Jay County 26
Demotte Christian 63 Hammond Science & Tech 42
Dugger Union 31 Riverton Parke 29
East Noble 59 Columbia City 56
Eastern (Greentown) 64 Sheridan 57
Eastern Hancock 60 Knightstown 30
Evansville Bosse 59 Washington 42
Evansville Christian 65 Boonville 36
Evansville Reitz 67 Castle 65
Fishers 64 Hamilton Southeastern 57
Fort Wayne Blackhawk 65 Fort Wayne Canterbury 61
Fort Wayne Concordia 46 Fort Wayne Dwenger 44
Fort Wayne Luers 60 Homestead 47
Fort Wayne North 56 Fort Wayne Snider 44
Fort Wayne South 71 Fort Wayne Northrop 53
Fort Wayne Wayne 73 Carroll (Fort Wayne) 69
Franklin 78 Beech Grove 28
Frankton 53 Oak Hill 37
Gibson Southern 64 South Spencer 51
Greenfield-Central 54 Yorktown 46
Greenwood 56 Speedway 51
Guerin Catholic 63 Heritage Christian 40
Hamilton Heights 57 Western 52 OT
Hammond Central 74 Gary 21st Century 72
Harrison (West Lafayette) 57 McCutcheon 41
Hauser 66 Edinburgh 33
Henryville 54 Lanesville 49
Heritage Hills 66 Evansville Memorial 65
Heritage 45 South Adams 29
Hobart 43 Lowell 35
Horizon Christian 72 Indianapolis Herron 43
Illiana Christian 75 River Forest 45
Indian Creek 62 Edgewood 58
Indiana Deaf 80 Ohio Deaf 54
Indianapolis Chatard 57 Covenant Christian 52
Indianapolis Tindley 77 Indiana Math & Science 33
Indianapolis Washington 59 Indianapolis Tech 57
Jeffersonville 75 Silver Creek 48
Jimtown 66 New Prairie 35
Knox 57 Caston 42
Kokomo 80 Marion 49
Kouts 68 Westville 53
LaPorte 54 Griffith 49
LaVille 54 Pioneer 38
Lafayette Central Catholic 58 Covington 47
Lafayette Jeff 62 Logansport 22
Lake Central 53 Mishawaka Marian 45
Lakeland 72 Eastside 38
Lapel 57 Monroe Central 32
Lawrence Central 69 Pike 55
Lawrenceburg 51 Rushville 34
Leo 69 Huntington North 65
Liberty Christian 44 Anderson Prep 32
Manchester 70 Southwood 55
Marquette Catholic 54 Oregon-Davis 23
Mishawaka 43 Concord 34
Mississinewa 53 Madison-Grant 48
Mitchell 67 North Knox 65
Morgan Twp. 45 Hebron 42
Mount Carmel (Ill.) 65 Evansville Day 62
Mount Vernon (Fortville) 72 Shelbyville 35
New Albany 51 Orleans 48
New Palestine 61 New Castle 60
North Central (Indianapolis) 53 Carmel 50
North Daviess 56 Vincennes Rivet 25
North Posey 48 Evansville Mater Dei 45
NorthWood 58 Plymouth 46
Northeastern 45 Shenandoah 33
Northview 52 North Putnam 44
Northwestern 71 Maconaquah 68
Norwell 57 DeKalb 41
Paoli 68 Austin 61
Park Tudor 68 Culver Academy 44
Parke Heritage 88 Shakamak 43
Penn 58 Bremen 42
Peru 55 Tippecanoe Valley 51 OT
Plainfield 66 Perry Meridian 44
Princeton 68 Vincennes Lincoln 34
Providence 60 Floyd Central 56
Rensselaer Central 71 South Newton 22
Richmond 95 Phalen Academy 43
Rising Sun 68 New Washington 62
Rochester 74 North Miami 51
Scottsburg 62 Corydon Central 24
Seeger 69 Faith Christian 57
Shawe Memorial 58 Crothersville 40
Shoals 43 Medora 31
South Bend Adams 67 South Bend Clay 41
South Bend Riley 79 South Bend St. Joseph 72
South Bend Washington 55 John Glenn 48
South Decatur 71 Morristown 47
South Knox 76 Washington Catholic 23
South Vermillion 65 Terre Haute South 62
Southport 67 Bloomington North 57
Southridge 47 Jasper 45
Southwestern (Hanover) 65 Jac-Cen-Del 51
Springs Valley 62 Perry Central 56
Sullivan 76 Greencastle 56
Taylor 55 Delphi 47
Tecumseh 42 Tell City 31
Tri-Central 82 Clinton Central 47
Tri-County 60 North White 32
Tri 69 Cowan 59
Trinity Greenlawn 47 Clinton Christian 30
Triton Central 55 Cascade 39
Triton 41 Winamac 34
Twin Lakes 43 Frankfort 33
Union County 32 Winchester 31
Victory College Prep 66 Eminence 46
Wabash 53 Northfield 40
Waldron 63 Milan 60
Wapahani 62 Wes-Del 22
Warren Central 65 Ben Davis 60
Washington Twp. 60 West Central 47
Wawasee 56 Warsaw 51
West Vigo 52 South Putnam 48
Western Boone 58 Southmont 45
Westview 45 Angola 42
White River Valley 61 Lighthouse Christian 25
Whitko 54 Lewis Cass 27
Zionsville 62 Franklin Central 51


Washington County Invitational
Eastern (Pekin) 58 Salem 27
Borden 48 West Washington 38


Wayne City (Ill.) Tournament
Linton-Stockton 65 Lovejoy (Ill.) 45


Westville (Ill.) Tournament
Villa Grove (Ill.) 59 Attica 26
Oblong-Palestine-Hutsonville (Ill.) 47 Attica 34

SATURDAY BOYS SCHEDULE

ALL TIMES EASTERN
Adams Central at Parkway (Ohio) 7:30 pm
Alexandria at Wapahani 7:30 pm
Batesville at East Central 7:30 pm
Bismarck-Henning (Ill.) at Bethesda Christian 7:30 pm
Bloomfield at White River Valley 7:30 pm
Bloomington South at Floyd Central 7:30 pm
Bluffton at Garrett 7:30 pm
Bowman Academy at Fort Wayne North 4:00 pm
Brown County at West Vigo 5:30 pm
Brownsburg at Ben Davis 7:30 pm
Butler County (Ky.) vs. Evansville North 6:00 pm
Central Hardin (Ky.) at Evansville Bosse 7:30 pm
Churubusco at Woodlan 1:30 pm
Clay City at South Vermillion 7:30 pm
Cloverdale at Riverton Parke 7:30 pm
Columbia City at Fort Wayne Wayne 7:30 pm
Columbus East at Scottsburg 7:30 pm
Covenant Christian at Tipton 4:00 pm
Covington at North Montgomery 7:30 pm
Danville (Ill.) at Castle 3:00 pm
Dugger Union at Tecumseh 8:00 pm
East Noble vs. Concord 1:00 pm
Eastern (Greentown) at Cowan 7:30 pm
Eastern Hancock at Blackford 7:30 pm
Edinburgh at Trinity Lutheran 7:30 pm
Elkhart at Valparaiso 7:30 pm
Elkhart Christian at Lakewood Park 2:30 pm
Evansville Mater Dei at North Daviess 7:30 pm
Forest Park at Northeast Dubois 7:30 pm
Fort Wayne Concordia vs. South Bend St. Joseph 4:00 pm
Fort Wayne Northrop at Lawrence North 5:30 pm
Fort Wayne Snider vs. Leo 2:30 pm
Fountain Central at Western Boone 7:30 pm
Franklin at Bloomington North 7:30 pm
Fremont at Angola 7:30 pm
GEO Next Generation at Connersville Christian 1:30 pm
Greenfield-Central vs. Lawrenceburg 7:30 pm
Greensburg at Franklin County 7:30 pm
Hammond Morton at Lake Central 8:00 pm
Hammond Science & Tech at Granger Christian 7:00 pm
Hauser at Switzerland County 7:30 pm
Henderson County (Ky.) vs. Pike Central 12:00 pm
Heritage Christian at Indianapolis Scecina 7:30 pm
Huntington North at Marion 7:30 pm
Illiana Christian at Chicago Christian (Ill.) 8:00 pm
Indian Creek at North Putnam 7:30 pm
Indiana Deaf vs. TBA 1:00 pm
Indianapolis Cathedral at Indianapolis Tech 7:30 pm
Indianapolis Metropolitan at Western Hills (Ohio) 6:30 pm
Indianapolis Ritter at Indianapolis Lutheran 7:30 pm
Indianapolis Roncalli at Beech Grove 7:30 pm
Jasper at Corydon Central 7:30 pm
Jeffersonville vs. Evansville Harrison 4:30 pm
Jennings County at Seymour 7:30 pm
Jimtown at Fairfield 7:30 pm
John Glenn at LaVille 7:30 pm
Knox at LaPorte 7:30 pm
Kokomo at Carmel 7:30 pm
Lake Station at Hammond Noll 8:00 pm
Lakeland Christian at Bethany Christian 7:30 pm
Lapel at Mississinewa 7:30 pm
Lewis Cass at Peru 7:45 pm
Lighthouse Christian at Christian Academy Madison 5:30 pm
Loogootee at Springs Valley 7:30 pm
Maconaquah at Logansport 8:00 pm
Madison at Austin 7:30 pm
Manchester vs. Fort Wayne Blackhawk 7:30 pm
Mishawaka Marian at Gary West 6:30 pm
Mitchell at Brownstown Central 7:30 pm
Monroe Central at Hagerstown 7:30 pm
Monrovia at Martinsville 7:30 pm
Mooresville at University 7:30 pm
Mount Vernon (Posey) at Gibson Southern 8:00 pm
Muncie Central at Delta 7:30 pm
New Palestine at Franklin Central 7:30 pm
New Washington at Crothersville 7:30 pm
North Central (Farmersburg) at Marshall (Ill.) 8:00 pm
North Judson at Westville 8:00 pm
North Posey at Crawford County 8:00 pm
North Vermillion at Shakamak 6:30 pm
North White at Twin Lakes 7:30 pm
Northridge at Goshen 7:45 pm
Oldenburg Academy at Rising Sun 7:30 pm
Oregon-Davis at Tri-Township 7:30 pm
Pendleton Heights at Liberty Christian 7:30 pm
Pike at Anderson 7:30 pm
Pioneer at Argos 7:30 pm
Pleasant View Christian at Cannelton 7:30 pm
Princeton vs. Evansville Christian 1:30 pm
Providence Cristo Rey at Christel House 7:30 pm
Raleigh Egypt (Tenn.) vs. Evansville Memorial 9:00 pm
Randolph Southern at Cambridge City Lincoln 7:30 pm
Richmond at Connersville 7:30 pm
Rossville at Lafayette Central Catholic 7:30 pm
Rushville at Centerville 7:30 pm
Seeger at Crawfordsville 7:30 pm
Shelbyville at Yorktown 7:30 pm
Shenandoah at Greenwood Christian 7:30 pm
Sheridan at Frankfort 7:30 pm
Silver Creek at Bedford North Lawrence 7:30 pm
South Bend Adams at Michigan City 4:00 pm
South Bend Washington vs. Warsaw 6:00 pm
South Central (Union Mills) at Demotte Christian 8:00 pm
South Decatur at South Ripley 7:30 pm
South Newton at Frontier 7:30 pm
Southern Wells at Smith Academy 2:00 pm
Southridge at Perry Central 8:00 pm
Southwestern (Hanover) at Clarksville 7:30 pm
Sullivan at Edgewood 7:30 pm
Terre Haute South at South Knox 1:30 pm
Tippecanoe Valley at Wheeler 2:30 pm
Tri-Central at Madison-Grant 7:30 pm
Tri-County at Traders Point Christian 7:30 pm
Trinity Greenlawn at Culver 12:00 pm
Triton Central at North Decatur 7:30 pm
Tri-West at Benton Central 7:30 pm
Union City at Tri 7:45 pm
Vincennes Lincoln at Evansville Central 8:00 pm
Waldron at Southwestern (Shelbyville) 7:30 pm
Washington at Tell City 7:30 pm
Wes-Del at Daleville 7:30 pm
West Lafayette at Hamilton Heights 7:30 pm
Zionsville at Harrison (West Lafayette) 7:30 pm


Washington County Invitational
Salem vs. West Washington 6:00 pm 3rd
Eastern (Pekin) at Borden 7:30 pm 1st


Wayne City (Ill.) Tournament
Linton-Stockton vs. North Clay (Ill.) 5:00 pm 5th


Westville (Ill.) Tournament
Attica vs. TBA TBA Place

INDIANA GIRLS BASKETBALL SCORES

Anderson 83 Muncie Central 35
Avon 62 Brownsburg 58
Blackford 67 Elwood 4
Bloomington South 57 Greenwood 37
Brown County 62 Cloverdale 42
Carroll (Flora) 57 Rossville 24
Carroll (Fort Wayne) 74 Fort Wayne Wayne 62
Caston 40 Knox 22
Centerville 39 Hagerstown 22
Central Noble 49 West Noble 25
Clinton Central 61 Tri-Central 26
Connersville 46 South Dearborn 36
Danville 62 Lebanon 26
Delphi 58 Taylor 18
Eastbrook 39 Alexandria 34
Eastern Hancock 70 Knightstown 16
Fairfield 51 Elkhart Christian 18
Fort Wayne Concordia 41 Fort Wayne Dwenger 40
Fort Wayne Northrop 57 Fort Wayne South 23
Fort Wayne Snider 66 Fort Wayne North 29
Fountain Central 24 Attica 10
Franklin County 37 Oldenburg Academy 32
Greensburg 62 Batesville 40
Homestead 66 Fort Wayne Luers 50
Indian Creek 78 Edgewood 35
Indianapolis Chatard 51 Covenant Christian 26
Indianapolis Lutheran 54 Southwestern (Shelbyville) 28
Indianapolis Riverside 23 KIPP Indy Legacy 19
Indianapolis Roncalli 52 Brebeuf Jesuit 33
Kokomo 59 Marion 15
LaVille 32 Pioneer 22
Lafayette Jeff 42 Logansport 26
Lake Central 57 Crown Point 41
Lake Station 58 Hammond Noll 37
Lawrence Central 68 Pike 43
Lawrence North 66 Warren Central 44
Manchester 53 Southwood 35
McCutcheon 56 Harrison (West Lafayette) 29
Merrillville 66 Michigan City 34
Mooresville 63 Decatur Central 45
North Central (Indianapolis) 44 Carmel 34
North Decatur 75 Waldron 49
North Montgomery 36 Crawfordsville 21
Northridge 60 Goshen 20
Northview 58 North Putnam 32
Plainfield 60 Martinsville 28
Portage 52 LaPorte 34
Prairie Heights 44 Churubusco 38
Rensselaer Central 76 South Newton 13
Richmond 64 Indianapolis Tech 36
Sheridan 54 Eastern (Greentown) 20
South Bend St. Joseph 48 South Bend Riley 26
South Central (Elizabeth) 49 Christian Academy 40
South Putnam 45 West Vigo 34
Sullivan 53 Greencastle 35
Tri-Township 50 Boone Grove 22
Tri 70 Cowan 18
Union City 52 Cambridge City Lincoln 28
Valparaiso 62 Chesterton 46
Western Boone 51 Southmont 47

INDIANA GIRLS BASKETBALL SCHEDULE SATURDAY

ALL TIMES EASTERN
Adams Central at Bluffton 1:30 pm
Batesville at East Central 6:00 pm
Bedford North Lawrence at Fort Wayne Northrop 2:30 pm
Benton Central at Kankakee Valley 2:30 pm
Bethesda Christian at Indianapolis Scecina 1:00 pm
Borden at Madison 2:00 pm
Bowman Academy at Valparaiso 1:30 pm
Brown County at West Vigo 4:00 pm
Central Christian at Providence Cristo Rey 1:00 pm
Cloverdale at South Vermillion 12:30 pm
Culver Academy at Faith Christian 2:30 pm
East Noble at Columbia City 2:30 pm
Eastbrook at Blue River 7:00 pm
Evansville Christian at North Daviess 1:00 pm
Evansville Memorial at North Central (Indianapolis) 4:00 pm
Evansville North at Terre Haute North 2:30 pm
Fort Wayne South at Pike 3:00 pm
Frankton at Oak Hill 7:30 pm
Georgetown-RidgeFarm (Ill.) at North Vermillion 12:30 pm
Goshen at Penn 7:30 pm
Greenfield-Central at Delta 1:30 pm
Hamilton Heights at Clinton Prairie 7:30 pm
Hamilton Southeastern at Fishers 7:30 pm
Henryville at South Central (Elizabeth) 7:30 pm
Hobart at Andrean 8:00 pm
Indian Creek at North Putnam 6:00 pm
Indiana Deaf at Ohio Deaf 3:00 pm
Indianapolis Cathedral at Heritage Christian 7:30 pm
Indianapolis Roncalli at Gibson Southern 12:30 pm
Jasper at Southridge 1:30 pm
Jeffersonville at North Knox 3:30 pm
Jennings County at Oldham County (Ky.) 1:00 pm
Knightstown at Waldron 1:30 pm
Lafayette Jeff at Portage 4:30 pm
Lakeland at Eastside 7:00 pm
Lakeland Christian at Bethany Christian 6:00 pm
Lanesville at New Washington 1:30 pm
Lawrence North at Center Grove 3:30 pm
Lawrenceburg at Rushville 1:30 pm
Leo at Huntington North 7:30 pm
Lighthouse Christian at Christian Academy Madison 4:00 pm
Loogootee at Springs Valley 6:00 pm
Lowell at Chesterton 8:00 pm
Maconaquah at Logansport 6:30 pm
Madison-Grant at Mississinewa 12:30 pm
Michigan City at Highland 3:30 pm
Mishawaka at Concord 2:30 pm
Mitchell at Linton-Stockton 1:30 pm
Monrovia at Martinsville 6:00 pm
Mount Vernon (Posey) at Washington 1:30 pm
New Haven at Bellmont 7:30 pm
Noblesville at Westfield 1:30 pm
North Newton at Covington 12:30 pm
North Posey at Crawford County 6:30 pm
North White at Morgan Twp. 1:00 pm
Northeastern at New Castle 7:30 pm
NorthWood at Plymouth 7:45 pm
Norwell at DeKalb 7:30 pm
Oregon-Davis at Tri-Township 6:00 pm
Paoli at Barr-Reeve 2:30 pm
Park Tudor at Greenwood Christian 12:30 pm
Pendleton Heights at Lawrence Central 1:30 pm
Plainfield at Harrison (West Lafayette) 2:30 pm
Rock Creek Academy at Eastern (Pekin) 1:30 pm
Salem at Floyd Central 1:30 pm
Shelbyville at Franklin 2:30 pm
Silver Creek at Brownstown Central 1:30 pm
South Adams at Jay County 7:30 pm
South Bend Adams at LaPorte 3:30 pm
South Bend Adams at Tippecanoe Valley 7:30 pm
South Bend Washington vs. TBA TBA
South Dearborn at Milan 2:00 pm
South Knox at Castle 11:00 am
South Ripley at Greensburg ppd.
Southport at Speedway 1:30 pm
Southwestern (Hanover) at Providence 2:30 pm
Sturgis (Mich.) at Westview 1:30 pm
Tecumseh at Evansville Central 2:30 pm
Trinity Greenlawn at Kouts 1:00 pm
Triton at Pioneer 7:30 pm
Tri-West at Lafayette Central Catholic 1:30 pm
Union City at Tri 6:00 pm
Union County at Winchester 7:30 pm
Wabash at Northfield 7:45 pm
Warsaw at Wawasee 7:45 pm
Washington Twp. at West Central 11:30 am
Whitko at Lewis Cass 7:45 pm
Woodlan at Heritage 7:30 pm
Zionsville at Franklin Central 1:30 pm


Perry-Spencer Tournament
Tell City vs. Perry Central 11:00 am R1
South Spencer at Heritage Hills 12:30 pm R1
Loser Game 1 vs. Loser Game 2 6:00 pm 3rd
Winner Game 1 vs. Winner Game 2 7:30 pm 1st

COLLEGE BOWL GAMES

Saturday, Dec. 16

Myrtle Beach Bowl

Georgia Southern vs. Ohio

Conway, South Carolina

11 a.m. | ESPN

Celebration Bowl

Florida A&M vs. Howard

Atlanta, Georgia

12 p.m. | ABC

New Orleans Bowl

Jacksonville State vs. Louisiana

New Orleans, Louisiana

2:15 p.m. | ESPN

Cure Bowl

Miami (Ohio) vs. Appalachian State

Orlando, Florida

3:30 p.m. | ABC

New Mexico Bowl

Fresno State vs. New Mexico State

Albuquerque, New Mexico

5:45 p.m. | ESPN

LA Bowl

UCLA vs. Boise State

Inglewood, California

7:30 p.m. | ABC

Independence Bowl

Texas Tech vs. Cal

Shreveport, Louisiana

9:15 p.m. | ESPN

Monday, Dec. 18

Bahamas Bowl (Temporarily renamed the Famous Toastery Bowl)

Western Kentucky vs. Old Dominion

Nassau, Bahamas (Temporarily relocated to Charlotte, North Carolina)

2:30 p.m. | ESPN

Tuesday, Dec. 19

Frisco Bowl

Marshall vs. UTSA

Frisco, Texas

9 p.m. | ESPN

Thursday, Dec. 21

Boca Raton Bowl

USF vs. Syracuse

Boca Raton, Florida

8 p.m. | ESPN

Friday, Dec. 22

Gasparilla Bowl

Georgia Tech vs. UCF

Tampa, Florida

6:30 p.m. | ESPN

Saturday, Dec. 23

Birmingham Bowl

Troy vs. Duke

Birmingham, Alabama

12 p.m. | ABC

Camellia Bowl

Arkansas State vs. Northern Illinois

Montgomery, Alabama

12 p.m. | ESPN

Armed Forces Bowl

Air Force vs. James Madison

Fort Worth, Texas

3:30 p.m. | ABC

Famous Idaho Potato Bowl

Georgia State vs. Utah State

Boise, Idaho

3:30 p.m. | ESPN

68 Ventures Bowl

Eastern Michigan vs. South Alabama

Mobile, Alabama

7 p.m. | ESPN

Las Vegas Bowl

Northwestern vs. Utah

Las Vegas, Nevada

7:30 p.m. | ABC

Hawai’i Bowl

San Jose State vs. Coastal Carolina

Honolulu, Hawai’i

10:30 p.m. | ESPN

Tuesday, Dec. 26

Quick Lane Bowl

Bowling Green vs. Minnesota

Detroit, Michigan

2 p.m. | ESPN

First Responder Bowl

Texas State vs. Rice

Dallas, Texas

5:30 p.m. | ESPN

Guaranteed Rate Bowl

Kansas vs. UNLV

Phoenix, Arizona

9 p.m. | ESPN

Wednesday, Dec. 27

Military Bowl

Tulane vs. Virginia Tech

Annapolis, Maryland

2 p.m. | ESPN

Duke’s Mayo Bowl

North Carolina vs. West Virginia

Charlotte, North Carolina

5:30 p.m. | ESPN

Holiday Bowl

No. 15 Louisville vs. Southern Cal

San Diego, California

8 p.m. ET | FOX

Texas Bowl

No. 20 Oklahoma State vs. Texas A&M

Houston, Texas

9 p.m. | ESPN

Thursday, Dec. 28

Fenway Bowl

No. 24 SMU vs. Boston College

Boston, Massachusetts

11 a.m. | ESPN

Pinstripe Bowl

Rutgers vs. Miami (Fla.)

The Bronx, New York

2:15 p.m. | ESPN

Pop-Tarts Bowl

No. 18 NC State vs. No. 25 Kansas State

Orlando, Florida

5:45 p.m. | ESPN

Alamo Bowl

No. 12 Oklahoma vs. No. 14 Arizona

San Antonio, Texas

9:15 p.m. | ESPN

Friday, Dec. 29

Gator Bowl

No. 22 Clemson vs. Kentucky

Jacksonville, Florida

12 p.m. | ESPN

Tony the Tiger Sun Bowl

No. 16 Notre Dame vs. No. 19 Oregon State

El Paso, Texas

2 p.m. | CBS

Liberty Bowl

Memphis vs. Iowa State

Memphis, Tennessee

3:30 p.m. | ESPN

Cotton Bowl

No. 7 Ohio State vs. No. 9 Missouri

Dallas, Texas

8 p.m. | ESPN

Saturday, Dec. 30

Peach Bowl

No. 10 Penn State vs. No. 11 Ole Miss

Atlanta, Georgia

12 p.m. | ESPN

Music City Bowl

Auburn vs. Maryland

Nashville, Tennessee

2 p.m. | ABC

Orange Bowl

No. 5 Florida State vs. No. 6 Georgia

Miami Gardens, Florida

4 p.m. | ESPN

Arizona Bowl

Wyoming vs. Toledo

Tucson, Arizona

4:30 p.m. | CW Network/Barstool

Monday, Jan. 1, 2024

ReliaQuest Bowl

No. 13 LSU vs. Wisconsin

Tampa, Florida

12 p.m. | ESPN2

Citrus Bowl

No. 17 Iowa vs. No. 21 Tennessee

Orlando, Florida

1 p.m. | ABC

Fiesta Bowl

No. 8 Oregon vs. No. 23 Liberty

Glendale, Arizona

1 p.m. | ESPN

College Football Playoff Semifinal at the Rose Bowl

No. 1 Michigan vs. No. 4 Alabama

Pasadena, California

5 p.m. | ESPN

College Football Playoff Semifinal at the Sugar Bowl

No. 2 Washington vs. No. 3 Texas

New Orleans, Louisiana

8:45 p.m. | ESPN

Monday, Jan. 8

College Football Playoff National Championship Game

Houston, Texas

7:30 p.m. | ESPN

NFL WEEK 15 SCHEDULE AND TV TIMES

Saturday football games schedule, Dec. 16

MINNESOTA VIKINGS AT CINCINNATI BENGALS, 11 A.M., NFL Network (stream with free trial from FUBO)

PITTSBURGH STEELERS AT INDIANAPOLIS COLTS, 2:30 P.M., NFL Network (stream with free trial from FUBO)

DENVER BRONCOS AT DETROIT LIONS, 6:15 P.M., NFL Network (stream with free trial from FUBO)

Sunday early football games schedule, Dec. 17

ATLANTA FALCONS AT CAROLINA PANTHERS, 11 A.M., FOX (stream with free trial from FUBO)

CHICAGO BEARS AT CLEVELAND BROWNS, 11 A.M., FOX (stream with free trial from FUBO)

TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS AT GREEN BAY PACKERS, 11 A.M., CBS (stream with free trial from FUBO)

NEW YORK JETS AT MIAMI DOLPHINS, 11 A.M., CBS (stream with free trial from FUBO)

NEW YORK GIANTS AT NEW ORLEANS SAINTS, 11 A.M., FOX (stream with free trial from FUBO)

HOUSTON TEXANS AT TENNESSEE TITANS, 11 A.M., CBS (stream with free trial from FUBO)

KANSAS CITY CHIEFS AT NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS, 11 A.M., FOX (stream with free trial from FUBO)

Sunday late football games schedule, Dec. 17

SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS AT ARIZONA CARDINALS, 2:05 P.M., CBS (stream with free trial from FUBO)

WASHINGTON COMMANDERS AT LOS ANGELES RAMS, 2:05 P.M., CBS (stream with free trial from FUBO)

DALLAS COWBOYS AT BUFFALO BILLS, 2:25 P.M., FOX (stream with free trial from FUBO)

Sunday Night Football schedule, Dec. 17

BALTIMORE RAVENS AT JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS, 6:20 P.M., NBC, Universo (stream with free trial from FUBO)

Monday Night Football schedule, Dec. 18

PHILADELPHIA EAGLES AT SEATTLE SEAHAWKS, 6:15 P.M., ESPN, ABC, ESPN2, ESPN DEPORTES (stream with free trial from FUBO)

MEN’S TOP 25 COLLEGE BASKETBALL SCORES

#5 UConn 76 #10 Gonzaga 63

WOMEN’S COLLEGE BASKETBALL TOP 25 POLLS

#12 Ohio State 73 Grand Valley 49

#25 North Carolina 96 Western Carolina 36

#9 Stanford 81 Portland 51

NBA SCOREBOARD

Philadelphia 124 Detroit 92

Washington 137 Indiana 123

New Orleans 112 Charlotte 107

Boston 128 Orlando 111

San Antonio 129 LA Lakers 115

Atlanta 125 Toronto 104

Houston 103 Memphis 96

New York 139 Phoenix 122

NHL SCOREBOARD

NY Rangers 5 Anaheim 1

Nashville 6 Carolina 5 OT

Boston 5 NY Islanders 4

Dallas 5 Ottawa 4

follow 5 Vegas 2

Arizona 1 San Jose 0

NATIONAL SPORTS RELEASES/HEADLINES

NFL NEWS

WEEK NFL GAME CAPSULES

MINNESOTA VIKINGS (7-6) AT CINCINNATI BENGALS (7-6)

QB NICK MULLENS completed 9 of 13 atts. (69.2 pct.) for 83 yards in Week 14. Has 4,552 pass yards (267.8 per game) & 24 TD passes in 17 career starts. Can make 1st start of 2023. • RB ALEXANDER MATTISON rushed for 66 yards last week & aims for his 4th in row with 50+ rush yards. Has career highs in scrimmage yards (834) & rush yards (660) in 2023. • WR JUSTIN JEFFERSON has 5,423 rec. yards & can surpass Michael Thomas (5,512) for most rec. yards by player in 1st 4 seasons in NFL history. Had 5 catches for 71 yards in last meeting. • TE T.J. HOCKENSON has 50+ rec. yards in 9 straight games, tied 2nd-longest active streak in NFL. Leads TEs in receptions (85) & ranks 2nd in rec. yards (839) this season & can surpass career highs set in 2022 (86 receptions & 839 rec. yards). Had 8 catches for 74 yards in his only career game vs. Cin. (10/17/21 w/ Det.). • WR JORDAN ADDISON ranks tied-1st among rookies with 7 rec. TDs & 2nd among rookies with 713 rec. yards. • LB DANIELLE HUNTER ranks tied-1st in TFL (18) & tied-3rd in sacks (13.5) this season. Aims for his 3rd in row vs. Cin. with sack. • LB IVAN PACE in Week 14 became 2nd rookie since 2000 (DeMeco Ryans – Week 13, 2006) with 13 tackles, sack & INT in game. Aims for his 3rd in row with sack & 4th in row with 9+ tackles. • LB D.J. WONNUM had 7th sack of season last week. Has sack in 5 of his past 6 on road & aims for his 3rd in row on road with sack. • S CAMRYN BYNUM leads all DBs with career-high 103 tackles in 2023. Has PD in 3 of his past 4 on road. • S HARRISON SMITH is only DB with 75+ tackles in each of past 8 seasons. Had sack in last meeting. • S JOSH METELLUS had 4th FF of season last week. Has 13 games with 5+ tackles this season, most among DBs.

QB JAKE BROWNING completed 18 of 24 atts. (75 pct.) for 275 yards & career-high 2 pass TDs with 122.7 rating & rushed for TD last week. Has highest comp. pct. (79.3 pct.) by QB in 1st 3 career starts since 1950 & is 1 of 2 QBs since 1950 (Chad Pennington) with 70+ comp. pct. & 95+ rating in each of 1st 3 starts. Aims for 3rd in row with 275+ pass yards, 115+ rating & rush TD. • RB JOE MIXON led team with season-high 125 scrimmage yards (79 rush, 46 rec.) & rush TD last week, 14th-career game with 125+ scrimmage yards & TD. Aims for 3rd in row with 115+ scrimmage yards & rush TD. Has rush TD in 3 of past 4 at home. Had 150 scrimmage yards (127 rush, 23 rec.) & rush TD in last meeting. Is 1 of 2 (Derrick Henry) with 1,000+ scrimmage yards & 7+ rush TDs in each of past 3 seasons. • RB CHASE BROWN (rookie) had career-high 105 scrimmage yards (80 rec., 25 rush) & 1st-career TD catch last week. • WR JA’MARR CHASE has 80+ rec. yards in 2 of past 3. Had 5 catches for 101 yards & TD in last meeting. Is 4th player ever with 80+ catches & 1,000+ rec. yards in each of 1st 3 seasons. • WR TEE HIGGINS had 72 rec. yards last week & has 65+ rec. yards in 3 of past 4. Had 58 rec. yards & TD catch in last meeting. • TE TANNER HUDSON had 1st-career TD catch in Week 14. • DE TREY HENDRICKSON had 2 sacks & PD last week, 3rd game this season with 2+ sacks & 5th-straight game with 0.5+ sacks. Has 13.5 sacks in 2023 & needs sack for new career high (14 in 2021). • DT B.J. HILL had 1st-career INT in Week 14. Aims for 3rd in row with PD. Had 2 sacks in last meeting. • LB LOGAN WILSON had 10 tackles & PD last week, 5th game this season with 10+ tackles. Had 7 tackles in last meeting. • LB GERMAINE PRATT had 10 tackles & half sack in Week 14.

CINCINNATI (AP) The winner of Saturday’s game between the Vikings and Bengals will stay in the crowded playoff picture – at least for now. The loser could be in trouble.

The matchup of the 7-6 teams – both relying on backup quarterbacks to get them to the playoffs – is as close to a must-win as either has played this season.

The Bengals are in the middle of a crowd of six AFC teams with 7-6 records. A loss to Minnesota would leave their postseason aspirations in tough shape.

“Yeah, this is a big one that we really need,” Bengals coach Zac Taylor said. “I’m sure that (the Vikings) feel the exact same way. It’s just really the way the league is set up this year. It’s interesting for the fans, it keeps everybody involved, and everyone’s got a lot to play for. And I think ultimately, we’re in a position – I think Minnesota is in a position – to where you keep controlling what you can control, and good things will happen.”

The Vikings have a one-game lead over a pack of NFC teams that are 6-7 going into the weekend. They play the AFC North-leading Lions (9-2) in the two of their last three games.

“You don’t really know who’s going to be the last man standing in our division, so that keeps the juices flowing, especially with these games that we have left,” Minnesota receiver Justin Jefferson said. “It’s exciting. Definitely ready to get out there and perform.”

Cincinnati was all but written off when franchise quarterback Joe Burrow suffered a season-ending wrist injury Nov. 16.

But backup Jake Browning – a former practice squad QB – has been exceptional in leading the Bengals to wins over the AFC South-leading Jaguars and the Colts in the past two weeks.

“He’s continued just to show confidence and allowed us to have confidence and the team to have confidence with just how he’s prepared and carried himself,” Taylor said.

Minnesota is a little less settled at quarterback.

Journeyman Nick Mullens is set to start Saturday after relieving an ineffective Joshua Dobbs last week and helping lead the Vikings to a 3-0 victory at Las Vegas, snapping a two-game skid.

Mullens is the fourth different starter for the Vikings, who lost Kirk Cousins to an injury Oct. 29. Rookie Jaren Hall and Dobbs, who arrived in an emergency trade with Arizona after Cousins was hurt, also have started games.

JEFFERSON’S RETURN, TAKE TWO

The Vikings welcomed Jefferson back last week from a hamstring injury that cost him seven games, only to see him sidelined in the second quarter from a hard hit to the chest that was concerning enough to send him to the hospital for further evaluation. He checked out fine and plans to play without restriction against the Bengals.

“I felt like a kid again, just being out there on that field,” Jefferson said. “I wasn’t going to be on that field without being 100%, so my hamstring was definitely 100 and feeling very, very good.”

JAKE STEPS UP

In a season that has seen backup quarterbacks pressed into service because of a rash of injuries to starters, Browning has stood out.

He didn’t take his first regular-season snaps until this season, but the 27-year-old has looked just as cool on the field as Burrow.

If Browning is uncomfortable with anything, it’s the increased media attention that comes with being QB1.

“I guess that was part of the job that I really never experienced, and I think that’s been an adjustment,” Browning said.

“I think if you have all these different opinions about a bunch of different stuff, you can create a lot of clutter. I like focusing on like one or two things very in-depth, and kind of the rest of stuff – right or wrong – I just I don’t really care a ton.”

BETTER DEFENSE

The Cincinnati defense, statistically still among the worst in the league, has been much improved in the past few weeks, especially in stopping the run. The Jaguars had 71 rushing yards against Cincinnati, and the Colts were held to just 46 last week. Both averaged fewer than 3 yards per carry.

The Colts had just one offensive touchdown, and the Bengals had three sacks, including two by defensive end Trey Hendrickson. The Bengals’ plus-10 turnover differential is tied for second best in the league.

PROTECTION PLAN

The Vikings lost right tackle Brian O’Neill to a sprained ankle during the game last week against the Raiders, who had five sacks – including two by star edge rusher Maxx Crosby. O’Neill is out for Saturday.

“We’re banged up that room. We’re banged up in a lot of areas,” said left guard Dalton Risner, who is dealing with an ankle injury that briefly sidelined him against the Raiders. “It’s also the middle of December, man. That’s what happens. We’ve got to be able to play our best ball when it counts, which is now. So we’ve got to find a way.”

  • These teams have split their 14 all-time meetings evenly. The only time one team has won consecutive games against the other was when the Vikings won in 1989 and 1992. The Bengals won the most recent meeting, 27-24 in overtime, to open the 2021 season.
  • The Vikings beat the Raiders, 3-0, in Las Vegas last week. It was the second 3-0 win in Vikings history — they beat the Packers at home in Week 9, 1971. Minnesota has never lost a game when allowing fewer than nine points (101-0).
  • Nick Mullens is 5-12 in his career as a starter, with his last start coming against the Raiders in Week 15, 2021. His last win was in Week 12, 2020. He is 4-0 when he averages nine yards per attempt or higher and 1-12 when that number is below nine.
  • The Bengals beat the Colts, 34-14, at home last week, their largest win since a 42-21 win over Carolina in Week 9 of last season. Cincinnati is 0-4 against AFC North opponents but is 7-2 in all other games. The Bengals have also won eight straight against NFC teams, tied with Baltimore for the longest active interconference winning streak in the NFL.
  • Jake Browning is the only quarterback in the last 60 years to complete at least 70 percent of his passes for at least 200 yards and a touchdown in each of the first three starts of his NFL career.
  • Cincinnati has committed 11 turnovers this season, tied with Dallas, Houston and Pittsburgh for the fewest in the league. Minnesota has 24 giveaways — only the Browns (27) have more.

DENVER BRONCOS (7-6) AT DETROIT LIONS (9-4)

QB RUSSELL WILSON completed 21 of 33 atts. (63.6 pct.) for 224 yards & 2 TDs vs. INT with 91 rating last week, 10th game this season with 90+ rating, tied-most in NFL. Has 90+ rating in 6 of past 7. Is 3-1 with 10 TDs vs. INT & 130.1 rating in 4 career starts vs. Det., highest passer rating vs. any opponent (min. 4 starts). Aims for his 3rd in row in primetime with 0 INTs & 105+ rating. • RB JAVONTE WILLIAMS led team with 91 scrimmage yards (66 rush, 25 rec.) & had 1st rush TD of season last week. Has 70+ scrimmage yards in 6 of past 7. Has TD in 2 of past 3 on road. • WR COURTLAND SUTTON had 62 rec. yards & TD catch in Week 14. Aims for 6th in row with 50+ rec. yards & has TD catch in 7 of past 8. Has rec. TD in each of 6 road games this season. Ranks tied-2nd in NFL with 10 rec. TDs in 2023, most by Den. player since 2014. • WR JERRY JEUDY had 5 catches in last meeting. Has 500+ rec. yards (507) for 3rd-career season. • WR ADAM TRAUTMAN had career-high 3rd rec. TD of season in Week 14. Has TD catch in 2 of past 3. • LB ALEX SINGLETON aims for 6th in row with 10+ tackles & 3rd in row with sack. Has PD in 2 of past 3. Ranks 4th in NFL with 134 tackles in 2023. • LB JOSEY JEWELL had 9 tackles, sack, FR & PD last week. Has sack in 2 of past 3. • LB JONATHON COOPER had 1st-career INT last week. • CB JA’QUAN MCMILLIAN had 5 tackles, 2 TFL, sack & PD in Week 14. Aims for 3rd in row with sack. Has FF in 2 of past 3 on road. • S JUSTIN SIMMONS had 1st sack & 2nd FF of season last week. Has 5+ tackles & PD in 3 of his 4 road games this season. • S P.J. LOCKE has sack in 3 straight games, longest active streak among DBs. Has FF & PD in 2 of past 3.

QB JARED GOFF has 3,449 pass yards in 2023 & is only player with 3,000+ pass yards in each of past 7 seasons. Has 14 TDs (12 pass, 2 rush) in 6 home starts this season. Has 35 career games with 300+ pass yards & can surpass Matt Ryan & HOFer Kurt Warner for 3rd-most by QB in 1st 8 seasons all-time. • RB JAHMYR GIBBS had 6th rush TD of season last week, 2ndmost among rookies. Has 50+ scrimmage yards in each of his 1st 11 career games. Ranks 2nd among rookies in rush yards (692) & 3rd among rookies in scrimmage yards (980). • RB DAVID MONTGOMERY aims for his 5th in row at home with rush TD & ranks tied-4th in NFL with career-high 10 rush TDs this season. Had rush TD in his only career game vs. Den. (9/15/19 w/ Chi.). Needs 124 scrimmage yards for 5th-straight 1,000-yard season. • WR AMON-RA ST. BROWN has 87 catches for 1,063 rec. yards in 2023 & can become 3rd player ever (Odell Beckham Jr. & Michael Thomas) with 90+ catches & 900+ rec. yards in each of 1st 3 career seasons. Has 5 rec. TDs in 7 road games this season. • TE SAM LAPORTA (rookie) ranks 4th among TEs with 66 receptions in 2023. Has 4th-most catches by rookie TE in NFL history & can join Keith Jackson (81 in 1988) & Jeremy Shockey (74 in 2002) as only rookie TEs ever with 70+ catches. • DL AIDAN HUTCHINSON had sack last week. Aims for his 4th in row with TFL. • LB ALEX ANZALONE has 5+ tackles in 29 straight games, tied 2nd-longest active streak in NFL. Needs 4 tackles for 2nd-straight 100+ tackle season. • DB BRIAN BRANCH (rookie) is 1 of 2 DBs (Kyle Hamilton) with 7+ TFL (7) & 7+ PD (7) in 2023. • S KERBY JOSEPH aims for 3rd in row with PD.

DETROIT (AP) Denver and Detroit are desperately hoping to end playoff droughts that trail only the New York Jets’ run of futility.

The Broncos haven’t reached the playoffs since the 2015 season, when they went on to win their third Super Bowl in an 18-year span. The Lions’ streak without a postseason appearance has lingered for six seasons.

Both teams will have a lot to play for when Detroit (9-4) hosts Denver (7-6) on Saturday night.

The NFC North-leading Lions have lost two of three games, leaving them with a two-game lead over Minnesota in the division and facing a challenging closing stretch. After facing the surging Broncos, they play the Vikings twice along with a road game against Dallas.

“It’s not the Super Bowl, but the urgency is there,” Lions linebacker Alex Anzalone said. “It’s coming down to the wire and we have an opportunity to win the North and get into the playoffs.”

The Broncos have won six of seven since starting 1-5 to pull within a game of AFC West-leading Kansas City, which has won seven straight division titles.

“Knowing this last quarter pole, there’s a lot at stake,” Denver coach Sean Payton said.

Safety Justin Simmons, who hasn’t had a winning season since joining the Broncos in 2016, can’t wait to play in the finale of the NFL’s Saturday tripleheader in prime time.

“You want to play the big-time games,” he said. “Pressure is privilege.”

COACHING CONNECTIONS

In each NFL game, there are coaches and players who have been on the same team in the league or college.

Payton and Lions coach Dan Campbell, though, have extremely deep ties to each other.

Payton was a New York Giants assistant when the team drafted Campbell as a tight end out of Texas A&M with the No. 79 pick overall in 1999. Payton also coached Campbell in Dallas and New Orleans before hiring him to be a Saints assistant during a stay that put him in a position to be hired by Detroit in 2021.

Lions defensive coordinator Aaron Glenn played for Payton in Dallas and New Orleans, and coached with him with the Saints. Detroit quarterbacks coach Mark Brunell and Anzalone also played for Payton in New Orleans.

“As a former head coach of theirs, you’re proud of them,” Payton said.

GOING WITH GOFF

Detroit closed last season and opened this year with a lot of success, winning 16 of 20 games, in part because Jared Goff made more productive plays than mistakes.

Lately, his miscues have been costly.

Goff has thrown five interceptions and lost three fumbles over the last four games, leading to two losses and a 12-point deficit in a comeback win over Chicago a month ago.

But the Lions don’t intend to play it safe with Goff. Offensive coordinator Ben Johnson said the plan moving forward will include Goff passing into tight windows to pick up first downs and score touchdowns.

“We don’t want him to lose his aggressiveness when it comes to throwing the football,” Johnson said.

SENSATIONAL SUTTON

Broncos receiver Courtland Sutton had 14 career touchdown catches coming into this season and has 10 this year, including an NFL-leading eight in the red zone.

He also has a vast collection of improbable catches like his toe-dragging touchdown grab against Buffalo that Next Gen Stats called the most improbable catch it’s ever tracked. He also had a one-handed snare of Russell Wilson’s 46-yard touchdown pass against the Los Angeles Chargers in last week’s win.

Sutton said he’s starting to sense his nearly weekly unfathomable catches are starting to wear on opponents who defend him well, but keep watching him spike the ball after yet another incredible play.

“I love that,” he said. “It’s a fun part of the game. You never know what’s going to happen next.”

  • The Broncos have won their last three meetings with the Lions, all by at least 10 points. Denver’s only longer active winning streak is against Dallas (seven games).
  • The Broncos’ 6-1 (.857) record since Week 7 is tied for the best in the NFL (with the Cowboys and Ravens). The only time the Broncos have ever finished a season with a higher winning percentage from Week 7 onward was 2012 (10-0).
  • Courtland Sutton has caught a touchdown in 10 of his 13 games this season, tied with Tyreek Hill for most in the NFL. It is also tied for the most games with a receiving TD in Broncos history with Anthony Miller in 1995 and Julius Thomas in 2013.
  • The Lions lost on the road in Chicago last week, 28-13. Detroit is 3-0 in its games following a loss this season, one of four NFL teams without back-to-back losses this season (Cowboys, Dolphins, Ravens).
  • The Lions and Dolphins are the only teams this season that have two players with at least six rushing touchdowns. Jahmyr Gibbs is the eighth Lions rookie with at least six rushing TD in a season but just the third this century (D’Andre Swift in 2012 and Kevin Smith in 2008).
  • The Lions have averaged 5.5 yards per carry on first down this season, which is second best in the NFL (Dolphins, 5.8). On defense, the Lions have held opponents to 3.5 yards per carry on first down, best in the NFL.

ATLANTA FALCONS (6-7) AT CAROLINA PANTHERS (1-12)

FALCONS are 1st team in NFL history to have rookie with 1,000+ scrimmage yards in 3 straight seasons (Kyle Pitts – 2021; Tyler Allgeier – 2022; Bijan Robinson – 2023). • QB DESMOND RIDDER passed for career-high 347 yards & had 2 TDs (1 pass, 1 rush) last week, his 3rd-career 300-yard game. Ranks tied-4th among QBs with 5 rush TDs in 2023. Aims for his 4th in row with TD pass. Completed 15 of 18 atts. (career-high 83.3 pct.) with TD pass & career-high 111.8 rating in Week 1 meeting. • RB BIJAN ROBINSON (rookie) had 5 receptions, 88 scrimmage yards (career-high 54 rec., 34 rush) & 4th rush TD of season in Week 14. Leads all rookies in rush yards (790), ranks 2nd in scrimmage yards (1,110) & ranks tied-2nd in scrimmage TDs (7). Had career-high 6 catches, 83 scrimmage yards (56 rush, 27 rec.) & rec. TD in Week 1 meeting. • RB TYLER ALLGEIER had 2 rush TDs in Week 1 meeting. • WR DRAKE LONDON set career highs in receptions (10) & rec. yards (172) in Week 14, his 3rd-career game with 100+ rec. yards. Had rec. TD in last road meeting. • TE KYLE PITTS had 57 rec. yards & 2nd rec. TD of season in Week 14, his 5th-career TD catch. Aims for his 3rd in row with 50+ rec. yards. • DL CALAIS CAMPBELL had 1st PD of season last week. • DL DAVID ONYEMATA has TFL in 4 of his past 5 vs. Car. • LB KADEN ELLISS led team with 10 tackles in Week 14, his 5thcareer game with 10+ tackles. Had 9 tackles in Week 1 meeting. • S JESSIE BATES had 9 tackles, TFL & PD in Week 14. Ranks 2nd among DBs with 101 tackles in 2023, his 4th-career 100-tackle season. Aims for his 4th in row with PD. Had 10 tackles, 2 INTs & FF in Week 1 meeting.

QB BRYCE YOUNG (rookie) had 177 yards (137 pass, 40 rush) in Week 14, his 2nd-career game with 40+ rush yards. Has TD pass in 4 of 5 career home starts. • RB CHUBA HUBBARD had 96 scrimmage yards (87 rush, 9 rec.) in Week 14 & aims for his 4th in row with 90+ scrimmage yards. Has career-high 818 scrimmage yards (644 rush, 174 rec.) in 2023. Rushed for 60 yards in Week 1 meeting. • RB MILES SANDERS rushed for season-high 74 yards in Week 14. Had 98 scrimmage yards (72 rush, 26 rec.) in Week 1 meeting & aims for his 3rd in row vs. Atl. with 95+ scrimmage yards. • WR ADAM THIELEN led team with 5 receptions & 74 rec. yards in Week 14. Ranks tied-4th in NFC with 85 receptions this season, 3rd-highest single-season total of his career (91 catches in 2017 & 113 catches in 2018). Aims for his 6th in row at home with 5+ receptions. Has TD catch in 2 of his past 3 vs. Atl. • LB BRIAN BURNS had 2 sacks & FF in Week 1 meeting & aims for his 3rd in row vs. Atl. with sack. Has TFL in 7 of his past 8. Is 1 of 4 (Maxx Crosby, Myles Garrett & Micah Parsons) with 13+ TFL in each of past 3 seasons. • LB FRANKIE LUVU had 5th sack of season in Week 14, his 2ndstraight 5-sack season. Aims for his 3rd in row with TFL. Has 4.5 sacks & 5 TFL in 4 career games vs. Atl. & aims for his 5th in row vs. Atl. with 0.5+ sacks. • DT DERRICK BROWN led team with 10 tackles & had 2ndcareer INT last week. Is only DL with 2 games of 10+ tackles in 2023. Has 7 TFL in his past 4 vs. Atl. & aims for his 5th in row vs. Atl. with TFL. • CB JAYCEE HORN aims for his 3rd in row with PD. • S XAVIER WOODS aims for his 4th in row with PD.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) Desmond Ridder isn’t going to spend much time contemplating playoff scenarios for the Atlanta Falcons, who are part of a three-way tie for first place in the NFC South with four games remaining.

“Obviously for everyone to kind of be right there in that bunch, we know that we have everything in front of us,” the Falcons quarterback said. ”(But) it doesn’t matter about next week, it doesn’t matter about two weeks or what another team does. (It’s about) what we do and what we can do out there on Sunday.”

Atlanta is tied with Tampa Bay and New Orleans atop the division. Of the three teams, the Falcons have the easiest remaining schedule – starting Sunday when they visit the division’s also-ran, the NFL-worst Carolina Panthers (1-12).

The Falcons’ other remaining opponents are Indianapolis (7-6), Chicago (5-8) and the Saints.

The Falcons held a one-game edge in the standings before losing 29-25 to Tampa Bay despite 347 yards passing from Ridder. The Saints climbed back into a tie by pounding the Panthers 28-6. Nonetheless, Atlanta is in good position to win its first division title since 2016.

The same can’t be said for the offensively challenged Panthers.

Despite the addition of No. 1 overall pick Bryce Young, Carolina ranks near the bottom of nearly every offensive statistical category and has failed to score 20 points in each of its last seven games.

Young has struggled when facing pressure, and has yet to throw for 250 yards in a game.

“Having a growth mindset is something that we all talk about and that we all embody,” Young said. “There is obviously a lot of room for improvement so we are eager to go out there and be better.”

RIDDER OR NOT

Ridder’s future as the starter could be determined by the team’s finish.

Ridder started eight games, then was benched for two before being reinstated. For the season, he has nine touchdown passes with nine interceptions – the same numbers as Young. He completed 63.5% of his passes in a four-game audition as the starter to close the 2022 season and again has completed 63.5% this season – 212 of 334 for 2,376 yards.

“I’ve had my ups and downs,” Ridder said. “You know, I’ve been able to go out there and play your game. And then obviously, throughout the games, you know, there’s one or two plays in each game where, you know, something goes wrong or there’s a mistake. But then it’s how do you respond? And I feel like, you know, every time that a mistake has happened, I responded the right way.”

INJURY WOES

The Falcons are facing significant injuries on their offensive and defensive lines.

Defensive tackle Kentavius Street has been ruled out with a pectoral injury suffered last week. The defensive line already has lost two-time Pro Bowler Grady Jarrett for the season with a knee injury. Another defensive tackle, David Onyemata, missed last week’s game with an ankle injury.

Left tackle Jake Matthews suffered a knee injury against Tampa Bay and did not practice Wednesday. Matthews’ team-record streak of 156 consecutive starts will be in jeopardy. Center Drew Dalman (ankle) and right tackle Kaleb McGary (knee) did not play against Tampa Bay and Chris Lindstrom (ankle) missed part of the game.

Atlanta’s injury list also includes cornerback Jeff Okudah (ankle) and linebacker Nate Landman (knee).

Matthews, Lindstrom and McGary were held out of Wednesday’s practice. Coach Arthur Smith said most of the injured players have a chance to play Sunday.

CRUNCH TIME FOR BIJAN

Falcons rookie running back Bijan Robinson’s modest usage was an issue earlier in the season, but his carries have increased lately. He has 66 rushes the last four games, an average of more than 16 per game. He’s run for touchdowns in three of the last four games and four of the last six.

Smith said he was looking at the 17-game season when making a plan for Robinson.

“I mean, you set your season to get with a long game at stake, too,” Smith said. “We’ve been cognizant of that. … Didn’t want any of the runners having 300 carries going into Thanksgiving. Because we have a lot of talented players on the roster and guys that want to play for the long game. Want to play for more than 17. Here we are in crunch time. And you do feel like a lot of young guys have got better every week.”

YOUNG MISSING DEEP THROWS

Young missed a couple of open receivers on deep balls against New Orleans, including overthrowing an open Jonathan Mingo for a would-be touchdown when he didn’t set his feet in the pocket.

Young said that has been a point of emphasis this week in practice.

“They did a great job on the perimeter of creating that separation and obviously I have to do a better job of executing and just getting the ball there,” Young said. “You just look back it from a mechanical standpoint and figuring out little stuff from rep to rep. … So I was able to learn from that.”

HUBBARD ON THE RUN

The Panthers have gotten an uptick in production from Chuba Hubbard, who has 191 rushing yards and two touchdowns over the last two weeks. He figures to be a focal point of the offense.

Carolina ran for more than 200 yards against New Orleans, but managed just six points. The last team to rush for 200-plus yards and not score a touchdown on offense was the Rams in a 14-9 loss to Seattle on Oct. 28, 2013.

  • These teams opened the season against each other, with Atlanta winning, 24-10. The Falcons are 11-4 against the Panthers since 2016, including a 5-2 mark in road games in that span. However, Carolina beat the Falcons at home last season, 25-15.
  • The Falcons lost to the Buccaneers, 29-25, at home last week. Atlanta has not played a game decided by double-digits since a 23-7 loss to Jacksonville in London in Week 4
  • Drake London had 10 receptions for 172 yards last week. He is the first Falcon to reach both of those numbers in a game since Julio Jones had 12 catches for 253 yards against the Bucs in Week 12, 2017. London is the sixth different Falcon to have such a game, joining Jones (five times), Andre Rison (twice), Alfred Jackson, Terance Mathis, and Roddy White.
  • The Panthers lost to the Saints, 28-6, in New Orleans last week, their lowest point total of the season. Through 13 games, the Panthers have scored 197 points (15.2 per game), their second fewest all-time (164 in 2010; 12.6 per game).
  • Adam Thielen had 72 receiving yards last week, his seventh game with 70 yards this season. The only seasons in his career in which he’s had more games are 2017 (7) and 2018 (11).
  • Atlanta has run the ball on first down 58.8 percent of the time, the highest mark in the NFL. Carolina has run the ball on 48.0 percent of its first downs, sixth lowest in the league.

CHICAGO BEARS (5-8) AT CLEVELAND BROWNS (8-5)

QB JUSTIN FIELDS had 281 yards (223 pass, 58 rush) & 2 TDs (1 pass, 1 rush) vs. 0 INTs for 88.3 rating in Week 14. Became 3rd QB ever (Kyler Murray & Cam Newton) with 2,000+ rush yards (2,021) in 1st 3 career seasons. Has 50+ rush yards in 4 of his past 5 & aims for his 4th in row on road with 50+ rush yards. Made 1st career start vs. Cle. in last meeting. • RB D’ONTA FOREMAN had 72 scrimmage yards (50 rush, 22 rec.) in Week 14. Has 3rd-straight season with 500+ scrimmage yards. Has rush TD in 2 of his past 3. • WR DJ MOORE had 6 catches, 88 scrimmage yards (68 rec., 20 rush) & 2 TDs (1 rec., 1 rush) in Week 14, his 1st-career rush TD. Has career-high 8 scrimmage TDs & 4th-career 1,000-yard season (1,071 rec. yards) in 2023. Aims for his 3rd in row on road with 7+ catches & 95+ rec. yards. • TE COLE KMET had 5 catches for 66 yards last week. Is 1 of 4 TEs (T.J. Hockenson, Travis Kelce & George Kittle) with 50+ receptions & 500+ rec. yards in each of past 3 seasons. • LB T.J. EDWARDS had career-high 2 FR of season last week. Has 129 tackles in 2023, his 3rd-straight season with 125+ tackles. Aims for his 3rd in row with TFL & 4th in row with PD. • LB TREMAINE EDMUNDS had career-high 3rd INT of season last week, tied 2nd-most among LBs in 2023. Aims for his 3rd in row with TFL. • LB YANNICK NGAKOUE had 4th sack of season last week. • DE MONTEZ SWEAT had career-high 10th sack of season last week. Aims for his 4th in row with sack. • CB JAYLON JOHNSON aims for his 3rd in row with INT. • DB JAQUAN BRISKER had career-high 17 tackles, 2 PD & 3rdcareer FF in Week 14, most tackles by DB in single game in 2023.

BROWNS lead NFL in total defense (263.0 yards allowed per game) & pass defense (159.7 pass yards allowed per game). • QB JOE FLACCO passed for 311 yards & 3 TDs with 92 rating last week, 11th-career game with 300+ pass yards & 3+ TD passes. Has 250+ pass yards & 2+ TD passes in each of 2 starts this season. • RB JEROME FORD had 82 scrimmage yards (51 rush, 31 rec.) & 5 catches last week. Aims for 4th in row with 50+ scrimmage yards. Need 75 scrimmage yards for 1st-career 1,000-yard season. • RB KAREEM HUNT rushed for 7th TD of season in Week 14, 3rdcareer season with 7+ rush TDs. Has rush TD in 3 of past 4 at home. Had 155 scrimmage yards (81 rush, 74 rec.) & rush TD in last meeting. • WR AMARI COOPER had 7 catches for 77 yards last week. Has 75+ rec. yards in 3 of past 4 at home. Has TD catch in each of 2 career games vs. Chi. Has 6 straight seasons with 850+ rec. yards (876). • WR ELIJAH MOORE aims for 6th in row with 40+ rec. yards. Had TD catch in only career game vs. Chi. (11/27/22 w/ NYJ). • WR DAVID BELL had 1st-career TD catch in in Week 14. • TE DAVID NJOKU had 6 catches for season-high 91 yards & career high 2 TDs last week. Has 6+ catches & 55+ rec. yards in 4 of past 5. • DE MYLES GARRETT has TFL in 7 of past 8. Has sack in 2 of past 3 at home. Has 5.5 sacks in 2 career games vs. Chi., incl. career high 4.5 sacks in last meeting. • DE ZA’DARIUS SMITH had sack & PD last week. Aims for 4th in row at home with TFL. Has 0.5+ sacks in 2 of his past 3 vs. Chi. • DE OGBO OKORONKWO had sack in Week 14. Aims for 3rd in row at home with sack. • LB JEREMIAH OWUSU-KORAMOAH led team with 8 tackles & had 2 TFL last week. Has 2+ TFL in 2 of past 3. • CB MARTIN EMERSON had 3 PD & career-high 2 INTs last week.

CLEVELAND (AP) Two years ago, Justin Fields made his NFL start on the road. It was far more miserable than memorable.

Blame Myles Garrett.

Chicago’s quarterback remembers nearly everything about his first game with the Bears in 2021 – the excitement, playing again in Ohio, the bruises.

“And then of course getting sacked, too,” said Fields, who was sacked nine times – 4 1/2 by Garrett – and hit 15 times as the Bears were roughed up by the Browns 26-6. “Hopefully we can change that going back this weekend.”

On Sunday, Fields and the improving Bears (5-8) will visit Cleveland for a matchup against the Browns (8-5), who have been hammered by injuries and are leaning on veteran QB Joe Flacco to get them to the playoffs for just the second time since 2002.

Fields intends to stay upright more than he did in his first game against the Browns, and that will require his linemen, probably a tight end and maybe a running back or two keeping him safe from Garrett, a chore that’s easier said than done.

“He’s the best defensive player on the field, so you’ve got to know where he is at all times,” Fields said. “Every play.”

Garrett, who has been dealing with a shoulder injury, has been stuck on 13 sacks for three games. He left the field fuming last week after being blanked by the Jacksonville Jaguars, whom he felt got some favorable calls from the officials.

Afterward, Garrett called the officiating “a travesty,” and said the excessive grabbing and whatever else the Jags were doing left his shoulder looking like he’d been “scratched by a couple of wild feral cats.”

Browns coach Kevin Stefanski said he understood Garrett’s irritation at the lack of penalties and that he’s not worried about the All-Pro’s comments backfiring on him.

“He has respect for this game,” Stefanski said. “He’s frustrated. It’s something I talk to the officials about every week leading up to the game – is keeping an eye on the guys that are blocking him. It really comes with being a great player.

“We want the other teams to play within the rules, obviously, but it hasn’t slowed him down. He continues to play at a very high level.”

The Bears have witnessed Garrett at his pass-rushing best, and know they’ve got to do everything possible to protect Fields.

They don’t feel the officials are helping them in that department, either.

Chicago has been incensed that Fields, who often leaves the pocket on runs, has taken head-high hits that haven’t been penalized. On his first run last week, Fields took a shot while sliding from Detroit’s Jack Campbell, who was not flagged.

Nothing new there, according to the Bears.

“If it was us, they’d be throwing it,” Chicago safety Jaquan Brisker said. “There wouldn’t even be a reaction. They would just throw it. They should just treat him fair. He’s a quarterback. Now I know he’s 230 (pounds) and he’s running a 4.3 (second 40-yard dash) or so, but it doesn’t really matter.

“He’s still a quarterback and we have to protect him.”

BRUISED BROWNS

The Browns keep limping along.

They lost five more key players to significant injuries this week. Offensive tackles Jedrick Wills Jr. and Dawand Jones were ruled out with knee injuries, safety Grant Delpit went on injured reserve with a groin injury and defensive linemen Maurice Hurst and Ogbo Okoronkwo suffered pectoral injuries.

As of Thursday, only Okoronkwo, who has 4 1/2 sacks, had a possibility of returning in the last four games.

The team hasn’t used excuses and won’t start.

“The game doesn’t care,” defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz said. “Obviously, the opponents don’t care, but the game is Sunday for 60 minutes and it doesn’t care if you’re playing rookies. It doesn’t care if you have injuries. It doesn’t care if you’re at full strength. And that’s our focus.”

BETTER BEARS

Chicago comes in with back-to-back victories for the first time since 2021, when the Bears beat Seattle and the New York Giants in Weeks 16 and 17.

With a win over Cleveland, they would match their longest streak since a three-game run late in 2020.

“You’ve got to stay steady and you’ve got to have a foundation for what you believe,” coach Matt Eberflus said. “That’s just what we brought here to Chicago. It’s about staying right there in the moment, and stay present where your feet are. We’ve got to continue to do that.”

SWEAT-ING SACKS

Though the Bears have the second-lowest sack total in the NFL with 21, they’ve been getting to the quarterback in recent weeks.

Credit the change to edge rusher Montez Sweat, who has 3 1/2 sacks in five games since being acquired from Washington in a trade. Chicago has 11 sacks since his arrival.

“A lot of guys are looking at him when he gets to the field,” said defensive tackle Justin Jones, who had 1 1/2 sacks last week. “The whole offense is looking to see where he’s at so it opens up a lot of opportunity for everybody else to go out there and make a lot of plays.

“Outside of his play, he’s a real leader, a vocal leader and he’s pulling the young guys along.”

Chicago’s defensive front took a major blow this week as defensive end Yannick Ngakoue – the team’s sack leader with four – was lost for the rest of the season with a broken ankle suffered in last week’s game.

  • The Browns hold a 10-7 overall record against the Bears dating back to 1951. The teams have met only twice over the last ten years, with each team recording a three-score win. In their most recent meeting (Week 3, 2021), Cleveland tallied nine sacks, tied for third-most in a single game in team history.
  • Justin Fields (223 passing yards and 58 rushing yards in Week 14) now has 2021 career rushing yards, joining Lamar Jackson (2906 yards) and Cam Newton (2032 yards) as the only quarterbacks in NFL history to run for 2000 yards in their first three seasons.
  • D.J. Moore has 1071 total receiving yards this season on 76 receptions. He is the third Bears’ wide receiver to produce 1000 receiving yards in the first season with the team, joining Harlon Hill (1954) and Brandon Marshall (2012).
  • Joe Flacco has recorded 25 career games with 300 passing yards and multiple touchdown passes, tied for sixth-most among active quarterbacks since entering the NFL in 2008 (185 games played). As a team, the Browns have had 23 such games over that span (255 regular season games played), the third fewest in the NFL.
  • David Njoku produced his first career two-touchdown game in Week 14 on six catches for 91 yards. He is the fourth tight end in Browns’ history, and first since 2008, with at least five receptions, 75 receiving yards and two touchdowns in a game, joining Ozzie Newsome (1982), Steve Heiden (2004 and 2005), and Kellen Winslow (2008).
  • Montez Sweat has accounted for ten hits on the quarterback over the last four weeks, tied for fourth-most in the NFL. As a team, the Bears have totaled the second-most quarterback hits in the NFC since Week 10 with 32 (49ers, 38).

TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS (6-7) AT GREEN BAY PACKERS (6-7)

QB BAKER MAYFIELD had 3 TDs (2 pass, 1 rush) vs. 0 INTs & 86 rating in Week 14, his 1st rush TD of season. Has 6 road games with 2+ TD passes in 2023, most in NFL. Has 2,934 pass yards & can reach 3,000-yard mark for 4th time in his career (2018-20). • RB RACHAAD WHITE had career-high 135 scrimmage yards (career-best 102 rush, 33 rec.) & 2nd rec. TD of season last week. Has 6 TDs (4 rush, 2 rec.) in his past 6. Aims for his 4th in row with 100+ scrimmage yards. Ranks 3rd among RBs in rec. yards (419), 4th in scrimmage yards (1,164) & 5th in receptions (48) this season. • WR MIKE EVANS has 1,020 rec. yards in 2023 & is 1st player ever with 1,000+ rec. yards in each of 1st 10 seasons. Has 62 catches this season & is 1st player all-time with 60+ receptions in each of his 1st 10 seasons. Has 91 career rec. TDs, tied 5thmost by player in 1st 10 seasons all-time. Had TD catch in his last game at GB (2020 NFC-C). • WR CHRIS GODWIN had 5 catches for 53 yards last week. Had 110 rec. yards in 2020 NFC-C at GB. • LB LAVONTE DAVID has TFL in 7 of his past 8. Needs 4 tackles for 10th-career 100-tackle season. • NT VITA VEA has TFL in 4 of his 5 road games this season. Had FF in last reg.-season meeting. • DL CALIJAH KANCEY (rookie) had 4th sack of season last week. • S ANTOINE WINFIELD JR. had 4th sack & 4th FF of season in Week 14. Has 13 career sacks, 2nd-most by DB in 1st 4 seasons since 1982. Ranks tied-3rd among DBs with 97 tackles in 2023. Is 3rd DB since 2000 (Logan Ryan – 2019 & Adrian Wilson – 2006) with 4+ sacks, 4+ FFs & 10+ PD (11) in season.

QB JORDAN LOVE has 3,084 pass yards in 2023, his 1st-career 3,000-yard season. Aims for his 3rd in row at home with 2+ TD passes & 4th in row at home with 100+ rating. Ranks tied-5th in NFL with 23 TD passes this season. • RB AARON JONES has rush TD in 2 of his 3 career reg.-season games vs. TB. • RB AJ DILLON had 78 scrimmage yards (53 rush, 25 rec.) in Week 14 & aims for his 4th in row with 75+ scrimmage yards. Has 50+ scrimmage yards in 3 of his past 4 home games. • WR CHRISTIAN WATSON aims for his 3rd in row at home & 4th in row overall with TD catch. • WR ROMEO DOUBS aims for his 3rd in row at home with 50+ rec. yards. Had 8 catches for 73 yards & 1st-career rec. TD in last meeting. • WR JAYDEN REED (rookie) had career-high 8 receptions & 2ndcareer rush TD last week. Has TD in 4 of his past 5. • WR MALIK HEATH (rookie) had 1st-career rec. TD in Week 14. • DL KENNY CLARK had 2 TFL in Week 14 & aims for his 3rd in row with TFL. Has 4.5 sacks in 4 career games vs. TB, incl. post season. • LB RASHAN GARY has 4.5 sacks, 2 FFs & 2 FRs in his past 4. Had sack in last meeting. • LB QUAY WALKER has 92 tackles in 10 games this season & needs 8 tackles for his 2nd-straight 100-tackle season. Had FF in last meeting. • LB ISAIAH MCDUFFIE had 4th TFL of season last week. • CB CARRINGTON VALENTINE had 1st-career FR last week. Has 7 PD in his past 3 at home. • CB JAIRE ALEXANDER had 3 PD & 2 INTs in 2020 NFC-C vs. TB. • S DARNELL SAVAGE had 7 tackles last week. Had FR in last meeting.

GREEN BAY, Wis. (AP) Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Baker Mayfield is visiting Lambeau Field in December for a third straight year, each time with a different team.

This season’s version of Mayfield could give the Green Bay Packers the most problems.

Mayfield threw four interceptions in Cleveland’s 24-22 loss to Green Bay on Christmas Day 2021 that marked his second-to-last appearance with the Browns, who took him with the No. 1 overall pick in the 2018 draft. He went 12 of 21 for 111 yards with a touchdown and an interception on Dec. 19 of last year as the Los Angeles Rams lost 24-12.

He has played at Lambeau enough to know what to expect when his Bucs (6-7) visit the Packers (6-7) on Sunday.

“I’ve only played there in December, so yeah, it’s kind of hit or miss with the weather and what you’re going to get,” Mayfield said. “Guys just have to be prepared for the grass. That’s something I learned pretty quickly – it’s slick. This late in the year, obviously it’s not in the best condition. It’s a little bit longer, so you’ve got to be ready for that.”

Mayfield threw a go-ahead touchdown pass in the final minute of a 29-25 victory at Atlanta that enabled the Bucs to grab a share of the NFC South lead. The Packers are clinging to the NFC’s third and final wild-card spot after losing 24-22 to the New York Giants on Monday, a defeat that snapped a three-game winning streak.

Tampa Bay and Green Bay are among six NFC teams with 6-7 records, making the postseason implications of Sunday’s game apparent.

“We’ve just got to be ready to play playoff football,” Packers defensive lineman TJ Slaton said. “That’s how I look at it.”

Boosting the Bucs’ playoff hopes with a third straight win would help Mayfield erase his unpleasant Lambeau Field memories.

“It’s a historical place,” Mayfield said. “I grew up a huge Brett Favre fan, so the first time I got to go up there, I just kind of took it all in pregame. When it comes down to it, it’s still a football field when the game comes. It’s a special place to play and a great opportunity for us in this end-of-season push that we have coming on. They’re in a similar situation as us, so it’s going to be a good matchup.”

ON THE RUN

Tampa Bay finished last in the NFL in rushing a year ago and is ranked 29th in that category this year with 90 yards per game, but the Bucs have improved in that regard lately.

The Bucs ran for a season-best 148 yards at Atlanta for their third straight game with 125 or more, the team’s longest such stretch since 2015.

Green Bay’s defense has allowed at least 140 yards rushing in five straight games. The Packers will be trying to rebound after giving up 209 yards rushing to the Giants, the fourth game in which they’ve yielded at least 200.

“We’ve just got to do our job every single play,” Packers linebacker De’Vondre Campbell said. “It’s not rocket science. It’s not hard. You’ve just got to do your job. That’s it.”

MAKING A DIFFERENCE

Tampa Bay’s Rachaad White rushed for a season-high 102 yards against the Falcons. He also scored on a 31-yard reception and finished with a career-best 135 yards from scrimmage.

The second-year pro ranks fourth among running backs in scrimmage yards with 1,164, behind San Francisco’s Christian McCaffrey (1,614), Jacksonville’s Travis Etienne (1,189) and Buffalo’s James Cook (1,180).

“He knows when to run it in there and when to bounce it out,” Bucs coach Todd Bowles said. “The maturation process for him has been really good.”

BOUNCING BACK

Both teams recovered from slow starts to work their way into playoff contention.

The Bucs lost four straight games to fall to 3-5 but have gone 3-2 since, including wins over Carolina and Atlanta the last two weeks. Green Bay had its own four-game skid to drop to 2-5 before winning four of its last six games.

ROOKIE RECEIVERS

Green Bay’s Jordan Love has been throwing primarily to rookies and second-year pros in his first season as a starter. Many of those newcomers have stepped up.

In the loss to the Giants, Malik Heath became the sixth Packers rookie with a touchdown reception this season. That’s the most by any team in the Super Bowl era, excluding the 1987 strike season.

SHINING IN DECEMBER

Green Bay’s loss to the Giants dropped coach Matt LaFleur to 16-1 in December. The Packers haven’t lost a December home game since falling 31-0 to the Detroit Lions on Dec. 30, 2018.

  • Since 1990, the Packers are 14-1 in home regular-season games against the Buccaneers. The only team with a better home record against a single opponent in that span with more than 10 games played is the Steelers with a 29-2 home record against the Browns.
  • Just 5.9 percent (16/270) of the points allowed by Tampa Bay this season have been after turnovers. That would be the lowest such percentage by an NFL team since the 2017 Kansas City Chiefs (6.5%).
  • Rachaad White needs two more catches to become the third Buccaneer to have 200+ rushes and 50+ receptions in the same season. He would join Michael Pittman (2002) and James Wilder (1984 and 1985).
  • Green Bay has played in seven games decided by four points or less this season (2-5 in those games), tied with the Browns for the most such games in 2023. It is the most such games in a single season by the Packers since they played in eight in the Super Bowl-winning season of 2010 (2-6 in those games).
  • Jordan Love has had at least 20 completions and one touchdown pass in all six home games. That ties him with Brett Favre in 1994 for most consecutive home starts with 20+ completions and 1+ TD passes to begin a season in team history.
  • Jayden Reed scored his second rushing touchdown of the season on Monday, tying him for the team lead this season. Reed would be the first rookie wide receiver in the Super Bowl era to lead his team in rushing touchdowns (including ties).

NEW YORK JETS (5-8) AT MIAMI DOLPHINS (9-4)

QB ZACH WILSON completed 27 of 36 atts. (career-high 75 pct.) for season-high 301 yards & 2 TDs vs. 0 INTs with careerhigh 117.9 rating last week, 3rd-career 300-yard game. Has rush TD & 0 INTs in each of 2 career starts vs. Mia. • RB BREECE HALL led team with 126 scrimmage yards (86 rec., 40 rush) with career-high 8 catches & rec. TD last week, 4thcareer game with 125+ scrimmage yards. Aims for his 5th in row on road with 70+ scrimmage yards. Has TD in 3 of his past 4 on road. Has 246 scrimmage yards (123 per game) in 2 career games vs. Mia. Leads team with 1,060 scrimmage yards (625 rush, 435 rec.) in 2023, 1st-career 1,000-yard season. • RB DALVIN COOK has rush TD in 2 of 3 career games vs. Mia. • WR GARRETT WILSON led team with 9 catches for season-high 108 yards in Week 14. Aims for 3rd in row with 50+ rec. yards. Has 7+ catches in 2 of past 3 overall & 90+ rec. yards in 2 of past 3 on road. Had 7 catches & rec. TD in Week 12 meeting. • WR RANDALL COBB had 1st TD catch of season last week. • WR XAVIER GIPSON (rookie) had 1st-career rush TD last week. • TE TYLER CONKLIN had 57 rec. yards in Week 14. • DL QUINNEN WILLIAMS had 3rd sack of season last week. Aims for 4th in row on road with TFL. • LB QUINCY WILLIAMS has TFL in 10 of past 11. Aims for 6th in row with 5+ tackles. Had career-high 3 TFL & sack in last road meeting. • LB BRYCE HUFF had career-high 7th sack of season last week. Has sack in 2 of past 3. Had sack in Week 12 meeting. • CB SAUCE GARDNER had 2 PD & TFL in Week 14. Has PD in 3 of past 4. Has PD in 2 of 3 career games vs. Mia. Has 30 career PD, 3rd-most in NFL since 2022. • CB D.J. REED had 3 PD last week. Aims for 4th in row with PD.

DOLPHINS lead NFL in total offense (423.6 yards per game) & rank 2nd in scoring offense (31.6 points per game). • QB TUA TAGOVAILOA completed 23 of 33 atts. (69.7 pct.) for 240 yards with 0 INTs & 90.5 rating last week, 10th game this season with 90+ rating, tied-most in NFL. Has 90+ rating in all 6 home games this season, with 250+ pass yards & 2+ TD passes in 5 of 6 home games. Passed for 243 yards in Week 12 meeting & is 3-0 in 3 career starts vs. NYJ. Leads NFL with career-high 3,697 pass yards this season & ranks 2nd with 70 comp. pct. • RB RAHEEM MOSTERT rushed for 96 yards & 2 TDs last week, 5th game this season with 2+ rush TDs, most in NFL. Aims for 4th in row with rush TD & has 90+ scrimmage yards in 3 of past 4. Had 2 rush TDs in Week 12 meeting & has 4 rush TDs in 4 career games vs. NYJ. Leads NFL with 16 rush TDs, tied-most in franchise history. • RB DE’VON ACHANE (rookie) had 71 scrimmage yards (47 rush, 24 rec.) last week. Has 70+ scrimmage yards in 5 of his past 6. Leads rookies with 9 TDs (7 rush, 2 rec.). • WR TYREEK HILL has 60+ rec. yards in 9 straight games, longest active streak in NFL. Has 100+ rec. yards & rec. TD in 3 of past 4 overall & in 5 of 6 home games this season. Had 9 catches for 102 yards & TD in Week 12 meeting. Leads NFL with 1,542 rec. yards, 3rd-most ever in team’s 1st 13 games of a season. • WR JAYLEN WADDLE led team with 79 rec. yards last week & aims for 5th in row with 50+ rec. yards. Had 114 rec. yards in Week 12 meeting. • CB XAVIEN HOWARD had season-high 3 PD last week. Aims for 6th in row with PD. Has 19 PD in 11 career games vs. NYJ. • DT CHRISTIAN WILKINS had sack last week. Has sack in 2 of past 3 & TFL in 5 of past 6. Had 2 sacks in Week 12 meeting. • DT ZACH SIELER had INT-TD last week, 1st-career INT & TD.

MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. (AP) Tua Tagovailoa and the Miami Dolphins have done almost everything they’ve needed to since playing the New York Jets three weeks ago – except stay healthy.

Injuries to standout linebacker Jaelan Phillips (Achilles tendon tear) and starting safety Jevon Holland (knees) overshadowed Miami’s blowout win over the Jets in Week 12, when Holland also returned an intercepted first-half Hail Mary attempt 99 yards for a score.

Injuries showed up again in the Dolphins’ win over the Commanders the following week when linebacker Jerome Baker suffered a knee injury that landed him on injured reserve.

And they played a major role in last week’s 28-27 loss to the Tennessee Titans, with Miami losing starting center Connor Williams for the season because of an ACL tear, and with star receiver Tyreek Hill largely limited by an ankle injury.

“This is how the league works,” Tagovailoa said. “You pray that you can have healthy seasons and stay healthy as long as possible, but it’s a physical sport, and things like that happen. When those things do happen, how do we as a team come out and not let our foot off the gas?”

He challenged the Dolphins to not be too “emotional” entering Sunday’s matchup against the Jets despite blowing a 14-point lead against Tennessee with less than five minutes remaining. The Dolphins (9-4) still sit atop the AFC East, and they’re the No. 2 seed in the conference.

“We don’t want to come into the game thinking we need to do this, we need to do that,” Tagovailoa said. “We just need to play within the rules and principles of what that play entails for us to do.”

The Jets (5-8) are coming off one of the best wins of their season – a 30-6 blowout of the Houston Texans that can serve as an energy-boosting victory to build on.

“Getting that win under our belt and getting that feeling again about who we are was huge for us,” said defensive lineman Solomon Thomas.

“It’s another divisional game. You normally don’t like the opponents in your division for a reason. You’re rivals, you play them twice a year, you guys know each other too well, so it’s definitely a game you want to win.”

Coach Robert Saleh this week characterized their Week 12 meeting as a mix of “unfortunate situations” and “missed opportunities.”

He also doesn’t think the familiarity of playing the Dolphins just three weeks ago helps or hurts the Jets, who are not technically out of the playoff race despite struggling for most of the season.

“We are both who we are,” Saleh said. “There’s going to be some nuance, there’s going to be some changes. I’m sure coach (Mike) McDaniel is going to have 65 new plays, but at the meat of it is philosophy and a style of play that those guys have and same thing with us, both offensively and defensively and special teams.”

TYREEK HILL STATUS

Hill’s ankle injury that he suffered during the first quarter against Tennessee puts his availability Sunday in question.

Coach Mike McDaniel said earlier this week that he will wait for Hill to tell him whether he feels as if he can play on the ankle, which the star receiver said caused him a lot of pain in the second half.

“He’s going to take care of what’s in his hands,” McDaniel said, “but he’s such an important part of our team that we’re gonna make sure that when he’s on the field he’s not at risk of further injuring himself.”

NO PRESSURE

Dolphins defensive coordinator Vic Fangio said he doesn’t regret not sending more blitzes at Will Levis during Tennessee’s two late touchdown drives.

Despite just one sack in the game, the Dolphins largely limited big plays until the final five minutes. Levis completed four passes of at least 20 yards during that span.

“A lot of it happened very quickly,” Fangio said. “I needed to call it better, and we needed to play it better.”

ZACH’S BACK

Wilson had perhaps the best game of his career last week against Houston, throwing for 301 yards with two touchdowns and leading New York into the end zone three times overall.

“Whatever he ate Saturday night, just go do it again,” Saleh joked. “He’s been working, he’s been getting better and give him credit: He played free on Sunday.”

Wilson rebounded from a two-game benching to be selected AFC offensive player of the week for his performance. Wilson got the Jets’ previously sluggish offense moving consistently in the second half, when they scored all of their points in a 30-6 win.

“The thing is that’s the standard, right?” Wilson said. “I wouldn’t say, ‘Hey, you know, in that game, you were doing anything differently.’ I mean, we were in the flow, momentum was on our side.”

GARRETT GOING STRONG

Jets wide receiver Garrett Wilson will extend a few records with every catch he makes the rest of this season.

The reigning AP Offensive Rookie of the Year has set the franchise marks for receptions (159) and yards receiving (1,956) by a player through his first two seasons.

Despite the Jets’ overall struggles and shaky play at the quarterback spot, Wilson has a team-leading 76 catches for 853 yards and three touchdowns this season.

“He’s becoming more and more un-guardable every day,” teammate and cornerback Sauce Gardner said.

  • Miami and New York are matching up for the second time this season after the Dolphins won, 34-13, in Week 12. The Jets ran the ball 10 times in the loss, their fewest in any game since Week 16 of 2005 (also 10).
  • The Jets have held opponents to a 41.8% (23/55) completion rate in their last two games. This is the lowest completion percentage allowed by New York in any two-game span since 2010: allowed 41.2% between Weeks 5 and 6.
  • Zach Wilson completed 85.7% (18/21) of his passes in the second half of the Jets’ recent win. There have been 230 instances of a Jets quarterback attempting at least 20 passes in either half of a game in the last 30 seasons and Wilson’s rate in Week 14 is the highest.
  • The Dolphins lost to the Titans in regulation last week despite leading, 27-13, with 2:40 remaining in the game. Miami is the only team in the last 40 years to lose in regulation after leading by 14 or more points with three or fewer minutes remaining in the fourth quarter (regular season or postseason).
  • Tyreek Hill had four catches for 61 yards and a total of negative-two yards after catch in the Dolphins Week 14 loss to the Titans. This was Hill’s 114th career regular season game with multiple catches and the first time and he had negative yards after the catch.
  • The Dolphins are averaging 8.5 scrimmage yards per touch on offense, the highest average in the NFL so far in 2023. The Jets’ defense is holding opponents to 6.2 scrimmage yards per touch, the lowest average by any team this season.

KANSAS CITY CHIEFS (8-5) AT NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS (3-10)

QB PATRICK MAHOMES passed for 271 yards & TD vs. INT last week. Has 10 TDs vs. 3 INTs with 104.6 rating in 4 career starts vs. NE, incl. playoffs. Has 215 TD passes in 93 career games & can surpass HOFer Dan Marino (217) for most TD passes ever by player in 1st 100 games. • RB ISIAH PACHECO aims for his 4th in row with 85+ scrimmage yards & 3rd in row with rush TD. Has rush TD in 4 of his past 5 on road. Needs 12 yards for 1st-career 1,000-yard season. • RB CLYDE EDWARDS-HELAIRE had season-high 68 scrimmage yards (39 rush, 29 rec.) last week. Had 91 scrimmage yards (64 rush, 27 rec.) in last meeting. • RB JERICK MCKINNON had 1st rush TD of season in Week 14. • TE TRAVIS KELCE had 6 catches for 83 yards last week. Aims for 4th in row with 80+ rec. yards. Has 60+ rec. yards in 4 of 5 career reg. season games vs. NE. Ranks 3rd among TEs with 80 catches in 2023, 8th-career season with 75+ catches, tied 2nd-most ever by TE. Needs 104 rec. yards for 8th-straight 1,000-yard season. • WR RASHEE RICE (rookie) had 7 catches for 72 yards & TD last week. Aims for 4th in row with 7+ catches & 60+ rec. yards. Has rec. TD in 2 of past 3. Ranks tied-3rd among rookies with 6 rec. TDs. • WR MARQUEZ VALDES-SCANTLING had 101 rec. yards in only career game vs. NE (11/4/18 w/ GB). • DT CHRIS JONES aims for his 3rd in row vs. NE with sack. Is 1 of 2 (Myles Garrett) with 7+ sacks in each of past 6 seasons. • DE GEORGE KARLAFTIS has sack in 3 of past 4. Needs sack for 1st-career 10-sack season. • CB L’JARIUS SNEED had 7 tackles & season-high 3 PD in Week 14. Has 7+ tackles in 2 of past 3. • CB TRENT MCDUFFIE had 3rd sack of season & PD last week.

QB BAILEY ZAPPE set season highs in completions (19), comp. pct. (67.9), pass yards (240) & rating (115.2) & had career-high 3 TD passes last week. Has 6 TDs vs. 2 INTs & 103.1 rating in 4 career starts, with 100+ rating in 3 of 4 starts. • RB EZEKIEL ELLIOTT led team with season-high 140 scrimmage yards (72 rec., 68 rush) & had 1st rec. TD of season last week, 18th-career game with 125+ scrimmage yards & TD, tied 4thmost in NFL since 2016. Has 372 scrimmage yards (93 per game) over past 4 games, with 85+ scrimmage yards in 3 of 4. Has 161 scrimmage yards (80.5 per game) in 2 career games vs. KC. • WR JUJU SMITH SCHUSTER led team with season-high 90 rec. yards in Week 14. Had 13 catches for 121 yards & TD in his last game vs. KC (9/16/18 w/ Pit.). Had 78 catches for 933 yards & 3 TDs & won SB LVII in 2022 with KC. • WR DEMARIO DOUGLAS (rookie) aims for his 5th in row with 5+ catches. Has 55+ rec. yards in 2 of past 3. • TE HUNTER HENRY had 40 rec. yards & season-high 2 rec. TDs last week, 4th-career game with 2 rec. TDs. Aims for his 4th in row vs. KC with 5+ catches. Ranks tied-4th among TEs with 5 rec. TDs in 2023, 4th-career season with 5+ rec. TDs. • DT CHRISTIAN BARMORE had half sack in Week 14. Has TFL in 3 of past 4. Leads team with career-high 4.5 sacks in 2023. • LB JAHLANI TAVAI led team with career-high 14 tackles last week. Aims for 3rd in row with 7+ tackles. Has TFL in 2 of past 3. • LB JA’WHAUN BENTLEY has 7+ tackles in 3 of past 4. • CB KYLE DUGGER had 7 tackles & PD last week. Aims for 3rd in row with 5+ tackles. • CB J.C. JACKSON has PD in 2 of 3 career reg. season games vs. KC. • S JABRILL PEPPERS had 2nd INT of season in Week 14.

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. (AP) Travis Kelce could be spending some more time on the road in 2024 – and not just to see Taylor Swift in concert.

The diva-dating tight end and the rest of the Kansas City Chiefs (8-5) are in an unexpected fight for the division title and might have to play their first AFC playoff road game of the Patrick Mahomes era. The Chiefs are the No. 3 seed in the conference heading into Sunday’s game against New England (3-10), which could force them to play twice on the road to defend their Super Bowl title.

“The division is tight. The AFC is tight,” Mahomes said this week as he prepared to try and snap a two-game losing streak. “We have to go out there and play our best football and try to get better this week and try to find a way to get a win.”

With the Denver Broncos winning six of their last seven games, Kansas City is down to a one-game lead in the division – closer than it’s been in more than two months. Even if the Chiefs hold on to win the AFC West for the eighth straight year, the NFL’s 14-team playoff bracket could force them onto the road for the first time since 2015.

The good news: Their remaining schedule pits them against New England, Las Vegas (5-8), Cincinnati (7-6) and the Chargers (5-8).

“It’s week-to-week in the league. I think our players understand that,” Chiefs coach Andy Reid said. “They know what they need to do. We just have to get it done.”

SWIFT SIGHTING?

There’s been no word on whether Swift, who has been watching Kelce’s games when she isn’t on tour, will attend. Swift is familiar with Gillette Stadium, having played three nights there on her current Eras Tour and in other concerts as far back as 2010.

The pop icon and Time magazine Person of the Year does not head back on tour until February.

OUT AND ABOUT

The Patriots have already been eliminated from the playoffs with four games remaining – the first time that’s happened for New England since 2000. In the ensuing 22 seasons – combined – they only took the field twice with no hope of reaching the postseason.

The poor showing led to Sunday’s game being flexed out of “Monday Night Football” – an NFL first. But that doesn’t mean the rest of the season is meaningless.

With the worst record in the AFC – and tied with Arizona for the second-worst in the league – New England is on track for the No. 2 overall pick in the 2024 draft. The Patriots are two games better than Carolina (1-12), which has traded its first-rounder to the Bears.

Many Patriots fans have turned their attention to the draft, where the six-time Super Bowl champions could begin with a top pick like Southern California quarterback Caleb Williams, North Carolina QB Drake Maye or Ohio State receiver Marvin Harrison Jr.

But that’s not the mood in the locker room.

“We ain’t here to give games up,” defensive lineman Christian Barmore said. “We’re here to play football.”

CLOSE CALLS

One thing the Chiefs have lacked this season is the killer instinct they displayed during Mahomes’ first six seasons as the starting quarterback. They have had eight games decided by one possession, including four of the past five – and three of those were losses. In fact, four of the Chiefs’ five losses this season have been by a touchdown or less.

“We all want to win. We all believe in each other,” Chiefs safety Justin Reid said. “We just have to pull a little bit harder and find one or two plays to go out and get the win.”

GETTING DEFENSIVE

With so much anxiety surrounding the Kansas City offense these days, it is easy to overlook just how well its defense has played, especially in the secondary.

Defensive back L’Jarius Sneed held Buffalo star Stefon Diggs to four catches on 11 targets for 24 yards last week. Trent McDuffie has been one of the best cornerbacks in the league when he hasn’t been a terror on the blitz – he has three sacks – and as a whole, the secondary held the Bills’ Josh Allen to 233 yards on 42 attempts.

“We have everything we need to go be great out there,” McDuffie said. “I think it’s just a little details thing.”

  • The Chiefs have won each of their last two meetings with the Patriots, 23-16, in New England in 2019 and, 26-10, at home in 2020. The last time Kansas City won multiple games in a row against the Patriots was a three-game run between 1990 and 1995.
  • The Chiefs fell to the Bills, 20-17, at home last week and have now lost back-to-back games for the first time since Weeks 2 and 3, 2021. They have not lost more than two games in a row since a four-game losing streak in 2017 (Weeks 9-13).
  • Patrick Mahomes has thrown just one touchdown pass and one interception in each of his last two games. The only other times he has had two such games in a row are Weeks 7 & 8 and Weeks 11 & 13 of the 2021 season. He has never had three such games in a row.
  • The Patriots beat the Steelers, 21-18, in Pittsburgh last week. It was their second-most points in a game this season and most on the road (beat Buffalo 29-25 at home in Week 7). The Patriots had scored a combined 13 points in their previous three games.
  • Hunter Henry had two touchdown catches last week, the fourth multi-touchdown game of his career and first since Week 15, 2021. Henry had just three touchdowns all season prior to last week, and two of those came in the first two weeks of the season.
  • The Chiefs have converted 56.8 percent (21-for-37) of their third downs while in the red zone this season, the best mark in the league. The Patriots have converted just 16.7 percent (2-for-12) of their red-zone third downs, worst in the NFL.

NEW YORK GIANTS (5-8) AT NEW ORLEANS SAINTS (6-7)

QB TOMMY DEVITO (rookie) completed 17 of 21 atts. (81 pct.) for 158 yards & TD vs. 0 INTs for 113.9 rating & had 71 rush yards in Week 14, 2nd undrafted rookie in common-draft era with 80+ comp. pct. (min 15 atts.) in game. Is 1st undrafted rookie since 1967 with 100+ rating in 3 straight starts. Is 3rd undrafted rookie since 1970 to win 3+ starts. • RB SAQUON BARKLEY had 101 scrimmage yards (86 rush, 15 rec.) & 2 rush TDs in Week 14, his 3rd-career game with 2 rush TDs. Has 966 scrimmage yards in 2023 & needs 34 scrimmage yards for 4th-career 1,000-yard season. Has 90+ scrimmage yards in 6 of his past 7 road games. Had 126 scrimmage yards (74 rec., 52 rush) & 2 TDs (1 rush, 1 rec.) in last meeting & aims for his 3rd in row vs. NO with 100+ scrimmage yards & TD. • WR WAN’DALE ROBINSON had 6 catches & career-high 115 scrimmage yards (79 rec., 36 rush) in Week 14, his 2nd-career game with 100+ scrimmage yards. • WR ISAIAH HODGINS had 3rd rec. TD of season in Week 14 & aims for his 3rd in row with TD catch. • LB KAYVON THIBODEAUX aims for his 3rd in row with FF & 4th in row with 0.5+ sacks. Has career highs in TFL (12), sacks (11.5) & FFs (3) in 2023. • LB BOBBY OKEREKE is only player this season with 100+ tackles (119), 9+ TFL (9) & 8+ PD (8). Has 10+ tackles in 4 of his past 5 on road. • LB MICAH MCFADDEN aims for his 4th in row on road with TFL. • S XAVIER MCKINNEY had 2nd-career FR last week. • CB DEONTE BANKS became 4th rookie DB since 2000 with 12 tackles, TFL & PD in single game last week. Has PD in 6 of his past 7 & aims for his 3rd in row with PD.

QB DEREK CARR passed for 2 TDs vs. INT for 88.5 rating in Week 14. Has 2,880 pass yards in 2023 & can join HOFer Peyton Manning & Russell Wilson as only QBs ever with 3,000+ pass yards in each of 1st 10 career seasons. Has 3,480 career completions & can join Matt Ryan (3,630) as only players all-time with 3,500+ completions in 1st 10 career seasons. Aims for his 3rd in row vs. NYG with 285+ pass yards & TD pass. • RB ALVIN KAMARA had 5th rush TD of season last week. Has 966 scrimmage yards in 2023 & needs 34 scrimmage yards for 7th-straight 1,000-yard season. Leads all RBs with 63 catches this season, his 5th-career 60+ catch season. Has 301 scrimmage yards (150.5 per game) & 3 rush TDs in 2 career games vs. NYG & aims for his 3rd in row vs. NYG with 120+ scrimmage yards. • WR CHRIS OLAVE had 4th rec. TD of season last week. Needs 82 rec. yards for 2nd-straight 1,000-yard season. • TE JIMMY GRAHAM had 88th-career reg.-season rec. TD, 4thmost among TEs all-time. Aims for his 3rd in row with TD catch. • DE CAMERON JORDAN has TFL in 3 of his past 4 vs. NYG. • DE CARL GRANDERSON had sack last week & has career-high 6.5 sacks in 2023. Has TFL in 3 of his past 4 home games. • LB DEMARIO DAVIS had 1.5 sacks in Week 14 & has 5.5 sacks in 2023, his 4th-career 5-sack season. Needs 9 tackles for 7thstraight & 9th-career 100-tackle season. • CB PAULSON ADEBO (14 PD), CB ALONTAE TAYLOR (12) & CB ISAAC YIADOM (10 PD) are 1 of 2 DB trios (PHI DBs Reed Blankenship, James Bradberry & Darius Slay) with 10+ PD each in 2023. • DB JORDAN HOWDEN (rookie) led team with career-high 10 tackles & had 1st-career sack & 1st-career FF in Week 14.

NEW ORLEANS (AP) The dichotomy between the quarterback situations of the New York Giants and New Orleans Saints is as stark as it is unusual.

New York is going gaga over undrafted rookie Tommy DeVito, whose opportunistic play and inclination to lean in to his Italian heritage have transformed him from a relative unknown into a charismatic and galvanizing force on a Giants squad that has surprisingly won three straight.

“I appreciate the support from everybody,” DeVito said. “I’m just trying to continue to be me. I’m going to let my personality show. That’s it.”

The Superdome, meanwhile, has sounded like boo-bird central when $150 million free-agent acquisition Derek Carr has taken the field with the Saints’ oft-sputtering offense recently.

“That’s the way they can show their frustration,” Carr said, adding that he understood the fans’ sentiments. “All of our expectations were so high, and our expectations still should be high.”

When New Orleans (6-7) hosts the Giants (5-8) on Sunday, the young QB affectionately known as “Tommy Cutlets” will try to add another chapter to his storybook rise in the Big Apple. Carr, by contrast, will look to change the narrative surrounding his frustrating first season in the Big Easy.

“Everything is still in front of us,” said Carr, who was part of a 2021 Raiders team that rallied to make the playoffs at 10-7 after starting 6-7. “I keep staying this: This is the time to do it. This is the time to get hot, right now.”

Neither team has had a good season. Yet either could realistically wind up in the postseason.

The Saints are in a three-way tie for first place in the anemic NFC South. And the fact that 6-7 Green Bay entered Week 15 tenuously holding the final NFC wild-card spot means both New York and New Orleans remain in contention for that as well.

But neither team has much margin for error, giving their matchup a high-stakes vibe.

“Every game is amplified just because we are on that fringe and we have the potential to be in the hunt,” Giants linebacker Micah McFadden said.

“From here on out, because we have earned this situation, every week is a playoff game,” Carr said. “I know both sides are feeling that.”

DIGGING DEVITO

As much as the Saints would rather not see DeVito maintain his mojo this week, they appreciate the stir the New Jersey native’s early success has caused in New York.

“He’s done a really good job operating their offense and creating a spark,” Saints coach Dennis Allen said. “They’re obviously rallying around him. It’s a good story for them in terms of a hometown kid who’s come in as an undrafted free agent. … He’s stepped up and taken advantage of his opportunity and is playing well.”

Saints defensive tackle Khalin Saunders has enjoyed the way DeVito has played up his Italian roots.

“I’m happy he’s kind of taken it and run with it instead of making it a sensitive subject,” Saunders said. “He seems like a cool dude to me. … I’m genuinely happy for the kid.”

TAKE THE BALL

In the last four games, the Giants defense has forced 12 turnovers. Special teams also has recovered two fumbles on punt returns.

New York is now plus-6 in turnover differential, somewhat unusual for a team three games under .500. The Giants and Saints both have 22 takeaways this season, meaning both offenses will need to prioritize ball security.

“It’s guys taking advantage of the situations,” Giants defensive coordinator Wink Martindale said. “They’re becoming better finishers at the football.”

BANGED-UP CARR

Carr was off the injury report this week after being limited a week earlier, when he was recovering from a concussion, sore throwing shoulder and rib injury.

“There was no re-aggravation, so that was nice,” Carr said. “I feel better this week than I did this time last week. But sore, like everybody else.”

Carr has been knocked out of three games this season and concussed twice since Nov. 12, but has not missed a start.

“I was taught a long time ago by a coach that, if you can be out there for your team – especially at quarterback – it says a lot for your teammates and for the coaches,” Carr said. “Maybe I wasn’t at my best, but that kind of respect goes a long way in building unity.”

BETTER BLOCKING

After injuries caused the Giants to seemingly change their offensive line on a weekly basis, New York has played the same unit the past four weeks.

Andrew Thomas is at left tackle, Justin Pugh at left guard, rookie John Michael Schmitz at center, Ben Bredeson at right guard and Tyre Phillips at right tackle. The unit did not allow a sack against Green Bay on Monday night and the offense rushed for 209 yards.

Offensive tackle Evan Neal, the No. 7 overall pick in the 2022 draft, has returned to practice this week after missing the last four games with a sprained ankle. It will be interesting to see if the Giants elect to return him to the starting lineup if he is ready.

  • These teams have alternated wins and losses over their last six meetings, with the Giants winning their most recent matchup, 27-21, in overtime in New Orleans in Week 4, 2021. Prior to that, the Saints had won three straight home games against New York, scoring at least 48 points in all three wins.
  • The Giants beat the Packers, 24-22, at home last week and have now won three straight games for the first time since a four-game streak from Weeks 4-7 last season. They had a season-high 209 rushing yards last week — since 2016, the Giants are 8-1 when rushing for at least 200 yards (loss came this season against the Jets).
  • Last week, Tommy DeVito became the first starting quarterback to complete at least 80 percent of his passes, rush for 70 yards, commit no turnovers and take no sacks in a game since quarterback starts have been tracked (1950).
  • The Saints beat the Panthers, 28-6, at home last week, despite possessing the ball for a season-low 25:10. It was the largest win in franchise history in a game in which the Saints had fewer than 26 minutes of possession.
  • Derek Carr has thrown at least one interception and taken at least one sack in each of his last three games. It is tied for the second-longest streak of his career within a single season. His only longer streak was a four-game streak in Weeks 14-17, 2021.
  • The Giants’ defense has forced a three-and-out on 24.8 percent of drives this season, best in the NFC and third best in the NFL. The Giants offense has gone three-and-out on 32.3 percent of its drives, the highest mark in the league.

HOUSTON TEXANS (7-6) AT TENNESSEE TITANS (5-8)

QB C.J. STROUD has 0 INTs in each of past 3 & 105+ rating in 2 of past 3. Has 0 INTs in 5 of 6 road games this season. Has 968 pass yards (322.7 per game) & 7 TDs (6 pass, 1 rush) vs. 0 INTs with 111.5 rating in 3 starts vs. division this season. Ranks 2nd in NFL with 3,631 passing yards this season. • QB DAVIS MILLS can make 1st start of season. Has 5 TDs vs. 2 INTs with 93.3 rating in 3 career starts vs. Ten. • RB DEVIN SINGLETARY rushed for 65 yards & 3rd TD of season last week. Has 65+ scrimmage yards in 4 of past 5. Aims for 3rd in row on road with rush TD. • RB DAMEON PIERCE had TD catch in only career game vs. Ten. (10/30/22). Has rush TD in each of 2 career road division games. • WR NICO COLLINS has 100+ rec. yards & rec. TD in 2 of past 3 overall & in 2 of 3 division games this season. Has 1st-career season with 1,000+ (1,004) rec. yards. • WR NOAH BROWN has 55+ rec. yards in 2 of his past 3 on road. • WR ROBERT WOODS had 7 catches for 98 yards in his last game vs. Ten. (11/7/21 w/ LAR). Had 527 rec. yards in 2022 w/ Ten. • TE DALTON SCHULTZ has 65+ rec. yards in 2 of his past 3 on road. Had 2 rec. TDs in his last game vs. Ten. (12/29/22 w/ Dal.). • DE WILL ANDERSON (rookie) has 5 TFL in his past 4. • DE JONATHAN GREENARD had 6 tackles, 2 sacks & PD last week. Aims for 3rd in row with sack. Has 5.5 sacks in his past 3 on road. Had TFL & FR in last meeting. Has career-high 10 sacks in 2023, 1st Hou. player with 10+ sacks since 2018 (J.J. Watt). • LB CHRISTIAN HARRIS led team with 10 tackles & had 1st FF of season last week. Has 10+ tackles in 2 of past 3. Had 2 PD & only career INT in last meeting. • CB DEREK STINGLEY has 8 PD in his past 4.

QB WILL LEVIS completed 23 of 38 atts. (60.5 pct.) for career high 327 yards & TD vs. INT last week, becoming 5th rookie in franchise history with 300+ pass yards in a game. Has 0 INTs in 3 of past 4. Has 5 TDs vs. 0 INTs with 99.6 rating in 3 home starts this season. Ranks 3rd among rookies with 1,593 pass yards. • RB DERRICK HENRY has 2 rush TDs in 3 straight games, longest active streak in NFL & tied-longest streak of career. Has 23 career games with 2+ rush TDs, tied with HOFer Jim Brown for 5th-most ever by player in 1st 8 seasons. Aims for his 6th in row vs. Hou. with 125+ rush yards & rush TD. Has rush TD in 5 of 6 home games this season. Has 10 rush TDs in 2023 & is 3rd player ever with 10+ rush TDs in 6 straight seasons. • RB TYJAE SPEARS (rookie) had career-high 118 scrimmage yards (89 rec., 29 rush) & 6 catches last week. Aims for 3rd in row with 85+ scrimmage yards. • WR DEANDRE HOPKINS led team with 7 catches for 124 yards & TD last week, 3rd 100-yard game this season. Aims for 3rd in row with 5+ catches, 75+ rec. yards & rec. TD. Had 7 catches for 53 yards & TD in only career game vs. Hou. (10/24/21 w/ Ari.). Ranks 2nd in Hou. franchise history in catches (632), rec. yards (8,602) & rec. TDs (54). • TE CHIGOZIEM OKONKWO had 5 catches for 46 yards last week. • DE DENICO AUTRY has sack in 2 of past 3. Aims for 4th in row at home with sack. Had 2 TFL, 2 PD, sack & FF in last meeting, • LB HAROLD LANDRY had career-high 3 sacks in Week 14, 5thcareer game with 2+ sacks. Has TFL in 3 of his past 4 vs. Hou. • LB AZEEZ AL-SHAAIR aims for 3rd in row with 10+ tackles. • LB ARDEN KEY had sack last week, 3rd-straight game with 0.5+ sacks. Has sack in 2 of 4 career games vs. Hou. • CB SEAN MURPHY-BUNTING had 7 tackles, 2 TFL & PD last week.

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) The Tennessee Titans love rookie quarterback Will Levis’ energy, enthusiasm and competitiveness.

Just not when he takes off running.

The 6-foot-4, 229-pound Levis crashed into Miami cornerback Jalen Ramsey after escaping a sack, making the 6-1 three-time All-Pro look like an economy car hit by an SUV. The Titans (5-8) have shown Levis videos of quarterbacks sliding in an effort to show how NFL rules can protect him.

“I guess we’ll have to show him examples of quarterbacks not sliding and getting the (crap) knocked out of them,” Titans coach Mike Vrabel said.

If Levis needs a reminder that being available matters most in the NFL, Sunday offers just that. Fellow rookie C.J. Stroud is in the concussion protocol for Houston (7-6) after his head bounced off the turf while being sacked in last week’s 30-6 road loss to the New York Jets.

First-year Houston coach DeMeco Ryans said not many players return a week later from a concussion. That likely applies to Stroud, who’s currently second in the NFL with 3,631 yards passing and is the biggest reason Houston is a game back of defending AFC South champ Jacksonville in the division.

“It’s more about their long-term health, as opposed to, just everybody gets excited about the next game and the next opportunity,” Ryans said.

That means Davis Mills likely makes his first start this season, and he has played well in three career starts against Tennessee, posting a 93.3 passer rating.

Levis just had the first 300-yard passing game of his career and is 3-4 as a starter. He led the Titans to 15 points Monday night in the span of 51 seconds to stun Miami 28-27. His first road win snapped the Titans’ nine-game road skid and gives them a chance at consecutive wins for the first time this season.

The rookie celebrated by chest-bumping a teammate followed by hugging offensive coordinator Tim Kelly.

“He’s got those crazy eyes, you know, when he starts hulking out,” Kelly said of Levis. “But I was proud of him, and it was a cool moment for him.”

Levis knows being calm, cool and collected is important at his position, but he has to be himself.

“Show those emotions and wear your heart on your sleeve sometimes,” Levis said.

HENRY’S RUN

Two-time NFL rushing leader Derrick Henry has run for at least 126 yards in his past five games against Houston, topping 211 in the other four. He is averaging 115 yards in his 12 games against the Texans. This season, he’s third in the NFL with 875 yards and has run for two TDs in three straight games.

Henry also joined LaDainian Tomlinson (eight) and Adrian Peterson (seven) as the only NFL players to post at least six consecutive seasons with at least 1,000 yards from scrimmage and 10 rushing TDs.

JUST KICKIN’ IT

Houston kicker Ka’imi Fairbairn is expected to return Sunday after missing five games with a quadriceps injury. Matt Ammendola, who has filled in since Fairbairn was injured, was released Wednesday.

The kicker in his seventh season with the Texans has made 18 of 19 field goals this year and all 14 extra points. He isn’t worried about rust in his return.

“Just doing mental reps is the biggest thing,” Fairbairn said. “Feeling that pressure of a game kick, you can really only replicate that on game day.”

HEY, OLD FRIEND

This is the second time the Texans have faced their former star receiver DeAndre Hopkins since trading him away after the 2019 season. He had seven receptions for 53 yards for Arizona in a win over Houston in 2021. Drafted 27th overall in 2013, he is Houston’s second-leading receiver with 8,602 yards and 54 TDs.

Hopkins leads Tennessee with 57 catches for 898 yards and six TDs.

“A friendly target for a young quarterback to throw to,” Ryans said. “Hopkins has made a ton of plays for them. You see the speed down the field, you see the catch radius. He’s having a great year.”

Houston’s receiving corps is banged-up. Rookie Tank Dell is on injured reserve. Nico Collins, who has a team-high 1,004 yards receiving, has an injured calf. Robert Woods, who led Tennessee with 527 yards receiving last season, is Houston’s third-leading receiver.

SALTY RIVALRY

The Titans, who started as the Houston Oilers in 1960 in the AFL, will be wearing their throwback uniforms with the oil derrick logo for the second time this season. They wore them Oct. 29 in a win over Atlanta.

Now the Titans will wear them again against the franchise that got the new stadium the late Bud Adams couldn’t get built in Houston. That’s what prompted him to move his Oilers to Tennessee in 1997.

  • The Titans lost to the Texans last year despite a fifth straight 100-yard rushing performance against them by Derrick Henry (125 yards). The next closest streak of 100+ rushing-yard games against the Texans is three games (Jonathan Taylor and Edgerrin James).
  • On Sunday, Houston lost to the Jets after having 135 total net yards in the game, the Texans’ fourth game with fewer than 150 net yards in the last five seasons. That is tied with the Jets for the most games in that time with fewer than 150 net yards.
  • Against the Jets, Jonathan Greenard had his third game this season with at least two sacks. Only T.J. Watt (four), Josh Allen (four) and Khalil Mack (five) have more games with at least two sacks this season.
  • Last week against the Dolphins, the Titans became the first team in NFL history to win a game in regulation despite trailing by at least 14 points with 2:55 remaining in the fourth quarter.
  • In Miami on Monday, Will Levis threw for 327 passing yards on 23 completions. Only two other rookies in franchise history have had road games with 300+ passing yards and 20+ completions: Marcus Mariota (vs. New Orleans in 2015) and Jacky Lee (vs. Boston in 1960).
  • The Titans’ defense is allowing opponents to score touchdowns on just 41.7 percent of goal-to-go drives this season (10-for-24). That leads the NFL, with the next-closest team allowing a goal-to-go touchdown efficiency of 56.0 percent (Buccaneers).

SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS (10-3) AT ARIZONA CARDINALS (3-10)

49ERS clinched playoff berth for 3rd-straight season. • QB BROCK PURDY completed 19 of 27 atts. (70.4 pct.) for career-high 368 yards & 2 TDs vs. INT for 122.1 rating in Week 14 & became 4th QB ever with 70+ comp. pct. in 7 straight games within single season. Has 12 games with 110+ rating, tied 3rd-most by QB in 1st 2 seasons all-time. Has 5 TDs (4 pass, 1 rush) vs. 0 INTs for 146 rating in 2 career starts vs. Ari. Leads NFL in rating (116.9) & comp. pct. (70.2), ranks tied2nd in TD passes (25) & 3rd in pass yards (3,553) this season. • RB CHRISTIAN MCCAFFREY had 153 scrimmage yards (145 rush, 8 rec.) in Week 14. Leads NFL in scrimmage yards (1,614) & rush yards (1,177) & ranks 2nd in scrimmage TDs (17) in 2023. Aims for his 7th in row overall with 100+ scrimmage yards. Has 100+ scrimmage yards in 5 of his 6 career games vs. Ari., incl. 177 scrimmage yards & career-high 4 TDs (3 rush, 1 rec.) in Week 4 meeting. • WR DEEBO SAMUEL last week became 2nd player ever (Timmy Brown) with 100+ rec. yards (149), rec. TD & rush TD in consecuive games. Aims for his 4th in row with 90+ scrimmage yards & TD. • WR BRANDON AIYUK had 126 rec. yards in Week 14, his 9thcareer game with 100+ rec. yards. Has 1,053 rec. yards in 2023 & is 4th 49ers WR ever with consecutive 1,000 rec. yard seasons. • TE GEORGE KITTLE had 76 rec. yards & 6th rec. TD of season last week. Became 5th TE ever with 6,000+ rec. yards (6,065) in 1st 7 career seasons. Has 5 rec. TDs in his past 4 vs. Ari. • DL NICK BOSA had 1.5 sacks last week & has 1.5+ sacks in 4 of his past 5. Aims for his 6th in row vs. Ari. with TFL. • LB FRED WARNER had 4th INT of season last week, most among LBs in 2023. Has 107 tackles in 2023, his 6th-straight 100+ tackle season. • DB CHARVARIUS WARD leads NFL with career-high 20 PD in 2023.

QB KYLER MURRAY had TD pass vs. 0 INTs for 89.9 rating in Week 13. Has rush TD in 3 of 4 starts in 2023 & aims for his 3rd in row at home with rush TD. Has 70+ comp. pct. & 100+ rating in 2 of his 3 career home starts vs. SF. • RB JAMES CONNER rushed for 105 yards & 2 TDs in Week 13, his 2nd game with 100+ rush yards this season. Has 12 games with 2+ rush TDs since 2018, tied 2nd-most among RBs. Has 5 TDs (4 rush, 1 rec.) in 5 career games vs. SF & aims for his 3rd in row at home vs. SF with rush TD. • TE TREY MCBRIDE had 8 receptions for 89 rec. yards & 2nd rec. TD of season last week. Since Week 8, ranks 2nd among TEs in receptions (41) & 3rd in rec. yards (440). Aims for his 4th in row at home with 7+ receptions & 60+ rec. yards. • WR MARQUISE BROWN has 4+ receptions in 5 of 6 home games this season. Had season highs in catches (7) & rec. yards (96) in Week 4 meeting. • S BUDDA BAKER had 8 tackles & 6th-career game with 2 TFL in Week 13. Aims for his 13th in row at home with 5+ tackles. Has INT in 2 of his past 3 vs. SF. Aims for his 4th in row vs. SF with PD & 10th in row vs. SF with 5+ tackles. • S JALEN THOMPSON has INT in 2 of his past 3. Aims for his 4th in row with 7+ tackles. • LB DENNIS GARDECK had career-high 2 PD in Week 13. Had sack in Week 4 meeting. • LB JOSH WOODS led team with 12 tackles in Week 13, his 2ndcareer 10+ tackle game. • LB BJ OJULARI (rookie) had 1st-career PD in Week 13. Has sack in 2 of his past 3 at home. • DT DANTE STILLS (rookie) had 1st-career FR in Week 13.

GLENDALE, Ariz. (AP) The Arizona Cardinals have been reasonably competent since quarterback Kyler Murray returned last month.

They’ll need a lot more than competence when they host the San Francisco 49ers on Sunday.

The NFC West-leading Niners have looked like the league’s best team during their current five-game winning streak. San Francisco clinched its third straight playoff berth last week and can clinch its first division title since 2019 with a win this weekend.

“When you watch the tape, all three phases jump out to you,” first-year Cardinals coach Jonathan Gannon said. “They’ve got good players, they’re well coached and they win games so that’s what everybody in the NFL is trying to do.”

Aside from a midseason three-week swoon when some key players were hurt, San Francisco has delivered. Its current streak includes victories over Jacksonville, Tampa Bay, Seattle, Philadelphia and Seattle again. All of those teams are still in the playoff hunt.

The Cardinals have no such aspirations – at least for this season.

But since Murray’s return, Arizona has gone 2-2 with wins over the Falcons and Steelers. The Cardinals are coming off their bye week, enjoying some rest after playing 13 straight weeks.

Niners defensive end Nick Bosa said Murray has been impressive on video. The fifth-year quarterback has thrown for 864 yards, three touchdowns and two interceptions while also running for 106 yards and three TDs.

“I think he looks great moving around and I think he’s actually playing this scheme better than the previous regime there,” Bosa said. “He’s kind of sitting in the pocket and playing quarterback more. Then obviously the run game and the scrambles, he’s an added element there.”

For his part, Murray said the 49ers have unparalleled defensive depth.

“They’ve got a ton of guys over there, more than probably anybody in the league,” Murray said. “And we know, since I got into the league it’s been like that. I’m not going to say I’m used to it, but we’ve got to be ready for a war.”

DOMINANT DEEBO

Niners receiver Deebo Samuel is back to the All-Pro form he showed in 2021. The versatile playmaker has 288 yards from scrimmage and five TDs the last two weeks, becoming the second player ever to have back-to-back games with at least 100 yards receiving, a TD run and a TD catch. Samuel has 900 yards from scrimmage and nine TDs this season despite missing two full games and part of a third with injuries in October.

“Since coming back from injury, I can see the level of play just getting better and better, week in and week out,” he said.

1,000 IN SIGHT

Cardinals running back James Conner has a chance to top 1,000 yards rushing in a season for the first time in his career despite having missed four games with a knee injury.

The 28-year-old has 631 yards rushing and four touchdowns. He’ll need to average more than 90 yards on the ground over the final four weeks, which is plausible considering he ran for 105 yards and two touchdowns in a win against the Steelers on Dec. 3.

San Francisco, however, ranks No. 1 in the league in rushing defense.

PRESSURE PACKAGE

The trade-deadline acquisition of Chase Young has provided a big boost to San Francisco’s pass rush. The Niners have a league-high 22 sacks in the five games since Young arrived from Washington. Young’s presence has opened things up for his former college teammate Bosa, who has 6 1/2 sacks in the past five games after having just three in the first eight.

Murray and Bosa were taken No. 1 and No. 2, respectively, in the 2019 draft.

“I respect Nick a lot,” Murray said. “I love to go against great players. Us coming in together, I think that’s pretty cool. I think we both take pride in that. It’s a special deal to be in the NFL so to be able to go against these guys – we’ve both been in the same organization for a long time.

“Hopefully, we’ll continue to be here even longer and go against each other for the rest of our time here.”

McBRIDE RISING

Trey McBride has already tied the Arizona franchise record for catches by a tight end in a season with 56. He has 440 yards receiving and two touchdowns over his past six games.

Murray said he’s appreciated McBride’s success but has just one criticism.

“His celebrations are a little awkward,” Murray said, grinning. “I think his swag will get better as he keeps having success. Tight ends, you never know what you’re getting with them, but I love it though. Love it. Want him to play with that edge, want him to play with that chip. A little bit of craziness, you’ve got to have it and he’s got a good mix of all of it.”

  • San Francisco is 6-3 against Arizona over the last five seasons, including a 35-16 victory in Week 4 this season. The 49ers have won three consecutive games in the series by 3+ scores dating back to Week 11 last season, with their +72 point differential being the highest all-time over a three-game span between the two teams.
  • Brock Purdy has posted a 70.0 completion percentage in seven consecutive games since Week 6. He joins Joe Montana (1989), Drew Brees (2016), and Sam Bradford (2016) as the only quarterbacks to have a seven-game streak in a season.
  • In Week 14, Christian McCaffrey recorded his 23rd career game with 150 scrimmage yards, the most among active players. Among active players, he’s the fastest to reach 10,000+ scrimmage yards in his career (88 games, tied for ninth fastest all-time with Walter Payton).
  • In Week 13, James Conner recorded his second career game with 25+ rushing attempts, 100+ rushing yards, and two rushing touchdowns, but first as a Cardinal. Only two running backs have produced 25+ carries, 100+ rushing yards, and 2+ rushing touchdowns in multiple games as a member of the Cardinals (Ottis Anderson and David Johnson).
  • Since Week 7, Trey McBride ranks second in receptions (41) and third in receiving yards (440) among tight ends. His 41 catches and 440 receiving yards at the tight end position each rank as the most by a Cardinal over a six-game span in the Super Bowl era.
  • Deebo Samuel (149 receiving yards, one receiving touchdown, and one rushing touchdown in Week 14) is the first player in NFL history with 115+ receiving yards, 1+ touchdown reception, and 1+ rushing touchdown in consecutive games.

WASHINGTON COMMANDERS (4-9) AT LOS ANGELES RAMS (6-7)

QB SAM HOWELL had career-high 2 rush TD in Week 13 & aims for his 4th in row with rush TD. Leads NFL with 335 completions & ranks 3rd in NFC with 3,466 pass yards in 2023. Aims for his 4th in row on road with 300+ pass yards. • RB BRIAN ROBINSON aims for his 7th in row with 50+ scrimmage yards. Has career highs in scrimmage yards (990) & scrimmage TDs (8) in 2023. • RB ANTONIO GIBSON had 72 scrimmage yards (37 rec., 35 rush) in Week 13. Is 1 of 4 RBs (Austin Ekeler, Alvin Kamara & D’Andre Swift) with 35+ catches in each of past 4 seasons. • WR TERRY MCLAURIN has 359 receptions & 4,975 rec. yards since entering NFL in 2019, incl. 55+ catches & 600+ rec. yards in each season. Has 50+ rec. yards in 11 of his past 12 road games. • WR CURTIS SAMUEL aims for his 3rd in row with 65+ rec. yards. Has 4th-career season with 50+ receptions (51) & 500+ rec. yards (508) in 2023. • WR JAHAN DOTSON has 50+ rec. yards in 2 of his past 3 on road. • DT JONATHAN ALLEN needs 1 TFL for 3rd-straight season with 10+ TFL. Had 8 tackles in last meeting. • DT DARON PAYNE aims for his 4th in row with TFL & has 10 TFL for 2nd-straight season (career-high 18 TFL in 2022). • LB CODY BARTON had 11 tackles in Week 14, his 4th game with 10+ tackles in 2023. Has TFL in 2 of his past 3 on road. Had INT in his last game at LAR (12/4/22 w/ Sea.) & aims for his 3rd in row vs. LAR with PD. • S KAMREN CURL ranks tied-3rd among DBs with 97 tackles in 2023 & is 1 of 3 DBs (Kevin Byard & Antoine Winfield Jr.) with 80+ tackles in each of past 4 seasons. • CB BENJAMIN ST-JUSTE has 2+ PD in 4 of his past 5 on road.

QB MATTHEW STAFFORD passed for 294 yards & 3 TDs vs. 0 INTs for 103.1 rating in Week 14. Has 352 career TD passes & became 6th player with 350+ TD passes before age 36. Has 3,062 pass yards in 2023, his 11th-career 3,000-yard season, tied 2nd-most among active QBs. Aims for his 4th in row with 3+ TD passes & 100+ rating. Has 1,380 pass yards (276 per game) & 11 TDs vs. 2 INTs for 99.8 rating in 5 career starts vs. Was. • RB KYREN WILLIAMS rushed for 114 yards in Week 14. Has career-high 990 scrimmage yards in 9 games & is 1 of 3 (Tyreek Hill & Christian McCaffrey) with 110+ scrimmage yards per game in 2023. Aims for his 5th in row with 110+ scrimmage yards. • WR COOPER KUPP had 8 catches for 115 yards & 3rd rec. TD of season last week, his 30th career game with 5+ catches & 100+ rec. yards. Aims for his 3rd in row with TD catch. • WR PUKA NACUA leads rookies with 82 receptions, 3rd-most by player in 1st 13 games in NFL history. Became 4th rookie in SB era with 1,100+ rec. yards (1,113) in 1st 13 career games. • TE DAVIS ALLEN (rookie) had 50 rec. yards & 1st-career TD catch in Week 14. • DT AARON DONALD has 13 TFL in 2023 & is only player with 10+ TFL in each of past 10 seasons. Tied his career high with 4 sacks & had FF in last meeting & aims for his 5th in row vs. Was. with TFL. • LB ERNEST JONES led team with 10 tackles & had sack in Week 14. Has career highs in tackles (118) & TFL (9) in 2023. Has 10+ tackles in 5 of 6 home games this season. • LB BYRON YOUNG had 6th sack of season last week, most among rookies. Aims for his 4th in row with TFL. • CB AHKELLO WITHERSPOON had 3rd INT of season last week. Has career-high 11 PD in 2023.

INGLEWOOD, Calif. (AP) Matthew Stafford has played some of the best football of his 15-year career over the past month, and now he’s about to lead Cooper Kupp, Puka Nacua and the Los Angeles Rams against the worst pass defense in the NFL.

Yet the Rams (6-7) and their offense-minded head coach are not excessively confident about their chances against the Washington Commanders (4-9), whose four-game skid and brutal defensive efforts appear to pave Los Angeles’ path to a prolific game Sunday at SoFi Stadium.

“You don’t get into that,” said Sean McVay, an assistant for seven years in Washington before getting the top job in LA in 2017. “The film is what talks to me. I think sometimes stats can be really inflated and very misleading based on how some games unfold. … I don’t see those types of things when I flip the tape onto this defense.”

McVay identified talent throughout the Commanders’ defensive lineup, and he praised Washington coach Ron Rivera for keeping his team together during a challenging stretch. He also noted that the Commanders are coming off their bye, allowing them to get refreshed and refocused on the four games ahead.

Yet the final stretch means much more to the Rams, who are in the thick of the NFC playoff race despite a heartbreaking overtime loss to AFC-leading Baltimore that stopped their three-game winning streak last weekend.

Los Angeles’ next three games are against teams with losing records, creating a reasonable route to the postseason just one year after an injury-plagued team went 5-12 in its Super Bowl title defense.

“They’ve got nothing to lose,” Rams safety John Johnson said of the Commanders. “They can come out here, visit LA, have fun. They’re not really stressed out about a loss. We’re fighting for our postseason. Definitely a must-win for us. They’re basically playing with house money. They can go out there, have fun and just try to put up a lot of points and ruin our party. It’s definitely a challenge, and we can’t let them do it.”

HOWELL’S HEALTH

McVay and Johnson both expressed respect for Sam Howell, the mobile Washington quarterback who hasn’t allowed a whopping 58 sacks to deter him from his swashbuckling style of play.

“He’s definitely a guy that can torture you, and he’s been doing it week in and week out,” Johnson said.

Howell has topped 300 yards passing four times in his past six games despite getting sacked 18 times in that stretch. He relaxed at home in North Carolina during the bye, but he’s determined to keep growing despite the bleakness of Washington’s circumstances.

“I want to make better decisions, take better care of the football,” Howell said. “I just want to be really, really consistent. I think I’ve done some really good things this year. I just need to do it at a more consistent rate. I think that’s my goal to go into these last four games: To be really consistent and make plays and just play winning football. We still have a lot to play for.”

COMMANDERS VS DONALD

Howell has been sacked 58 times and is on pace to tie David Carr’s NFL record of being sacked 76 times in a season. Enter Aaron Donald, who logged four sacks against Washington in 2020.

“Four sacks, period, is crazy, but as an interior guy it’s even crazier,” Commanders receiver Terry McLaurin said. “It’s a testament to his work ethic, the kind of player he is, and obviously you’ve got to account for where he is. I know we’re going to have a good plan for that, and I know our linemen are going to be up for that challenge.”

Commanders tight end Logan Thomas goes way back with Donald: Thomas was sacked by Donald when the pass rusher played for Pitt and Thomas was Virginia Tech’s quarterback.

“Best defensive player in our generation, most likely,” Thomas said, then added with a laugh: “He’s not hard to miss. That mouth runs a decent amount. He ain’t afraid to say it, either.”

SACK MASTERS

The Rams can also pressure Howell with edge rusher Byron Young, who leads all NFL rookies with six sacks this season – a half-sack ahead of his teammate, nose tackle Kobie Turner. Both rookies realize they’re getting the famous benefits of playing next to the double- and triple-teams habitually drawn by Donald.

GIBSON’S SPOTLIGHT

Brian Robinson Jr. and Antonio Gibson have shared carries for the Commanders so far this season, but Robinson missed practice this week with a hamstring injury, setting Gibson up to carry the load ahead of his impending free agency.

Gibson struggled in an offense that provided limited touches earlier this season, but said he’s adjusted.

“I feel like I did that early in the season, trying to press it, because I wasn’t getting it as much,” he said. “I just had to calm down. So whenever I get the ball, just make the best of the opportunity, and be myself, and not try to do anything extra.”

Washington will also likely use the final four games to see what sixth-round pick Chris Rodriguez Jr. can do after the rookie got just 31 carries so far this season.

  • The Commanders hold a 24-12-1 (.667) lead over the Rams in the regular-season series, their best record against any current NFC team. The teams have split their two meetings since the Rams moved back to Los Angeles with the road team winning each game.
  • Washington is coming off its bye having lost four straight games with the last two coming by 35 and 30 points, respectively. It’s only the fourth time Washington has lost consecutive games by at least 30 points, most recently in 2001. The Commanders have lost three straight by 30+ points just once, in the 1954 season.
  • Over his last three games, Sam Howell has one passing touchdown and four rushing touchdowns. He is the first Washington QB all-time with at least four rush TD and no more than one pass TD over a three-start span. The only active QBs to have such a span are Jalen Hurts (2021) and Lamar Jackson (2019).
  • The Rams fell to the Ravens in overtime last week, 37-31, despite having 410 yards of total offense and no turnovers. It was only their second loss with 400+ total yards and zero turnovers in the Super Bowl era (also 2008 Week 17 at Atlanta).
  • Kyren Williams piled up 114 rushing yards against Baltimore, his fourth 100-yard rushing game of the season, one behind Christian McCaffrey for the NFL lead. Since returning from injury in Week 12, Williams has averaged 143.0 scrimmage yards per game, best in the NFL.
  • Puka Nacua has 1113 receiving yards on the season, 360 away from tying the NFL rookie record set by Bill Groman in 1960 (1473). He needs 22 receptions to tie Jaylen Waddle for the all-time rookie record in catches (104).

DALLAS COWBOYS (10-3) AT BUFFALO BILLS (7-6)

DALLAS reached 10 wins for 3rd-straight season. Became 4th team in SB era (1996 Green Bay, 1999 St. Louis Rams & 2007 New England) with 8+ wins (8) by 20+ points in single season. • QB DAK PRESCOTT passed for 271 yards & 2 TDs vs. 0 INTs for 99.4 rating in Week 14. Aims for his 8th in row with 2+ TD passes. Leads NFL with 28 TD passes in 2023 & can reach 30 TD passes for 3rd time in his career (37 in 2021 & 30 in 2019). Passed for 355 yards & 2 TDs in last meeting. • RB TONY POLLARD tied his career high with 7 receptions & had 96 scrimmage yards (59 rush, 37 rec.) in Week 14. Has 1,081 scrimmage yards in 2023, his 3rd-straight 1,000-yard season. Is 1 of 2 (Christian McCaffrey) with 13 games of 50+ scrimmage yards in 2023. Has rush TD in 3 of his past 4. • WR CEEDEE LAMB had 8th rec. TD of season last week & aims for his 6th in row with TD catch. Ranks 2nd in NFL with 96 receptions & 3rd with 1,253 rec. yards in 2023. Needs 107 rec. yards for new career high (1,359 in 2022). • TE JAKE FERGUSON aims for his 3rd in row with 5+ receptions & 70+ rec. yards. • LB MICAH PARSONS has 12.5 sacks & joined HOFer Reggie White as only players since 1982 with 12+ sacks in each of 1st 3 seasons. Has 39 sacks & can become 5th player since 1982 with 40+ sacks in 1st 3 seasons. Has sack in 5 of 6 road games in 2023. • CB DARON BLAND had career-high 2 TFL last week. Leads NFL with 8 INTs & 5 INT-TDs in 2023, most INT-TDs in single season all-time. Has INT in 4 of his past 5 & PD in 9 of his past 10. • CB STEPHON GILMORE had career-high 9 tackles & 8th-career FF last week. Was selected No. 10 overall by Buf. in 2012 NFL Draft & had 62 PD & 14 INTs in 5 seasons (2012-16) with Bills.

QB JOSH ALLEN totaled 265 yards (233 pass, 32 rush) & 2 TDs (1 pass, 1 rush) last week, 9th game this season with both pass TD & rush TD, tied with Kyler Murray (2020) for most games ever in a season. Has rush TD in 6 of past 7. Has 2+ TD passes in 5 of 6 games in Buf. this season. Completed 19 of 24 atts. (79.2 pct.) for 231 yards & TD with 120.7 rating in last meeting. Is 3rd QB alltime with 25+ TD passes (25) & 10+ rush TDs (10) in a season. • RB JAMES COOK had 141 scrimmage yards (career-high 83 rec., 58 rush) & rec. TD last week, 4th-straight 100-yard game, longest streak of career. Has rec. TD in 2 of past 3. Ranks 3rd among RBs with career-high 1,180 scrimmage yards in 2023. • WR STEFON DIGGS has 70+ rec. yards in each of 4 games vs. NFC in 2023. Is only player in NFL with 8+ rec. TDs in each of last 4 seasons. Needs 7 rec. yards for 6th-straight 1,000-yard season. • WR GABE DAVIS has 55+ rec. yards in 2 of his past 3 at home. • TE DALTON KINCAID has 5+ catches in 7 straight games, longest active streak among TEs & longest streak ever by rookie TE. • S JORDAN POYER has 5+ tackles in 3 of past 4 in Buf. Had TFL in last meeting. Aims for 3rd in row vs. NFC with PD. • CB TARON JOHNSON led team with 9 tackles & had PD & 1st FR of season last week. Has 5+ tackles in 5 of past 6. Had 9 tackles & PD in last meeting. • CB CHRISTIAN BENFORD had 1st-career FF in Week 14. • LB TERREL BERNARD aims for 5th in row with 5+ tackles. Aims for 3rd in row at home with 0.5+ sacks. • DE GREG ROUSSEAU had PD & half sack in Week 14. Has TFL in 7 of his past 8 vs. NFC. • DT ED OLIVER had PD & half sack last week. Has sack in 2 of his past 3 at home. Had 2 sacks, FF & PD in last meeting.

ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. (AP) Count out the Bills as much as you’d like, wide receiver Stefon Diggs is defiant and confident in believing Buffalo is in an ideal spot to make a late-season playoff push.

“We battled a lot, been battle-tested. And it’s a big thing being battled-tested,” Diggs said of a team that has spent much of the season lurching from one crisis to another – be it injuries, blown leads or coach Sean McDermott most recently having to publicly apologize for a clumsy remark he made four years ago in crediting the 9/11 hijackers for their communication skills.

Now it’s a matter for the Bills (7-6) proving they’re better than the team that has dropped five of eight and is left with little margin for error in opening a final four-week stretch by hosting the NFC East-leading Dallas Cowboys (10-3) on Sunday.

“Is the record a reflection of our team? I don’t think so. But it is the record,” Diggs said. “The only thing we can do is win the next game, win the next play.

“Because down this stretch, we get to see what we’re made of. And as a true competitor, if you’re a real competitor, that’s what you want. And I like being an underdog more than anything.”

The Cowboys might be riding high following a 33-13 rout of Philadelphia to nudge ahead of their division rivals, and a win or a tie away from clinching a third consecutive playoff berth. The challenge for the Cowboys is carrying over the momentum they’ve generated in winning five straight while spending much of the past month at home, and taking their high-octane offensive show on the road.

“Outdoors, northern climate, all those things. I think this is what you need as part of that opportunity,” Cowboys coach Mike McCarthy said. “If things go right, and we’re able to get the momentum, grab those chunks of confidence that come with a good division win as we had (against the Eagles), this is an opportunity to go win and grow as a football team.”

The Cowboys have been superb at home, where they’re 7-0 and outscored their opponents by a combined margin of 279-108. They’re so-so, however, on the road in going 3-3 with a 142-125 edge in points.

“Right now it’s not about home or away. These are all playoff-type games,” quarterback Dak Prescott said. “It’s important for us to use this momentum and confidence that we gathered from the last month-and-a-half and make sure we take another step on the road.”

Fortunately for Dallas, the forecast Sunday has temperatures in the 40s with chances of rain in the late afternoon, which led to the Cowboys practicing with wet balls Thursday.

The Bills are hoping their playoffs chances don’t slip away entering a week in which they’re 11th in the AFC standings, but one of six teams at 7-6. Buffalo maintains an outside shot of winning its fourth consecutive division title after the Bills defeated the Chiefs last weekend and Miami fell to 9-4 following a loss to Tennessee.

The Bills have already defeated the Dolphins once, and the teams close the season with a matchup in Miami.

First things first, McDermott said.

“That obviously helped a little bit,” McDermott said, referring to the Dolphins’ loss. “Having said that, we’re focused obviously on what’s right in front of us with Dallas this week.”

DIGGS ON DIGGS

Diggs lamented not having a chance to line up against his younger brother, Cowboys cornerback Trevon Diggs, who sustained a season-ending left knee injury in September.

“I really looked forward to a big fight out there,” said Stefon Diggs, noting he and his brother spent much of the offseason trading trash talk. The two will have to do it off the field, with Diggs saying his younger brother is scheduled to travel to Buffalo on Friday.

FRAT BOY

Star Dallas pass rusher Micah Parsons played through the flu to get the only sack of Philadelphia’s Jalen Hurts last week. The 2021 NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year was feeling much better Thursday when asked about the challenge of tackling Buffalo’s Josh Allen, and noting the QB doesn’t believe in sliding.

“You know, Josh reminds me a lot of that one crazy guy at the frat,” Parsons said. “I probably would have hated Josh in college, the one that makes his friends get all the way drunk and you just be, ‘Ah, man, I hate going out with this guy.’ He just does anything.”

LAMB AND DIGGS

Dallas’ CeeDee Lamb is third in the NFL in yards receiving, coming off a matchup with the No. 2 guy in Philadelphia’s A.J. Brown, and a week away from seeing the league leader in Miami’s Tyreek Hill.

Lamb puts Diggs in that elite category, even though he’s likely to finish ahead of him in yards for the first time in his four-year career. Lamb has a 1,253-993 edge in yards receiving on Diggs.

“Obviously you love to see it just because it shows how elite the other guys are on the opposite sideline,” Lamb said. “Not really a comparison situation, just ultimately coming out of the game with dub.”

  • The Bills have only hosted the Cowboys three times since their back-to-back Super Bowl matchups in 1993 and 1994, tied for their second-fewest home games versus any opponent since then. Buffalo is 2-1 in those games, holding Dallas under 10 points in each win.
  • Dak Prescott (271 passing yards, two touchdowns in Week 14) has recorded ten games with a passer rating above 95.0 this season. He’s the only quarterback in team history to have 10+ games with a 95.0+ passer rating in at least four seasons (2016, 2018, 2021, 2023).
  • Micah Parsons (one sack in Week 14) has now produced 12+ sacks in each of his first three seasons in the NFL, joining Reggie White as the only players to accomplish this feat.
  • Josh Allen has 25 passing touchdowns and 10 rushing scores this season. He’s the third quarterback in NFL history with 25+ passing touchdowns and 10+ rushing touchdowns in a season, joining Cam Newton (2015) and Kyler Murray (2020).
  • James Cook has produced 100+ scrimmage yards in four consecutive games for Buffalo. He’s the first Bills running back with 4+ straight games with 100 or more scrimmage yards since 2016 (LeSean McCoy). Only five running backs in Bills history have generated 100+ scrimmage yards in 5+ straight games.
  • A.J. Epenesa notched his second interception of the season for the Bills. He’s the third Bills defensive lineman with multiple interceptions in a single season and the first since 1997, joining Sean Moran (1997) and Ron McDole (1968).

BALTIMORE RAVENS (10-3) AT JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS (8-5)

RAVENS lead NFL in rushing offense (157.1 rush yards per game). • QB LAMAR JACKSON totaled 386 yards (316 pass, 70 rush) & had 3 TD passes with 92.8 rating last week, 3rd-career game with 300+ pass yards & 50+ rush yards & 1st this season. Has 5 TDs (4 pass, 1 rush) vs. INT & 108.3 rating in 2 career starts vs. Jax. Is 5-1 in 6 career starts on SNF & have won each of past 4. Leads QBs with 644 rush yards in 2023 & is 1st QB ever with 600+ rush yards in each of 1st 6 seasons. • RB GUS EDWARDS rushed for 52 yards & TD in last meeting. Has 9 rush TDs since Week 7, most in NFL. • RB KEATON MITCHELL (rookie) has 60+ scrimmage yards in 4 of past 5. • WR ZAY FLOWERS (rookie) had 6 catches for 60 yards & 3rd TD of season last week. Aims for 3rd in row with 5+ catches & rec. TD. Ranks 3rd among rookies with 64 catches, most-ever by rookie in franchise history. • WR ODELL BECKHAM JR. led team with 97 rec. yards & had 3rd TD catch of season in Week 14. Has 95+ rec. yards in 2 of past 3. Has 90+ rec. yards in 2 of 3 career games vs. Jax. • TE ISAIAH LIKELY (rookie) had career highs in catches (5) & rec. yards (83) & had 1st-career TD catch last week. • DT JUSTIN MADUBUIKE had season-high 7 tackles & sack last week & is 3rd player in past 10 seasons with 0.5+ sacks in 10 straight games. Has career-high 11 sacks in 2023. • DT TRAVIS JONES aims for 3rd in row with 0.5+ sacks. • LB ROQUAN SMITH led team with 10 tackles & had 2 TFL in Week 14. Has 2 INTs & FR in 2 career games vs. Jax. Ranks 3rd in NFL with 136 tackles this season. • S MARCUS WILLIAMS aims for 4th in row with 5+ tackles & PD.

QB TREVOR LAWRENCE completed season-high 28 of 50 atts. (56 pct.) for 257 yards & season-high 3 TDs last week, 6th-career game with 3+ TD passes. Aims for 5th in row with 250+ pass yards & has 2+ TD passes in 3 of past 4. Has 7 TDs (4 pass, 3 rush) vs. 0 INTs & 122.3 rating in his past 2 at home. Passed for 321 yards & 3 TDs vs. 0 INTs with 129.8 rating in last meeting. Has 7 TDs (4 pass, 3 rush) vs. 0 INTs with 100 rating in 5 career starts in primetime. • RB TRAVIS ETIENNE aims for 4th in row with 70+ scrimmage yards & 3rd in row with rush TD. Has 75+ scrimmage yards in 3 of 4 career games in primetime, with rush TD in each of past 2. Needs rush TD to become 4th Jax. player ever with 10+ rush TDs in a season. • WR CALVIN RIDLEY had 53 rec. yards last week & has 50+ rec. yards in 3 of past 4. Had 8 catches for 105 yards & TD in only career game on SNF (9/15/19 vs. Phi., w/ Atl.). • WR ZAY JONES aims for 3rd in row with 5+ catches. Had career highs in catches (11) & rec. yards (145) in last meeting. • WR PARKER WASHINGTON (rookie) aims for 3rd in row with rec. TD. • TE EVAN ENGRAM tied career high with 11 catches for season high 95 yards & 2 TDs, 2nd-career 2-TD game. Aims for 4th in row with 5+ catches & 3rd in row with 80+ rec. yards & rec. TD. Ranks 2nd among TEs with career-high 84 catches in 2023. • LB JOSH ALLEN had 5 tackles & 2 TFL last week, 3rd-straight game with TFL. Has 1.5+ sacks in 2 of past 3. Ranks tied-3rd in NFL with career-high 13.5 sacks, 2nd-most in single season in Jax. history. • LB FOYESADE OLUOKUN had TFL last week. Had 18 tackles & 3 TFL in last meeting. Ranks 2nd in NFL with 138 tackles in 2023. • LB DEVIN LLOYD had 11 tackles & 2nd FR of season last week. • CB DARIOUS WILLIAMS had 3 PD & 4th INT of season in Week 14. Ranks 2nd in NFL with career-high 19 PD in 2023.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (AP) The Jacksonville Jaguars haven’t fared very well against the NFL’s elite defenses this season.

They’re 0-3 against Cleveland (ranked first), San Francisco (seventh) and Kansas City (sixth), and they’ve failed to top 300 yards against any of them. It’s a hurdle the Jaguars (8-5) need to overcome against Baltimore on Sunday night if they’re going to avoid a three-game skid and stay in the hunt for the No. 1 seed in the AFC playoffs.

The Ravens (10-3) rank second in yards allowed, second in points and lead the league with 49 sacks. They are 3 1/2-point favorites, according to FanDuel Sportsbook.

“If you want to get to the end of the season where we’re all trying to get, you’re going to play teams with great defenses,” Jaguars quarterback Trevor Lawrence said. “That’s what gets you there. That’s a big part of why teams are good. … Baltimore is a top team in the AFC right now. Defensively, they’re playing lights out.”

The Ravens have won seven of their last eight to move atop the conference. They have nine scenarios in which they would clinch a playoff spot with a victory in Jacksonville. More importantly, they want the home-field advantage that comes with being the top seed.

“We want it bad,” linebacker Patrick Queen said. “If we don’t get it, we make the playoffs, we’re still in there. We still can dance, and I think that’s the biggest thing. As long as we have our spot in there, then everything else will take care of itself.”

Jacksonville is trying to avoid a third consecutive loss to the AFC North. Coach Doug Pederson’s team struggled to stop the run against Cincinnati and then gave up way too many big plays against Cleveland.

Fixing those defensive lapses is high on the team’s to-do list, right up there with finding ways to generate more offense against another top-10 defense.

The Jaguars turned the ball over four times and finished with 293 yards in a 31-27 loss at Cleveland last week. They trailed 28-14 before scoring two touchdowns in the final 4 minutes.

In Week 10 against San Francisco, Jacksonville managed a season-low 221 yards in a 34-3 debacle against San Francisco. In Week 2 against Kansas City, the Jags also failed to score a touchdown and totaled 271 yards.

The common thread in all three losses: The Jaguars were outmatched with their offense on the field.

“It’s adversity. It’s what life is about; it’s what this league is about,” tight end Evan Engram said. “We’ve got the guys in here to figure it out and respond and turn this thing around. We’re sitting here at 8-5 and we know we can be better. We’re definitely going to go out and try to respond and get back in the win column.”

RARE APPEARANCE

The Jaguars are playing on “Sunday Night Football” for the first time in 14 years. They have played in the prime-time slot 11 times previously, having alternated wins and losses. If the pattern holds, the Jaguars will beat Baltimore.

Jacksonville’s last Sunday night game came against Pittsburgh in 2008, a 26-21 loss.

SACK STREAK

Ravens defensive tackle Justin Madubuike has at least a half-sack in 10 consecutive games. If he extends the streak this weekend, he’ll tie the NFL record held by Jared Allen, Chris Jones, Trey Hendrickson and Shaun Ellis. His streak has drawn attention from opposing teams.

“I’m starting to notice it,” Madubuike said. “A lot of double teams the last game. … It’s coming, but that’s just what comes with it.”

HOME STRUGGLES

The Jaguars are 2-4 at EverBank Stadium this season, hardly the kind of success they had hoped to find at home. Defensive communication was an issue in their last home game, a 34-31 loss to Cincinnati in overtime in another prime-time matchup, and something they hope to clean up against the Ravens.

“We need to play with our hairs on fire,” pass rusher Josh Allen said. “We need to come out fighting and swinging. Our back’s against the wall right now, and we’ve got to respond like it.”

QB MILESTONES

Baltimore star Lamar Jackson is closing in on career highs in both completions and yards passing. He completed 265 passes for 3,127 yards in his MVP season of 2019. This year, he’s up to 252 and 2,934.

Last weekend against the Rams, Jackson connected on a couple deep touchdown passes – 54 yards to Isaiah Likely and 46 yards to Odell Beckham Jr.

“Getting the ball down the field is a point of emphasis really every week, but there are different ways to do it,” coach John Harbaugh said. “For Lamar to see those two guys downfield was pretty awesome. We’ll keep working on that. That’s a big part of it. The better we can get throwing the ball down the field, we’re going to be a lot tougher to deal with.”

  • Jacksonville overcame a nine-point deficit in the fourth quarter to beat the Ravens last year. The Jaguars have overcome a two-score deficit in the fourth quarter six times in franchise history and four of them have been against the Ravens (two in 1996, 1999 & 2022).
  • The Ravens own the best record in the AFC. The only time Baltimore finished a season with the best record in the conference was 2019, when the team ended up losing to the Titans in the divisional round of the playoffs.
  • The Ravens trailed for 30:31 last week, and Lamar Jackson threw for 298 of his 316 yards while the Ravens were losing in the game. Jackson leads the NFL with a 114.0 passer rating when his team is trailing in a game this season (minimum 50 attempts).
  • The Jaguars’ next win will clinch a winning record for the second straight season (9-8 last season). It would be the first time with back-to-back winning seasons since 2004-2005. Their longest streak is four straight winning seasons from 1996 to 1999.
  • Travis Etienne Jr. has scored 10 touchdowns this year, the 11th player in Jaguars history to reach double-digit touchdowns in a season. Etienne is one of 12 players this season with at least 10 TD and the second youngest of that group (only Kyren Williams is younger).
  • The Jaguars have scored a touchdown on each of their last eight drives into the red zone. It is tied for the third-longest streak in franchise history (longest were 11 in 2015 and 10 in 2017) and tied for the fourth longest by any NFL team this season.

PHILADELPHIA EAGLES (10-3) AT SEATTLE SEAHAWKS (6-7)

QB JALEN HURTS has 8 games with both pass TD & rush TD in 2023 & can become 3rd QB ever (Josh Allen – 2023 & Kyler Murray – 2020) with 9 such games in single season. Aims for his 5th in row on MNF with rush TD. Has 3,192 pass yards in 2023, his 3rd-straight 3,000-yard season. • RB D’ANDRE SWIFT has 1,030 scrimmage yards in 2023, his 2nd-career 1,000-yard season & ranks 4th in NFL with career-high 822 rush yards this season. Has TD in 3 of his past 4 road games. Aims for his 3rd in row on MNF with 100+ scrimmage yards. • WR A.J. BROWN had 9 catches for 94 yards last week. Ranks 2nd in NFL with 1,258 rec. yards & 5th with career-high 90 receptions in 2023. Has 6+ catches & 75+ rec. yards in 8 of his past 9 road games. • WR DEVONTA SMITH aims for his 5th in row with 5+ catches & 7th in row with 50+ rec. yards. Has 907 rec. yards in 2023, his 3rd-straight 900-yard season. • LB HAASON REDDICK had 2 sacks in Week 14 & has 11 sacks in 2023, his 4th-straight 11+ sack season. Has 7 games with 2+ sacks since 2022, 2nd-most in NFL. Aims for his 6th in row on road with sack. Has 7 TFL in 8 career games vs. Sea. • DT FLETCHER COX had 4th sack of season & 16th-career FF last week. Aims for his 3rd in row with sack. • DT JALEN CARTER (rookie) had 1st-career FR-TD last week. • CB JAMES BRADBERRY has PD in 3 of his 4 career games vs. Sea. • LB SHAQUILLE LEONARD had FF in his only career game vs. Sea. (9/12/21 w/ Ind.) • CB DARIUS SLAY had 3 PD in Week 14 & has 15 PD this season. Aims for his 4th in row in primetime with 2+ PD. • S KEVIN BYARD ranks 5th among DBs with 94 tackles in 2023 & ranks 2nd among DBs with 651 tackles since 2017.

QB GENO SMITH needs 82 pass yards for 3rd-career 3,000- yard season. Aims for his 4th in row on MNF with TD pass & 90+ rating. Has 2+ TD passes in 3 of his past 4 home starts. • QB DREW LOCK passed for 269 yards & 2 TDs in 1st start with Sea. last week. Can make home debut for Sea. in Week 15. • RB KENNETH WALKER had 54 scrimmage yards (33 rec., 21 rush) in Week 14. Has 531 scrimmage yards (106.2 per game) & 3 TDs (2 rush, 1 rec.) in 5 home games this season. Aims for his 3rd in row in primetime with 75+ scrimmage yards. • RB ZACH CHARBONNET (rookie) has 50+ scrimmage yards in 4 of his past 5. Aims for his 4th in row at home with 50+ scrimmage yards. • WR DK METCALF has 864 rec. yards & 7 rec. TDs in 2023 & can become 3rd player ever (A.J. Green & HOFer Randy Moss) with 900+ rec. yards & 5+ rec. TDs in each of 1st 5 career seasons. Aims for his 3rd in row with TD catch. Had 10 catches for career high 177 yards in last meeting. • WR TYLER LOCKETT had 6 catches for 89 yards last week & has 5+ catches in 4 of his past 5. • LB BOBBY WAGNER leads NFC with 132 tackles in 2023. Aims for his 3rd in row with TFL. Has 10+ tackles in 3 of his past 4 Monday games. • LB JORDYN BROOKS has 102 tackles this season, his 3rdstraight 100+ tackle season. • DE LEONARD WILLIAMS aims for his 3rd in row with sack & 4th in row with TFL. • CB DEVON WITHERSPOON leads all rookies with 16 PD & has PD in 11 of his 12 career games. • CB RIQ WOOLEN had 5th-career FR last week. • S JULIAN LOVE had 7th-career INT & 2nd-career FF last week.

SEATTLE (AP) Nick Sirianni isn’t yet feeling a growing anxiety or concern about what’s happened the past two weeks with Philadelphia.

Pete Carroll seems to be feeling every bit of the worry about what’s happened with Seattle.

The two slumping teams will meet on Monday night, each trying to snap losing streaks and where a win could dramatically alter how the final three weeks of the regular season are viewed.

“We’re not hitting a panic button as far as, ‘we’ve got to do everything.’ We didn’t play well and we didn’t coach good the last two weeks,” Sirianni said with the Eagles having lost two straight. “We didn’t play good enough and we didn’t coach good enough the last two weeks to win the games. It wasn’t up to our standard, so we’re pissed and we’re looking for ways to fix that.”

The Eagles (10-3) are no longer alone atop the NFC East after last week’s loss to Dallas. They no longer have the inside track at the No. 1 seed in the NFC after losing to San Francisco two weeks ago and thus the 49ers holding the tiebreaker. Since Sirianni took charge in Philadelphia before the 2021 season, the Eagles’ only three-game losing streak came in his first month as a head coach.

But the Eagles can wrap up a postseason spot with a victory.

Seattle would love for its playoff hopes to be that simple.

The current freefall facing the Seahawks (6-7) is even more significant. They’ve lost four straight for the first time in Carroll’s tenure. They’ve got from being firmly entrenched in the NFC playoff conversation to now on the outside in a muddled pack trying to find their way back into contention.

A win over the Eagles would dramatically change Seattle’s fortunes – and playoff odds – especially with a final three games that appear far more manageable than the past few weeks have been.

“There is so much at stake from this point forward. There’s so much, with five other teams that are vying for this spot,” Carroll said. “It’s a run to the finish and see who wins the race. It’s exciting, and we got to make the most of it and be tuned into it.”

BE FLEXIBLE

The Eagles and Seahawks had the honor of becoming the first game the league has flexed from a Sunday to Monday as part of the league’s agreements with its broadcast partners. Games being moved around on Sundays has become commonplace on the calendar, but this was the first time a game was moved from Sunday to Monday.

Originally, the Chiefs were scheduled to face the Patriots as the last game of Week 15. And despite asking the Eagles to travel cross country for a Monday night game, they won’t face a short week. Philadelphia was already scheduled to be one of the three games played on Christmas this season.

DK’S DAY

Seattle wide receiver DK Metcalf was in the spotlight again last week for reacting to a hit from behind by San Francisco’s Fred Warner during an interception return that led to a minor scuffle between both teams. Metcalf was one of two players ejected for the small melee.

He’d like the conversation to turn back to his production on the field and replicate what he’s done in the past against the Eagles. Two of the biggest games of his career have come the past two times Seattle and Philadelphia have played.

In the 2019 playoff meeting, Metcalf had seven catches for 160 yards and a touchdown. When the teams met the following season, he had an even bigger game with 10 receptions for 177 yards, which is still his career high in yards receiving.

QB QUESTION

Seattle is hopeful that not playing last week and an extra day of rest with the Monday game will allow starting quarterback Geno Smith to return from a groin injury. Smith was a spectator while Drew Lock made his first start with Seattle and his first start since the final week of the 2021 season.

There was good and bad that came with Lock’s performance. He threw for 269 yards and a pair of touchdowns, but one of his two interceptions was a poor decision and a poorly thrown ball. Lock was able to extend plays with his feet, but also missed a couple of opportunities to run for potential big gains.

Seattle would like to have its starter back, but feels confident if Lock needs to go again.

ROOKIE WATCH

The matchup could feature two of the leading contenders for defensive rookie of the year and two players who were highly rumored to be of interest to the other team going into the draft.

Seattle defensive back Devon Witherspoon and Philadelphia defensive lineman Jalen Carter are two of the leaders in the AP Defensive Rookie of the Year conversation.

Carter was rumored to be a target of the Seahawks to help with their defensive line, while the Eagles were thought to be interested in Witherspoon to bolster their secondary.

Both teams seem pretty happy with how things played out. Witherspoon has 16 passes defensed, three sacks and one interception. Carter has four sacks, two forced fumbles and last week returned a fumble for a touchdown.

Whether both are on the field on Monday is still unknown after Witherspoon left last week’s game in the first half with a hip pointer.

  • Including the playoffs, the Eagles have lost seven straight games against the Seahawks, their longest losing streak against any opponent since dropping nine in a row against the Giants between the 1997 and 2000 seasons.
  • Philadelphia has dropped two straight games by at least 20 points for the first time since Weeks 11-12 of 2015. Only two teams have reached the Super Bowl after suffering consecutive 20-point losses — the 2008 Cardinals and the 1979 Rams (both lost in SB).
  • Hassan Reddick now has 27.0 sacks since arriving in Philly last season, the most in any two-year span by an Eagle since Clyde Simmons (32.0) and Reggie White (29.0) in 1991-1992. The only players with more sacks since 2022 are Myles Garrett (29) and Nick Bosa (28).
  • The Seahawks have dropped four straight following their loss to the 49ers, the team’s longest losing streak under Pete Carroll. During that time (since 2010), every other NFL team has endured multiple losing streaks or four or more games.
  • Including the postseason, DK Metcalf is one of two players all-time to record 150 receiving yards in consecutive games against the Eagles, along with Woodley Lewis in the late 1950s (Chicago Cardinals). The only NFL player to do this in three straight games against a single opponent was Steve Smith Sr. against the Bears (2005 — 2011).
  • Heading into the team’s Week 10 bye, Jalen Hurts had a 121.0 passer rating when targeting A.J. Brown (72.8 comp%, 1005 yards, 6 TDs, 2 INTs). Since then, that rating has dropped to 76.1 (59.0 comp%, 253 yards, 1 TD, 1 INT).

CHARGERS FIRE COACH BRANDON STALEY, GENERAL MANAGER TOM TELESCO IN MIDST OF DISAPPOINTING SEASON

Coach Brandon Staley and general manager Tom Telesco were fired by the Los Angeles Chargers on Friday morning after one of the worst losses in franchise history.

The Chargers made the playoffs last season but are one of this year’s biggest disappointments at 5-9, with losses in five of their last six games. They dropped into last place in the AFC West after Thursday night’s 63-21 loss at Las Vegas.

It was the most points allowed in franchise history and the 42-point margin the third-worst.

Staley — who had an overall record of 24-25 — is the third NFL coach to be fired this season, joining Josh McDaniels of the Raiders and Carolina’s Frank Reich.

It is the first time since 1998 that the Chargers have made an in-season coaching move.

Telesco had been the general manager since 2013. The team only made three playoff appearances under his tenure and were 86-95 overall.

When the Chargers fell behind 42-0 late in the second quarter, some thought the move should have happened at halftime.

“Brandon Staley. I hate to say this because you don’t ever want to call for somebody’s job, but they should fire him. They should make history. They should fire him at halftime,” Amazon Prime Video analyst Richard Sherman said. “We’ve got an Uber X carpool outside and we’ll send you on your way because right now, I’ve never seen a team come out this uninspired.”

While Staley had been confident about his job security in the past, Thursday night’s titanic defeat had him questioning his future. He said “I don’t know” when asked if he would still be leading the Chargers on Friday.

PANTHERS TO PLACE VETERAN TE HAYDEN HURST ON INJURED RESERVE AFTER AMNESIA RESULTING FROM CONCUSSION

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — The Carolina Panthers are placing tight end Hayden Hurst on injured reserve, according to a person familiar with the situation.

The person spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity on Friday because the move has not yet been announced.

The Athletic was first to report the news.

The decision comes just weeks after the veteran tight end’s father, Jerry Hurst, posted on social media that his son was diagnosed with post-traumatic amnesia following a concussion sustained on Nov. 9 against the Chicago Bears.

Shortly after his father’s concerning post, Hurst took to X, formerly known as Twitter, and wrote that he suffered a “pretty nasty concussion” and didn’t remember up to four hours after the game.

Hurst called it a “scary situation” but added that “While it was scary, it is NOT career ending. I’m starting my return to play this week, so fingers crossed I make it back for the last few weeks!”

Hurst has been in the concussion protocol since and has not played. He had been practicing on a limited basis.

Hurst signed a three-year, $21.7 million contract with the Panthers last offseason, but has been a disappointment with only 18 receptions for 184 yards and one touchdown in nine games.

The Panthers are 1-12 and out of contention for the playoffs. Carolina hosts Atlanta (6-7) on Sunday.

NBA NEWS

NBA ROUNDUP: SPURS HALT TEAM-RECORD SKID, TOP LAKERS

Devin Vassell scored a career-high 36 points to help lift San Antonio to a 129-115 win over the visiting, short-handed Los Angeles Lakers on Friday that snapped the Spurs’ franchise-record 18-game losing streak.

It was the second of back-to-back games between the teams over three nights in the Alamo City. The Lakers won the first game in the set on Wednesday without LeBron James, who sat out with a left calf contusion. Los Angeles could not repeat that win on Friday with James in the lineup but without three starters — Anthony Davis, D’Angelo Russell and Cam Reddish — due to nagging injuries.

Instead it was Vassell that made the plays, while Keldon Johnson poured in 17 points (all of them in the first half), Zach Collins had 16, Cedi Osman scored 15 and Victor Wembanyama racked up 13 points and 15 rebounds for the Spurs. San Antonio won for the first time since Nov. 2; the Lakers have dropped two of their past three games.

James led Los Angeles with 23 points and 14 assists. Austin Reaves added 22 points for the Lakers, with Rui Hachimura hitting for 20 and Christian Wood tallying 17 — both off the bench — and Taurean Prince contributing 12 points.

76ers 124, Pistons 92

Joel Embiid had 35 points, 13 rebounds and four blocked shots in less than three quarters and host Philadelphia crushed reeling Detroit, which set the all-time franchise record of 22 straight losses.

Embiid compiled at least 30 points and 10 rebounds for the ninth consecutive game, extending his franchise mark. Tyrese Maxey added 19 points and Marcus Morris Sr. contributed 15 along on 5-for-5 shooting from 3-point range. Tobias Harris had 13 points and Kelly Oubre Jr. put up 11 for the Sixers, who won their fifth in a row.

The Pistons’ old mark of 21 losses was set between the 1979-80 and 1980-81 seasons. James Wiseman led the Pistons with 20 points and 13 rebounds while Bojan Bogdanovic added 17 points and Jaden Ivey had 13. Marcus Sasser chipped in with 11.

Knicks 139, Suns 122

Jalen Brunson established career highs of 50 points and nine 3-pointers while leading New York to a victory over host Phoenix.

Brunson scored 35 points in the second half and made all 12 of his shots, including eight from behind the arc. He was 17-of-23 shooting overall, didn’t miss a single 3-point shot and had nine assists as the Knicks won for just the second time in the past five games. Brunson matched the NBA record for most 3-pointers without a miss, shared by Ben Gordon (2006, 2012) and Latrell Sprewell (2003).

Julius Randle scored 23 points and RJ Barrett added 21 for New York. Immanuel Quickley had 10 points for the Knicks, who outscored Phoenix 42-23 in the fourth quarter. Kevin Durant scored 29 points and Devin Booker added 28 for Phoenix, which lost for the sixth time in eight games. Jusuf Nurkic had 21 points and 12 rebounds and Grayson Allen scored 13 for the Suns.

Wizards 137, Pacers 123

Kyle Kuzma scored 31 points, Jordan Poole added a season-high 30 and Tyus Jones recorded a triple-double as Washington snapped a six-game skid with a defeat of visiting Indiana.

All five Washington starters each dished at least four assists, with Jones’ 11 leading the way. The 11 assists combined with 13 points and 10 rebounds for Jones’ second career triple-double, and he matched NBA assists leader — the Pacers’ Tyrese Haliburton — for the game high. Poole dished eight assists, while Kuzma, Daniel Gafford and Deni Avdija distributed four apiece. Gafford also grabbed 10 rebounds.

Haliburton scored 19 points to go with his 11 assists for the Pacers. Three Indiana reserves scored in double-figures, led by Isaiah Jackson’s team-high 20. Jackson shot 10 of 13 from the floor and grabbed 13 rebounds.

Celtics 128, Magic 111

Short-handed Boston overcame a slow start en route to dominating visiting Orlando.

Jayson Tatum had 30 points, six rebounds and four assists to lead six double-figure scorers for Boston, which has won four straight and is 13-0 at home. Payton Pritchard added 21 on a season-high six 3-pointers, while Derrick White contributed 19 points, eight assists, four rebounds and four steals. The Celtics played without centers Kristaps Porzingis (calf), Al Horford (rest) and Luke Kornet (thigh).

Orlando also had six players in double figures, including Jalen Suggs with 19 after suffering a wrist injury in the first half. Cole Anthony and Franz Wagner had 17 apiece. Goga Bitadze posted a 15-point, 11-rebound double-double. Paolo Banchero added 14 points, and Anthony Black 13.

Rockets 103, Grizzlies 96

Fred VanVleet broke a late tie with a jumper, Dillon Brooks disappointed his old fans with a last-minute 3-pointer and visiting Houston overcame an early deficit to defeat Memphis.

Brooks finished with a season-high-tying 26 points, helping the Rockets complete a three-day, home-and-home sweep of the Grizzlies, who had lost 117-104 on Wednesday night in Houston.

Desmond Bane had a game-high 28 points and a career-high 13 rebounds for his second double-double for the Grizzlies, who dropped to 0-3 against the Rockets this season after having already been beaten 111-91 in Houston last month.

Hawks 125, Raptors 104

Trae Young scored 38 points and added 11 assists as Atlanta defeated host Toronto to split the two-game series and end a five-game losing streak.

Bogdan Bogdanovic added 20 points for the Hawks, Dejounte Murray scored 17 points and Clint Capela had 18 points and 15 rebounds.

Scottie Barnes posted 23 points for the Raptors, who have lost five of six. Pascal Siakam and Jakob Poeltl each scored 15 and Malachi Flynn added 11.

Pelicans 112, Hornets 107

Jonas Valanciunas cranked out 29 points and 13 rebounds and CJ McCollum scored 13 of his 19 points in the fourth quarter as New Orleans won in Charlotte.

Zion Williamson finished with 21 points and Trey Murphy III added 13 points off the bench for the Pelicans, who matched their season-best streak with three wins in a row.

The Hornets were stuck with their third consecutive loss despite Terry Rozier’s 30 points and Miles Bridges’ 27 points and 10 rebounds. Brandon Miller and Nick Richards each had 16 points.

MEN’S COLLEGE BASKETBALL

NO. 5 UCONN NEVER TRAILS, ROUTES NO. 10 GONZAGA

Donovan Clingan led all players with game-high 21 points and eight rebounds as No. 5 UConn never trailed in defeating No. 10 Gonzaga 76-63 Friday night in the Continental Tire Seattle Tip-Off at Climate Pledge Arena.

Cam Spencer scored 15 points for the Huskies (10-1) in a rematch of last season’s NCAA Tournament West Regional final, which UConn won 82-54 in Las Vegas. Alex Karaban added 11 points and Tristen Newton and Hassan Diarra scored nine apiece in a balanced attack. Newton dished out a game-high five assists, the same total as the entire Gonzaga team.

It was the second loss to a team nicknamed the Huskies in Seattle in less than a week for the Bulldogs (8-3), who dropped a 78-73 decision last Saturday at Washington.

Anton Watson led Gonzaga with 20 points and Ryan Nembhard added 15. Graham Ike, the Bulldogs’ leading scorer, was limited to five points on 2-of-5 shooting.

UConn built a 45-34 halftime lead by making 7 of 9 3-point attempts.

Clingan scored the game’s first four points in the paint and had eight in the first 3 1/2 minutes as the Huskies built an 11-4 lead.

UConn led 23-20 with 8:38 left in the half before Spencer scored 13 points over the next 5:44, including three 3-pointers. His trey with 2:54 left put the Huskies up 40-32 and they extended their lead to as many as 13 points before the intermission.

Nembhard made a layup on Gonzaga’s opening possession of the second half but Newton answered with a jumper in the paint and the Huskies led by double digits the rest of the way.

Karaban’s jumper in the paint extended the lead to 56-38 with 16:27 left, the Huskies’ largest lead of the night.

The Bulldogs trimmed the lead to 68-58 with 4:04 left before Clingan scored on an alley-oop dunk off a pass from Diara as UConn regained momentum.

UConn shot 55.8 percent from the field (29 of 52) while limiting Gonzaga to 39 percent (23 of 59), including just 2 of 12 from 3-point range.

WOMEN’S COLLEGE BASKETBALL

WOMEN’S TOP 25 ROUNDUP: ALYSSA USTBY, NO. 25 UNC ROUT WCU

Senior guard Alyssa Ustby scored 23 points, tying her career high accomplished twice previously, as No. 25 North Carolina sailed to a 96-36 win over Western Carolina on Friday in Chapel Hill, N.C.

Ustby added nine rebounds and a game-high six assists for the Tar Heels (7-4), who bounced back from a Sunday loss to then-No. 17 UConn.

Paulina Paris added 16 points for North Carolina. Reserve Indya Nivar had 15 points, and Maria Gakdeng logged 10 points.

Audrey Meyers finished with 13 points for the Catamounts (2-9), who shot 31.4 percent from the floor and made their lone free throw in the game. The Tar Heels hit 51.9 percent of their field-goal attempts and were 10 of 15 at the foul line.

No. 12 Ohio State 73, Grand Valley State 49

Jacy Sheldon hit 7 of 8 shots from the floor and scored 15 points to lead the Buckeyes to a blowout of the Lakers in Columbus, Ohio.

Taylor Thierry added 11 points for Ohio State (9-1), which improved to 6-0 at home. The Buckeyes are unbeaten since dropping their opener against then-No. 21 Southern California on Nov. 6 in Las Vegas.

Ten Ohio State players got on the scoresheet, and no Buckeye logged more than 21 minutes.

Ellie Droste posted a game-high 17 points for Grand Valley State (7-1). The Lakers outrebounded the Buckeyes 34-30 but committed 32 turnovers that resulted in 34 points.

NHL NEWS

NHL ROUNDUP: BRUINS TOP ISLANDERS IN SHOOTOUT

David Pastrnak had a goal and an assist in regulation, then registered the decisive tally in a shootout as the Boston Bruins beat the New York Islanders 5-4 on Friday night in Elmont, N.Y.

Morgan Geekie and James van Riemsdyk also recorded a goal and an assist apiece for the Bruins, who never led until Pastrnak’s shootout goal for their fifth win in seven games (5-1-1).

Goalie Linus Ullmark made 33 saves in the win.

Bo Horvat had a goal with two assists for the Islanders, whose four-game winning streak ended. Brock Nelson had a goal and an assist, Simon Holmstrom and Alexander Romanov also scored and Mathew Barzal notched two assists. New York’s Ilya Sorokin stopped 30 shots.

Predators 6, Hurricanes 5 (OT)

Filip Forsberg scored 33 seconds into overtime to give Nashville a road win over Carolina in Raleigh, N.C.

The Predators are on a three-game winning streak, with Forsberg scoring the OT winner in each of Nashville’s last two games. Roman Josi and Ryan O’Reilly each had a goal and two assists for Nashville, while Forsberg and Juuso Parssinen each had a goal and an assist. Jeremy Lauzon and Tyson Barrie scored the Predators’ other goals.

Stefan Noesen and Martin Necas each had a goal and an assist for the Hurricanes, and Michael Bunting had two assists. Tony DeAngelo, Jalen Chatfield, and Sebastian Aho also scored for Carolina.

Rangers 5, Ducks 1

Chris Kreider scored twice, Jonathan Quick made 29 saves to continue his strong start with his new team and host New York pulled away for a victory over skidding Anaheim.

The Rangers bounced back nicely from Tuesday’s ugly’s 7-3 loss to Toronto thanks to Kreider. His big night gave him 281 career goals to move him past Adam Graves (280) for sole possession of third on the Rangers’ all-time list. Jimmy Vesey also scored, getting his fourth game-winner of the year with 8:15 remaining in the second period.

New York’s Mika Zibanejad added a late power-play goal and set up Kreider’s first tally. Adam Fox and Artemi Panarin collected two assists apiece and Adam Edstrom tallied in his NHL debut in the final minute. Brett Leason scored but Anaheim lost its fifth straight and saw its road losing streak hit seven. The Ducks dropped to 1-12-0 since Nov. 15.

Coyotes 1, Sharks 0

Connor Ingram made 21 saves in his third shutout of the season and Arizona ended a four-game losing streak with a win against San Jose in Tempe, Ariz.

Ingram is tied with Tristan Jarry of the Pittsburgh Penguins and Thatcher Demko of the Vancouver Canucks for the most shutouts in the NHL this season. Matias Maccelli scored in the second period for the Coyotes, who won two challenges on potential game-tying, third-period goals by San Jose.

Kaapo Kahkonen made 23 saves for the Sharks, who were shut out for the fifth time this season. San Jose had won three of its past four games and had been 6-2-1 in its past nine.

Sabres 5, Golden Knights 2

Casey Mittelstadt scored two goals during a four-goal third period and added an assist as Buffalo rallied for a victory in Las Vegas.

Dylan Cozens had a goal and two assists, Alex Tuch and Zach Benson each had a goal and an assist and Devon Levi made 33 saves for Buffalo, which has won two of its last three games.

The loss snapped a four-game winning streak and nine-game point streak for the Golden Knights. Jack Eichel and Ivan Barbashev each scored for Vegas, while Logan Thompson finished with 22 saves.

Stars 5, Senators 4

Matt Duchene scored the go-ahead goal after tallying an earlier assist as host Dallas rallied past Ottawa.

Stars goalie Jake Oettinger allowed two goals on two shots before leaving the game with a lower-body injury. Scott Wedgewood made 25 saves in relief for Dallas, which has won three of its past four games. While Dallas coach Pete DeBoer had no update on Oettinger’s injury, he said the goalie would not make the trip to St. Louis for Saturday night’s game with the Blues.

Drake Batherson had two goals, Jakob Chychrun had three assists and Tim Stutzle had two assists for the Senators, who have lost four of five and are 3-7-0 in their past 10. Anton Forsberg made 19 saves.

BASEBALL NEWS

MAX SCHERZER HAS BACK SURGERY AND WILL MISS START OF 2024 SEASON FOR WORLD SERIES CHAMPION RANGERS

ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) — Max Scherzer had surgery for a herniated disk in his lower back and will miss the start of next season for the World Series champion Texas Rangers.

General manager Chris Young said Friday that Scherzer, who was removed from the roster during the World Series because of back discomfort, had surgery Thursday after injections and other less-evasive treatments didn’t relieve the pain. Young said the team is hopeful that that the three-time Cy Young Award winner will be fully healed and recovered by June or July.

Scherzer said in a statement released by the team Friday that the back pain got worse after he returned to his offseason home in Florida, and that he got the got the diagnosis of a herniated disk.

“After several conservative treatments and consulting with multiple specialists, I made the decision to have the recommended surgery,” Scherzer said. “Getting this procedure done now will give me the best chance to pitch as much as possible for the Rangers in 2024. I look forward to putting in the rehab work and getting back on the mound next summer.”

The 39-year-old Scherzer was forced from his start in Game 3 of the World Series after three innings. He would have been in a line to start a potential Game 7, but was removed from the roster before Game 4 in Arizona, the night before the Rangers won their first World Series title by winning Game 5.

A trade-deadline acquisition from the New York Mets on July 30, Scherzer strained a muscle in his right shoulder on Sept. 12 and returned to make two starts in the AL Championship Series against Houston, going 0-1 with a 9.45 ERA. Scherzer allowed five runs over four innings and took the loss in Game 3, and then gave up two runs in 2 2/3 innings in a no-decision in Game 7.

“Obviously not the best news, but nonetheless, we’re glad that we have a diagnosis and a solution,” Young said. “Max is recovering and feeling better already and we look forward to getting him healthy and back out there next summer.”

MICHAEL WACHA GETS $32M, 2-YEAR DEAL WITH ROYALS, HUNTER RENFROE $13M CONTRACT, AP SOURCES SAY

The Kansas City Royals made a pair of free-agent moves Friday, agreeing to a $32 million, two-year contract with pitcher Michael Wacha and a $13 million, two-year deal with outfielder Hunter Renfroe, people familiar with the negotiations told The Associated Press.

The people spoke on condition of anonymity Friday because the agreements had not been announced.

Wacha’s deal calls for a $16 million salary next year and contains a $16 million player option for 2025.

Renfroe will get a $5.5 million salary next season, and the agreement includes a $7.5 million player option for 2025 with a $1 million buyout.

Wacha, a 32-year-old right-hander, was 14-4 with a 3.22 ERA in 24 starts for San Diego this year. He didn’t pitch for the Padres between July 1 and Aug. 15 because of right shoulder inflammation.

An All-Star in 2015, Wacha is 88-54 with a 3.96 ERA in 11 major league seasons with St. Louis (2013-19), the New York Mets (2020), Tampa Bay (2021), Boston (2022) and the Padres. He was MVP of the 2013 NL Championship Series.

He joins a projected rotation already bolstered when free agent Seth Lugo agreed to a $45 million, three-year contract. The Royals acquired Cole Ragans from Texas at midseason to join Jordan Lyles and hope Brady Singer can bounce back from a poor season.

Renfroe, who turns 32 next month, is primarily a right fielder but also plays center and first base. He hit .233 with 20 homers and 60 RBIs this year for the Los Angeles Angels and Cincinnati, which claimed him off waivers on Aug. 31 as the Angels cut payroll to try to void the luxury tax.

Renfroe has a .239 average with 177 homers and 454 RBIs in eight big league seasons with San Diego (2016-19), Tampa Bay (2020), Boston (2021), Milwaukee (2022), the Angels and Reds.

General manager J.J, Picollo had been looking to add a corner outfielder.

REPORT: DODGERS, TYLER GLASNOW AGREE TO 5-YEAR, $135M EXTENSION

The Los Angeles Dodgers are signing right-hander Tyler Glasnow to a five-year, $135 million extension to complete a trade with the Tampa Bay Rays, ESPN reported Friday.

Multiple news reports Thursday said the Dodgers acquired Glasnow and outfielder Manuel Margot from the Rays in exchange for right-hander Ryan Pepiot and outfielder Jonny Deluca.

Glasnow, 30, is slated to earn $25 million in 2024, the second and final year of a $30.35 million deal he signed with Tampa Bay in August 2022. Without an extension, he would be eligible for free agency after the 2024 World Series.

The contract extension will take effect immediately. It includes a $10 million signing bonus this year and a $30 million club option for 2029, per MLB.com. Glasnow could execute his $20 million player option should the Dodgers not pick up his option.

Glasnow has shown flashes of promise as a staff ace — when healthy. He underwent Tommy John surgery in 2021 and was limited to two starts in 2022 following his rehab. He has pitched just 60 games over the past five seasons.

He went 10-7 with a 3.53 ERA in 21 starts last season, striking out a career-high 162 batters in 120 innings. He has a career 3.89 ERA and a 30-27 record in 127 games (88 starts) for the Pittsburgh Pirates (2016-18) and Tampa Bay (2018-23).

The Dodgers are working on replacing multiple pieces in their starting rotation. It is unclear whether franchise icon Clayton Kershaw, a free agent, will return. Julio Urias is not expected to return amid an investigation into alleged domestic violence.

Dustin May underwent right elbow surgery to repair his flexor tendon on July 18 and his return timetable is unclear. Tony Gonsolin had Tommy John surgery on his right elbow on Sept. 1.

The Dodgers signed two-way star Shohei Ohtani, who was formally introduced by the team Thursday, but Ohtani will not pitch in 2024 as he recovers from arm surgery.

YANKEES TRADE OF BILLY MCKINNEY TO PIRATES

The New York Yankees traded outfielder Billy McKinney to the Pittsburgh Pirates in exchange for international signing money.

The amount of money was not included in Friday’s announcement from the Yankees.

McKinney, 29, re-signed with New York on a minor league deal last week. He batted .227 with six homers and 14 RBIs in 48 games with the Yankees in 2023.

A first-round pick (24th overall) by Oakland in 2013, McKinney is a career .209 hitter with 34 homers and 86 RBIs in 311 games with six teams.

TOP INDIANA SPORTS RELEASES/ NEWS

COLTS NEWS

PITTSBURGH STEELERS (7-6) AT INDIANAPOLIS COLTS (7-6)

QB MITCH TRUBISKY completed 22 of 35 atts. (62.9 pct.) for 190 yards & TD vs. INT & rushed for 30 yards & TD last week in 1st start of season. Has rush TD in 3 of his past 4 starts. • RB JAYLEN WARREN has 55+ scrimmage yards in 5 of his past 6. Leads team with career-high 884 scrimmage yards in 2023. • RB NAJEE HARRIS has 75+ scrimmage yards in 2 of past 3. Has rush TD in 2 of past 3 on road. Had rush TD in last meeting. Warren (884) & Harris (839) are only pair of AFC RB teammates each with 750+ scrimmage yards this season. • WR DIONTAE JOHNSON led team with 57 rec. yards & had 3rd rec. TD of season last week. Aims for 3rd in row with TD catch. Has 50+ rec. yards in 2 of past 3. Aims for his 3rd in row vs. Ind. with 5+ catches. Needs 25 rec. yards for 5th-straight 500-yard season. • WR GEORGE PICKENS led team with 5 catches in Week 14. Has 55+ rec. yards in 2 of past 3. Had 57 rec. yards in last meeting. Needs 4 catches & 35 rec. yards for new career highs. • WR ALLEN ROBINSON had 7 catches for 101 yards & TD in his last game vs. Ind. (10/4/20 w/ Chi.) & has rec. TD in 3 of his past 4 vs. Ind. • LB T.J. WATT aims for 7th in row with TFL & has 0.5+ sacks in 6 of past 7. Aims for his 3rd in row vs. Ind. with FF. Has 3.5 sacks in his past 3 vs. Ind. Ranks 2nd in NFL with 14 sacks, 4th-career season with 14+ sacks. • LB ELANDON ROBERTS 6 tackles, sack & PD in Week 14. Has 5+ tackles & TFL in 6 of past 7. • DT CAMERON HEYWARD had 6 tackles & 2nd sack of season last week. Has sack in 2 of past 3. • S MINKAH FITZPATRICK had 5 tackles & TFL in Week 14. Has 5+ tackles in 7 of past 8. Has PD in 2 of his past 3 vs. Ind. • CB PATRICK PETERSON has PD in 4 of 5 road games this season.

QB GARDNER MINSHEW completed 26 of 39 atts. (66.7 pct.) for 240 yards & TD vs. INT last week, 3rd-straight game with 240+ pass yards. Has 2+ TD passes in 2 of 3 home starts this season. • RB JONATHAN TAYLOR has 517 scrimmage yards (86.2 per game) in his past 6. Aims for his 4th in row at home with 90+ scrimmage yards. Has 3 rush TDs in 2 career games vs. Pit. • RB ZACK MOSS aims for 4th in row with 55+ scrimmage yards. Has 471 scrimmage yards (94.2 per game) in 5 home games in 2023. Needs 77 scrimmage yards for 1st-career 1,000-yard season. • WR MICHAEL PITTMAN led team with 8 catches for 95 yards last week, 6th-straight game with 8+ catches, longest active streak in NFL. Can become 5th player all-time with 8+ catches in 7 straight games within single season. Aims for 4th in row with 95+ rec. yards. Has rec. TD in 2 of past 3 at home. Had 7 catches for 61 yards & TD in last meeting.Ranks 4th in NFL with 95 catches & can become 1st Ind. player with 100 catches since 2012 (Reggie Wayne). • WR JOSH DOWNS (rookie) aims for his 5th in row at home with 5+ catches. Has 70+ rec. yards in 3 of past 4 at home. • TE MO ALIE-COX had 2nd TD catch of season in Week 14. • TE WILL MALLORY (rookie) had career-high 5 catches last week. • LB ZAIRE FRANKLIN led team with 14 tackles & had TFL in Week 14, 8th game this season with 12+ tackles, most in NFL. Has 11+ tackles in 5 of 6 home games this season. • DT DEFOREST BUCKNER had 8 tackles & PD last week. Aims for 5th in row with 6+ tackles & 4th in row with PD. • DE KWITY PAYE had TFL in Week 14. Has sack in 3 of past 4. Has career-best 7.5 sacks this season. • S RONNIE HARRISON had INT last week & has INT in 2 of his 3 games this season. Has 6+ tackles in 2 of his past 3 vs. Pit.

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) Indianapolis Colts defensive tackle DeForest Buckner is a playoff veteran, so he understands the ramifications of Saturday’s showdown with Pittsburgh.

“It’s a playoff game, you know what I mean?” Buckner said. “That’s how you’ve got to approach this week. Each and every week from here on out is critical if we are going to make the playoffs.”

The two-time Pro Bowler hopes that message resonates with his younger teammates who may not have experienced this kind of high-stakes December game.

The Colts and Steelers have plenty of similarities.

Both are 7-6 and they started Week 15 sitting in the AFC’s final two playoff spots. Injuries have forced both teams to turn to backup quarterbacks, and both hope to rebound from last week’s embarrassing losses.

The Steelers didn’t just lose their last two. They became the first NFL team with a winning record to lose back-to-back home games to teams at least eight games under .500. And they’ve only topped the 20-point mark once in their last seven games.

“I share their frustration,” Pittsburgh coach Mike Tomlin said. “Our business is winning. In the last couple of weeks, we have not handled business and we understand that, and so we’re working and working with an edge.”

Indy, meanwhile, had a four-game winning streak snapped by Cincinnati but has struggled to run the ball lately. Its last three wins came by a total of 14 points, thanks largely to turnovers and non-offensive touchdowns. The Colts also have lost eight straight to the Steelers, most recently on Nov. 28, 2022.

Saturday’s outcome could go a long way in determining whether either team makes the playoffs, where neither has had much recent success. Indy hasn’t won a postseason game since the 2018 season, and Pittsburgh’s last playoff win was two years earlier.

At the very least, this game could have a playoff feel.

“I think that’s the beauty of being in the playoff race, at this point in the season we have to treat every game like it’s a playoff game,” Colts safety Julian Blackmon said. “If we control our own destiny, I think we’ll like the results.”

FOLLOWING PROTOCOL

Steelers outside linebackers T.J. Watt and Alex Highsmith spent the week in the concussion protocol and while Watt has been cleared to play, Highsmith remains questionable after doing limited work at Wednesday’s practice.

When both are healthy, the Steelers have one of the league’s best pass-rushing tandems. Watt and Highsmith have combined for 20 sacks, 43 quarterback hits, five forced fumbles, two interceptions and two TDs. Their production is a big reason Pittsburgh has stayed in the playoff hunt despite its struggling offense.

HOME WOES

Indy hasn’t had much of a home-field advantage over the past two seasons – or in this series. The Colts are 2-9 in their last 11 at Lucas Oil Stadium, going 2-4 this season while losing their only two one-possession games at home.

Pittsburgh is 4-0 at Lucas Oil Stadium. The most painful loss for Indy came in the divisional round of the playoffs after the 2005 season, when the Steelers knocked off the top-seeded Colts.

First-year coach Shane Steichen believes this time may be different.

“I think our fans are going to be ready to roll,” he said. “I think our fans are going to show up and be loud. Our fans will be ready.”

KEEPING IT SIMPLE

Steelers quarterback Mitch Trubisky took responsibility after last week’s loss to New England, saying he needs to play better to give the offense a chance to win.

Maybe avoiding turnovers like his ill-advised pass into triple coverage that was picked off and led directly to a Patriots touchdown might be enough. Pittsburgh is 4-1 when it doesn’t give the ball away and 2-5 when it does. Putting Trubisky in position to make quick decisions rather than hold onto the ball is part of the solution.

“How do we skinny down the game plan where he can play fast and get the ball out of his hands (and) get it to our playmakers?” interim offensive coordinator Eddie Faulkner said. “Our thoughts are always wrapped around better ways to do that.”

THROWBACK SATURDAY

Indy will don throwback uniforms in the style of the 1956 Baltimore Colts team, which had Pittsburgh native Johnny Unitas at quarterback.

Saturday’s uniforms will have three stripes around the shoulder panel and on the socks, a single blue stripe on the pants and two horseshoes on the lower back of the helmet. Player numbers will have a slightly different font and will appear higher on the shoulder. The Colts’ cheerleaders will also wear replica outfits from the 1950s.

  • The Steelers are 26-6 (.813) all-time against the Colts (including the postseason)—the best record by any active team against any active opponent with at least 30 matchups all-time.
  • With one more win in their final four games of 2023, the Steelers would reach at least eight wins for the 20th consecutive season. If they hit the mark, it would be the longest such streak in NFL history.
  • T.J. Watt has now played in 100 career games and has 91.5 sacks. The only player to debut since sacks were officially tracked in 1982 to have more sacks through 100 career games is Reggie White (105).
  • The Colts are tied for the third most sacks (42) and have the third most stuffs (43), the only team with 40 of each so far this season. The last time a team finished in the top three in both categories over a full season was 2020 when both Pittsburgh and Philadelphia did so.
  • Michael Pittman Jr. has 95 catches through 13 games for the Colts this season. He is behind 2002 Marvin Harrison (118) for the most catches by any Colts player through 13 games in any season in team history.
  • The game between the 7-6 Steelers (-40) and 7-6 Colts (-16) will be tied for the second-latest matchup in any season in NFL history between two teams that are over .500 with a negative point differential. The only later such matchup happened in Week 17 of 2016 when the 8-7 Titans (-4) defeated the 9-6 Texans (-42).

INDIANA PACERS NEWS

GAME REWIND: PACERS 123, WIZARDS 137

With the No. 1 team in the Western Conference coming up next on the second leg of a road back-to-back, the Indiana Pacers will have to quickly put a frustrating loss in the nation’s capital behind them.

At Capital One Arena on Friday, the Washington Wizards (4-20) snapped a six-game losing streak by handing the Pacers (13-10) a 137-123 loss.

Washington took a big lead early thanks to a 15-0 run in the second quarter and led by double digits for the entirety of the second half. The 137 points for the Wizards are a season-best.

Indiana shot 44.9 percent from the field to Washington’s 56.5 percent and was outscored in points in the paint (68-55), second-chance points (22-19) and fast break points (26-13).

Six players scored in double figures for the Blue & Gold, led by 20 points and 13 rebounds from Isaiah Jackson off the bench and 19 points and 11 assists from Tyrese Haliburton.

Kyle Kuzma recorded 31 points for the Wizards, Jordan Poole added 30, and point guard Tyus Jones finished with 13 points, 11 assists and 10 rebounds for the first triple-double of his career.

“We talked a lot about how dangerous these guys were and how hungry they were likely to be,” Pacers head coach Rick Carlisle said. “All that was true. You’ve got to give them credit. They played a determined game.”

After leading by seven at the end of the first quarter, the Pacers shot 30.8 percent in the second quarter to trail the Wizards 69-55 at halftime.

Eight different Indiana players recorded a basket for the Pacers in the opening 12 minutes, and the visitors led 37-30 at the end of the first quarter.

The Wizards took the lead early thanks to four Pacers turnovers, but a 10-4 run sparked by an and-one from Haliburton put the Pacers up 15-13 with 6:45 left in the opening frame.

Out of a timeout, the two fastest-paced teams in the NBA traded the lead seven times until Jackson scored eight straight points from close range to give the Pacers a 27-22 advantage with 2:27 on the clock.

In the final 1:04 of the first quarter, Aaron Nesmith nailed a pair of 3-pointers – including a trey with one tick left on the clock – to increase the lead to seven.

In the second quarter, the Wizards made 59 percent of their shots, including going 5-for-11 from 3-point, for 39 points while limiting the Pacers to 18 points.

Indiana came out ice cold to start the second quarter, shooting 1-of-8 four minutes into the frame, and the Wizards took advantage by going on a 15-0 run – behind eight points by Corey Kispert – to lead 45-40 with 7:39 left in the half.

Out of a timeout, the scoring spree extended to 25-6 thanks to seven quick points by Poole and a 3-pointer by Kuzma to boost the Wizards’ lead to 57-44 with 4:16 remaining in the half.

In the final 1:34 of the first half, the Wizards ended on an 8-2 run to go up by 14.

After trading baskets during the first two minutes of the third quarter, the Wizards extended the lead to 81-62 behind an 8-2 run.

The Pacers cut the deficit to 13 points thanks to five straight points by Obi Toppin, but a 12-4 Washington scoring streak boosted the Wizards advantage to 101-80 with 2:34 left in the third quarter.

Going into the final frame, the Pacers trailed 108-87.

The Pacers mustered a 15-5 span to narrow the score to 116-102 with 7:22 left in the game, on five points by T.J. McConnell and a pair of dunks by Jackson, but the Blue & Gold never got any closer than 12 points the rest of the game.

Indiana hasn’t won a season series against the Wizards since the 2019-2020 campaign, and the teams will play one last time this season in Indianapolis on Jan. 10.

The Pacers complete their four-game road trip on Saturday by taking on the Minnesota Timberwolves (18-5) at Target Center. The Wolves beat the Dallas Mavericks 119-101 on Thursday.

Inside the Numbers

Isaiah Jackson recorded season highs in both points (20) and rebounds (13).

Tyrese Haliburton recorded his 17th double-double of the season and Jackson earned his first one of the 2023-24 campaign.

The Pacers’ bench outscored the Wizards’ reserves 67-48.

The Pacers are now 11-3 when six or more players score in double figures.

Myles Turner’s streak of scoring at least 10 points in a game ended at 18 straight games. He finished with six points on Friday.

Indiana made 15 3-pointers and Washington had 13 treys.

The Pacers shot 12-for-16 from the free throw line and the Wizards were 20-of-26 from the charity stripe.

You Can Quote Me On That

“We made a lot of mistakes. We had turnovers, we missed shots, we didn’t defend well. It turned into a barrage in the second quarter, and wasn’t a whole lot better in the third.” – Pacers head coach Rick Carlisle on key moments in the loss

“They just kept coming. They’ve got a very good rim rate and they got in the bonus early. That’s a problem – that’s been an ongoing challenge for us all year.” – Carlisle

“I thought Washington’s spirit was really good and determined all night long. It’s a disappointing loss, but if you’re not right … these things happen.” – Carlisle

“I just feel like I’ve been playing aggressively the last five, six games. I just feel like I came out with the aggression that we sort of needed even though we didn’t get the win. I think going into the next game we’re going to need it playing against those bigger guys, (Rudy) Gobert and KAT. I’m going to bring it.” – Isaiah Jackson on his recent play

“I think this is a game we just watch film on and sort of come back and use this game as a learning experience.” – Jackson on the loss

“They played harder than us. We kind of failed our schemes. We need to not play to the level of our competition record-wise.” – Aaron Nesmith on the loss

Stat of the Night

Indiana’s 18 points in the second quarter were a season low for scoring in that frame.

Noteworthy

Tyrese Haliburton exited the game at the end of the third quarter with a knee contusion and didn’t return.

Hours after signing a new deal, forward James Johnson was active for the Pacers on Friday. Johnson is in his 15th NBA season.

Pacers backup center Jalen Smith (knee bone bruise, heel contusion) hasn’t played since Nov. 21, and reserve point guard Andrew Nembhard (knee bone bruise) has missed the last four games.

Including the In-Season Tournament Championship game in Las Vegas, Indiana has played in four different arenas in six days. The Pacers conclude their road trip on Saturday before hosting the Los Angeles Clippers on Monday.

Up Next

The Pacers travel to Minnesota to wrap up a four-game road trip against Anthony Edwards and the Timberwolves on Saturday, Dec. 16 at 8:00 PM ET.

GAME PREVIEW: PACERS AT TIMBERWOLVES

After a disappointing performance on Friday night in Washington, the Pacers (13-10) will try to close out a four-game road trip on a positive note on Saturday night in Minnesota. But getting a win won’t be an easy task against an 18-5 Timberwolves team that has the best record in the Western Conference.

The Pacers are coming off a 137-123 loss to a Wizards team that had dropped 15 of their last 16 games prior to Friday. But Washington outscored Indiana 39-18 in the second quarter and never let the Blue & Gold back in the game on Friday, shooting 56.1 percent from the field and 48.1 percent from 3-point range.

The most positive performance for the Pacers on Friday came from backup center Isaiah Jackson. The third-year big man recorded his first double-double of the season with 20 points on 10-of-13 shooting and 13 rebounds in just 20 minutes of action. All-Star guard Tyrese Haliburton also managed a double-double with 19 points and 11 assists.

After finishing seventh and eighth in the West the past two seasons, the Timberwolves appear to have taken a leap, as they have been the conference’s best team through the first quarter of the 2023-24 campaign.

Fresh off his first All-Star selection, 22-year-old wing Anthony Edwards is emerging as one of the league’s next superstars. The number one pick in the 2020 NBA Draft is averaging a team-high 23.6 points per game to go along with 5.5 rebounds, 5.2 assists, and 1.3 steals per contest. Edwards’ status for Saturday’s game is up in the air, as he is officially listed as questionable due to a hip pointer.

Aside from Edwards, the Timberwolves have seemingly figured out how to best utilize their “twin tower” frontcourt pairing of Karl-Anthony Towns and Rudy Gobert in their second season together. Three-time All-Star Towns is averaging 21.6 points and 9.4 rebounds, stretching the defense with his 42.3-percent 3-point shooting. Gobert, the three-time Defensive Player of the Year, anchors the defense and is averaging 13 points, 12.2 rebounds, and 2.4 blocks per game.

Projected Starters

Pacers: G – Tyrese Haliburton, G – Bruce Brown, F – Buddy Hield, F – Obi Toppin, C – Myles Turner

Timberwolves: G – Mike Conley, G – Anthony Edwards, F – Jaden McDaniels, F – Karl-Anthony Towns, C – Rudy Gobert

Injury Report

Pacers: Andrew Nembhard – out (right knee bone bruise), Jalen Smith – out (left knee bone bruise/left heel contusion)

Timberwolves: Anthony Edwards – questionable (right hip pointer), Jaylen Clark – out (right Achilles tendon rupture rehab), Leonard Miller – out (G League assignment)

Last Meeting

Dec. 7, 2022: The Pacers fell to the Timberwolves in Minnesota, 121-115, in the final stop of a seven-game road trip.

Myles Turner’s 3-pointer with 50.5 seconds left tied the game at 115, but Buddy Hield fouled Rudy Gobert on the other end. After the Frenchman hit both free throws, he blocked Hield on the other end to seal the victory.

Tyrese Haliburton had 26 points and 15 assists in the loss, while Hield also scored 26 while going 7-for-11 from 3-point range. Turner finished with 23 points, seven rebounds, and four blocks.

D’Angelo Russell led Minnesota with a game-high 28 points, going 4-for-9 from 3-point range. Anthony Edwards stuffed the stat sheet with 26 points, eight rebounds, eight assists, and six blocks, while Gobert had a monster double-double with 16 points and 21 rebounds.

The Timberwolves outrebounded Indiana 51-31 overall and 16-4 on the offensive glass, outscoring the Blue & Gold 64-36 in points in the paint.

Noteworthy

The Pacers have dropped four straight games against the Timberwolves, who have swept the season series with Indiana each of the last two seasons.

Indiana is 1-2 on the season when playing on the second night of a back-to-back. Saturday will be the first time the Pacers play the second half of a back-to-back on the road.

Pacers center Myles Turner needs nine points to reach 7,000 for his career. His 6,991 career points rank 10th in NBA franchise history.

Haliburton and Edwards were teammates this summer on the United States men’s national team that finished in fourth place at the 2023 FIBA World Cup.

Broadcast Information (TV and Radio Listings >>)

TV: Bally Sports Indiana – Chris Denari (play-by-play), Quinn Buckner (analyst), Jeremiah Johnson (sideline reporter/host)

Radio: 93.5/107.5 The Fan – Mark Boyle (play-by-play), Pat Boylan (studio host)

Tickets

The Pacers return to Gainbridge Fieldhouse to host Paul George, Kawhi Leonard and the Los Angeles Clippers on Monday, Dec. 18 at 7:00 PM ET.

INDY FUEL HOCKEY

FUEL FALL TO WHEELING ON FRIDAY

WHEELING- The Fuel headed to Wheeling, West Virginia for their fourth matchup with the Nailers this month to begin their weekend. Despite scoring first, the Fuel ultimately fell to the Nailers 4-1.

1ST PERIOD

Neither team tallied a shot for the first few minutes of the game but it was eventually the Fuel who broke that streak quickly earning three before the halfway point in the period.

Additionally, the Fuel took the first penalty, a tripping call on Anthony Petruzzelli at 6:19 that they killed off.

Indy also scored first with a tipped in goal by captain Seamus Malone with the help of Cam Hillis and Connor Fedorek.

At the end of the first period, the Fuel were outshooting the Nailers 9-2.

2ND PERIOD

Owen Headrick made quick work in the second frame to get Wheeling on the board with a goal at 2:28 to tie the game at one each. Less than three minutes later, the Nailers took the lead with a goal from Jordan Frasca after a turnover in the neutral zone.

At 5:27, Matthew Quercia and Chris Cameron each got two minutes for roughing after a big hit on Cameron. Just four seconds later, Bryan Lemos took a slashing penalty giving Wheeling almost two full minutes on a 4-on-3 power play.

Frasca got his second goal of the period and game at 7:33 to make it 3-1 Wheeling before things calmed down between both teams.

At 10:42, Dillon Hamaliuk took a charging penalty giving the Fuel a power play however the Nailers were able to kill it off.

Hillis took a tripping penalty at 19:38, putting the Nailers back on the power play that would last into the third period.

While the Fuel matched their first period total of nine shots, Wheeling poured on thirteen of their own which resulted in three goals.

3RD PERIOD

Quickly the penalty on Hillis was killed off as Wheeling continued adding to their shot count.

At 4:29, Frasca took a high sticking penalty against Indy’s DJ King, giving the Fuel another power play, however the Nailers killed it off.

Hillis went back to the box for slashing at 10:45 and one minute and one second later, Jordan Martel scored on the power play to make it 4-1 in favor of Wheeling.

With about six minutes to go in the third, Cédric Desruisseaux was given two minutes for unsportsmanlike conduct along with an offsetting ten minute misconduct penalties with Indy’s Jordan Martin.

This did not affect the outcome as the score remained the same as time ticked down on regulation. Wheeling ultimately claimed the 4-1 win over Indy on their home ice.

The Indy Fuel are back in action at Indiana Farmers Coliseum tomorrow on December 16, 2023 for Wintertainment and Teddy Bear Toss against the Kalamazoo Wings.

BUTLER WOMEN’S BASKETBALL

BIG EAST OPENER SENDS BUTLER TO #17 UCONN

INDIANAPOLIS – The Bulldogs will begin BIG EAST action on Monday night with a 7 PM tip vs. #17 UConn at the XL Center. Fans can catch the conference opener on SNY.

GameDay

Date: Monday, Dec. 18

Time: 7 PM

Location: Hartford, Conn. – XL Center

Live Stats: UConnHuskies.com – Statbroadcast

Watch: SNY – UConn Sports Network

Bulldog Bits

– Jordan Meulemans took (13) and made (9) more shots against Chicago State than any other team in her BU career.

– Meulemans ranks third in the BIG EAST and 18th in the NCAA in 3-point field goal percentage (50.8).

– Meulemans averages 3.1 made 3-pointers per game to rank third in the conference.

– Meulemans has not attempted a free throw this year.

– Caroline Strande scored a career-high 22 points vs. CSU by making a career-high 8 field goals.

– Strande ranks seventh in the BIG EAST in rebounding (7.4) and ninth in scoring (16.1).

– Strande and Ari Wiggins set new career-high assist totals vs. the Cougars with six each.

– Wiggins matched her career-high rebound total with five and Strande led BU in rebounding with nine.

– Wiggins ranks fourth in the BIG EAST in steals per game (2.2).

– Wiggins has a steal in five-straight games.

– The Bulldogs are the second-best team in the BIG EAST in defending the 3-point line (28.5%).

– Butler has made more 3-pointers this season (86) than any other BIG EAST team.

– Rachel Kent has scored in double figures in four of Butler’s last five games. She is averaging 14.8 ppg during that stretch.

BIG EAST Standings

Marquette 1-0, 10-0

Georgetown 8-1

Creighton 0-1, 7-2

Butler 7-3

Seton Hall 7-3

UConn 6-3

Villanova 6-4

DePaul 6-5

Providence 5-5

St. John’s 5-6

Xavier 0-8

Scouting #17 UConn                                                                            

The Huskies are 6-3 this season and will host #18 Louisville on Saturday before playing Butler on Monday. UConn recorded their second win over a ranked opponent on Dec. 10 with a 76-64 victory over North Carolina. Paige Bueckers scored 26 points against the Tar Heels and was named BIG EAST Player of the Week on Dec. 11. Bueckers averaged 20.5 points, three rebounds and three steals in a 2-0 week for UConn. Ashlynn Shade earned BIG EAST Freshman of the Week honors. Shade was the third different UConn rookie to earn the weekly honor after averaging 12.5 points in victories over Ball State and UNC. All three UConn losses came against quality opponents. They fell 92-81 at NC State, 78-67 to UCLA in the Cayman Islands and 80-68 at Texas. Head Coach Geno Auriemma is in his 39th season at UConn. Auriemma has won 11 National Championships and has guided UConn to 22 Final Fours.

All-Time Series                                                                                      

Butler is 0-5 all-time against UConn. The first meeting was played on Jan. 19, 2021 at UConn. The Huskies won it 103-35. The second meeting that season at Hinkle Fieldhouse was the closest matchup between the two programs with UConn winning 97-68.

Last Meeting vs. UConn                                                                      

Butler took a 79-39 loss at UConn last year. The Huskies were ranked fifth in the Top-25 Poll and were led to victory by Aaliyah Edwards. The junior forward had a game-high 20 points, seven rebounds, four assists, three blocks and two steals against BU. The Bulldogs led UConn by three after the first quarter but were outscored 26-6 in the second quarter. Sydney Jaynes led Butler with seven points and four rebounds in the setback.

A Look Back at Last Week                                                                                 

The Bulldogs didn’t play this week due to final exams, but the week prior the team went 1-1 with a loss to Vanderbilt and a win over Chicago State. Caroline Strande and Jordan Meulemans each averaged 17 points per game. Strande scored a career-high 22 points vs. the Cougars and led the team in scoring vs. Vanderbilt with 12. She shot 70 percent from the field and also averaged 7.5 rebounds, four assists, and two steals per game during that stretch. Meulemans made eight 3-pointers last week with three against Vandy and five against CSU. She scored 11 against the Commodores and a team-high 23 vs. the Cougars.

BIG EAST Openers                                                                                               

Butler is 1-9 all-time in BIG EAST openers. Their lone win came at Villanova (63-55) during the 2018-19 season. BU has averaged 59.2 points over 10 BIG EAST openers and has allowed 70.7 points. This will be the first time they open conference play against UConn.

Welcome To the XL Center                                                                               

UConn will host Butler at the XL Center this year. The contest will be the first-ever meeting between the two programs at the 15,000-seat downtown arena in Hartford. Originally known as the Hartford Civic Center, the building was renamed in December of 2007.

Meulemans For 3!                                                                                              

Jordan Meulemans ranks 13th in the NCAA in made 3-pointers (31), 17th in 3-point field goal percentage (50.8) and 23rd in made 3-pointers per game (3.1). Meulemans made 10 3-pointers over the first five games of the season and has made 21 over her last five.

2 for 20                                                                                                   

Jordan Meulemans and Caroline Strande became the first Bulldog teammates to score 20 points or more in the same game since Feb. 28, 2020. Meulemans scored a team-high 23 points with five made 3-pointers and Strande shot 8-for-10 from the field to come up with her career-high 22 points. The last Bulldog duo to score 20 each in the same game was Kristen Spolyar and Kat Strong. Spolyar had 28 at St. John’s and Strong posted 21.

Strande Steps Up                                                                                                

Caroline Strande has made 56 field goals for Butler over the first 10 games of the season. Last year she made 65 shots over the span of 30 games.

Career Milestone                                                                                                

Rachel Kent needs 15 points against UConn to reach 1,400 in her collegiate career. No other Bulldog on the roster has more than 530.

Thanks for The Assist                                                                           

The Bulldogs recorded 21 assists on 32 made field goals against Chicago State. It marked the third time this season that Butler has topped 20 assists in a game. They had a season-high 27 assists on 39 made shots vs. Roosevelt and 20 assists on 28 made shots vs. Bradley. Caroline Strande (6), Ari Wiggins (6) and Sydney Jaynes (5) combined for 17 of the 21 vs. the Cougars. Wiggins leads the team with 28 assists this season (2.8 per game). She had eight assists over her first five games but has 20 over her last five.

Causing Chaos                                                                                       

The Bulldog defense has recorded 10 or more steals in four of their last five games. The team is coming off a season-high 13 steals vs. Chicago State. BU scored 28 points off 23 Cougar turnovers.

Tied a Team Record                                                                                            

Jordan Meulemans made eight 3-pointers in the win over St. Thomas to match the single-game high in the BIG EAST this season. She ended the contest going 8-for-10 from behind the arc to score a career-high 24 points. Butler made 16 3-pointers as a team, the second-most by a conference team this year. Meulemans was just one 3-pointer shy of tying the single-game BU individual record and the ‘Dawgs tied their team record.

Up Next                                                                                                                 

Butler’s final non-conference game of the season will be played on Thursday, Dec. 21 against Ohio. The Bobcats will visit Hinkle Fieldhouse for a 1 PM tip. That contest will stream on the Butler Athletics YouTube page for free. BIG EAST action returns after the ball drop. Butler will host Georgetown on Jan. 3 at 7 PM.

BUTLER MEN’S BASKETBALL

BIZJACK’S 17 LEAD BUTLER TO 96-70 WIN OVER SAGINAW VALLEY STATE

Butler closed out the non-conference portion of its schedule with a 96-70 win over Saginaw Valley State Friday night at Hinkle Fieldhouse in Indianapolis.

Freshman Finley Bizjack led five Bulldogs in double figures with a career-high 17 points.

With the victory, Butler improves to 9-2 as the team enters BIG EAST play Tuesday night.

HOW IT TRANSPIRED:

The Bulldogs jumped out to a 17-2 lead (at the 15:03 mark of the first half) and never looked back.

Butler led 47-29 at halftime and the lead would grow to as many as 31 in the second half.

OF NOTE:

Butler now has won six games in a row.

Butler has scored

Butler has scored at least 80 points in eight of its 11 games to start the season; the Bulldogs only hit the 80-point mark six times total a season ago.

The Bulldogs hit a season-high 15 three-pointers, going 15-for-32 from behind the arc. Eight different Bulldogs hit at least one.

Butler had a 50-12 advantage in bench points.

The Bulldogs had 25 assists on 35 made field goals.

Bizjack’s career night included a 3-for-6 performance from three-point range and six free throws. He added four assists.

DJ Davis scored 12 points on four three-pointers.

Pierre Brooks II scored 15 points in 20 minutes of action. He has scored in double figures in every game this season.

Landon Moore scored 10 points and added five assists.

Jahmyl Telfort scored 11 points and matched Moore for the team-high with five assists. Telfort made four of his five attempts from the field, including all three of his shots from behind the arc.

Connor Turnbull had seven points, a career-high seven rebounds and three blocks.

Augusto Cassia, who has missed the early portion of the season due to a muscle strain in his leg, made his Butler debut. He had three points and four rebounds in 14 minutes of action.

Jalen Thomas had a game-high eight rebounds for the Bulldogs; he added three blocks.

Butler shot 47 percent from the field.

Bizjack becomes the tenth different Bulldog to hit double figures in a game this season. Tonight was the sixth game this season with five or more Bulldogs scoring in double figures. 

The Bulldogs went 11-for-12 from the free throw line. Butler’s 77.7-percent free throw percentage entering the game was 15th nationally.

Butler is 77-2 over its last 79 non-conference home games; Butler has won 15 straight non-conference home games.

Freddie McIntosh led Saginaw Valley State with 22 points.

The Cardinals shot 46 percent from the field.

UP NEXT: Butler finishes its five-game homestand Tuesday night, hosting Georgetown in the BIG EAST opener for both teams. Tickets are still available for the 6:30 p.m. tip, which will also air on FS1. Following that game, the Bulldogs will be away from Hinkle Fieldhouse until Jan. 5 with two conference road games in between.

IUPUI WOMEN’S BASKETBALL

JAGUARS FALL TO EAGLES IN OVERTIME THRILLER

INDIANAPOLIS – The final non-conference game in the Jungle needed extra time to determine a winner, with the IUPUI women’s basketball team falling to Eastern Michigan, 84-74, Friday night (Dec. 15) after being outscored 13-3 in the overtime period.

IUPUI (2-8, 0-2 HL) got off to an excellent start, scoring 14 of the game’s first 16 points after three and a half minutes of play. The team shot a perfect 6-for-6 to begin the contest, with Katie Davidson accounting for half the field goals coupled with a free throw to lead all players with seven points. The efficient offense and stout defense forced Eastern Michigan interim head coach Ke’Sha Blanton to call an early timeout.

The dominance continued out of the break, with the Jags making their next two shots to continue perfect from the field. The Eagles finally got on the board with two free throws from Olivia Westphal. The Jaguars recorded their first missed field goal attempt at the 4:38 mark, playing five-plus minutes without a miss for the first time this season.

It took Jazmyn Turner all of 20 seconds to tally her first point in her first game back from injury, knocking in a free throw after getting fouled on a layup. A minute later, the graduate student connected on a floater from the free throw line through contact for her first field goal since picking up an injury at Ohio State (Nov. 12).

The 27 points scored by IUPUI in the first quarter were the most of any quarter this season, and the 10 points allowed are the fewest given up in any quarter. Six different players scored in the quarter, led by Davidson and Faith Stinson who each tallied seven. Apart from shooting nearly 70 percent from the field, the hosts also went a perfect 3-for-3 from beyond the arc—the first time all season the team didn’t miss a three-pointer in a quarter.

Eastern Michigan (2-7, 0-0 MAC) opened quarter number two on an 13-5 run to cut into the deficit. The run stemmed from the pressure on the defensive end, forcing seven IUPUI turnovers in as many minutes. On the offensive side of the ball, Ashley Hassett and Olivia Smith each connected on two three-pointers, including a buzzer-beater from Smith from just passed halfcourt that cut the deficit to single-digits, 40-32, after 20 minutes.

Davidson added six points in the second 10 minutes to reach 13 to lead all scorers in the first half. She also pulled down a team-high five boards and added two assists. The Jaguars did a great job finding open teammates, registering 11 assists in the first half, with four different players having two—Davidson, Jaela Johnson, Jaci Jones and Kace Urlacher.

Continuing the momentum built at the end of the first half, the Eagles quickly tied the contest at 42 after a 10-2 run to open the third quarter. The visitors continued their hot shooting from beyond the arc, with Cali Denson and ZaNiya Nelson each finding the bottom of the net from deep. The run forced head coach Kate Bruce to call her first timeout of the game to settle down her team.

An Abby Wolterman three-pointer restored the Jaguars’ lead out of the break, while a Davidson fast-break layup following a steal quickly extended the lead to five. The hosts, however, wouldn’t stop there, closing out the quarter on a 14-4 run before another Eagles’ buzzer-beater three would make the score 56-49. Wolterman was a spark in the quarter, scoring half the team’s points to maintain the lead.

The run continued into the fourth quarter, with IUPUI scoring 10 of the first 14 to increase the advantage to 13. After an Eastern Michigan timeout, Tayra Eke scored back-to-back baskets in the paint to again cut the deficit to single digits. A couple minutes later, the junior from Spain would knock down a jumper to keep her team in the game.

After holding the Jaguars scoreless for four minutes, the Eagles cut the deficit to five following a second-chance layup by Hassett. With two minutes remaining Eke again found the bottom of the net from the paint to make it a three-point contest. A pair of free throws by Hassett would cut the deficit to one with just under two minutes remaining.

Eastern Michigan would take its first lead since the opening minute of the game after a Kyndal Lewis layup, forcing an IUPUI timeout with 56 seconds left. Following the break, Davidson knocked down an elbow jumper to retake the lead—the team’s first basket in almost six minutes of play.

Each side executed the plays the coaches drew up out of timeouts, leading to four consecutive lead changes before a foul sent Davidson to the free throw line with seven seconds left. After knocking down the first to tie the game she missed the second. However, a great defensive play by Davidson as time expired sent the game to overtime with the match squared at 71.

The Eagles opened the overtime period with back-to-back baskets to claim a four-point advantage. That lead was stretched to six following a driving layup by Eke. Head coach Kate Bruce was forced to call a timeout with just over two minutes remaining after Kennedi Myles extended the lead to eight.

Following the timeout Johnson hit a clutch three to give the Jaguars hope, but the three proved to be the only basket for the hosts in the overtime period, and the Eagles knocked down clutch free throws down the stretch to put the game out of reach. The victory was interim head coach Ke’Sha Blanton’s first as she replaced Fred Castro earlier this week.

Eke led Blanton’s squad with 18 points on an efficient 9-of-12 shooting. Four other Eagles reached double-digit scoring, including Myles who recorded a double-double with 11 points and a game-high 16 rebounds. The visitors 49-40 edge in the rebounding was a key part in the victory, as they notched 21 second-chance points compared to just seven for the Jags.

Katie Davidson again led IUPUI scorers, tallying a game-high 22 points on 10-of-18 shooting. The junior also grabbed seven boards and was credited for three assists. Stinson and Wolterman reached double-digits for the second straight game, recording 13 and 15 points, respectively. Wolterman also pulled down a team-high 8 rebounds and added three assists—both season-highs. 

The Jaguars will now travel to West Palm Beach to take on South Florida on Wednesday (Dec. 20). Tipoff is set for 1:15 and you can follow along live at IUPUIJags.com.

BALL STATE MEN’S BASKETBALL: MEN’S BASKETBALL SET FOR SATURDAY SHOWDOWN WITH INDIANA STATE

The Ball State men’s basketball team will play Indiana State at 1:45 p.m. on Saturday at Gainbridge Fieldhouse in Indianapolis in the second annual Indy Classic Powered by Gainbridge.

The game will be streamed on Peacock with Noah Eagle (play-by-play), Robbie Hummel (analyst) and Caroline Pineda (sideline reporter) on the call. Mick Tidrow and David Eha handle the radio broadcast on WMUN 1340AM – 92.5FM.

The Cardinals (8-2) take on the Sycamore (9-1) in their fourth intrastate showdown of the year. Indiana State leads the all-time series 75-62, but Ball State has taken 4 of the last 6 meetings. The Sycamores claimed an 83-71 decision in Terre Haute last November.

Basheer Jihad upped his career-high again to 27 points, while adding 10 rebounds, in Sunday’s 83-71 win over SIUE. The Cardinals clinched their fourth straight undefeated home nonconference slate while upping their winning streak to 19 in such contests.

Indiana State, of the Missouri Valley Conference, rides an eight-game winning streaking heading into Saturday, as the Sycamores most recently topped Southern Indiana 98-54 on Dec. 9. The team from Terre Haute, Ind., features an efficient offensive attack that leads the MVC in multiple statistical categories.

Ball State recorded a 20-12 record (11-7 Mid-American Conference) in 2022-23 to earn the No. 4 seed in the MAC Tournament. Head coach Michael Lewis enters his second season leading the Cardinals after recent stops as an assistant at UCLA, Nebraska and Butler.

Juniors Mickey Pearson Jr. and Jihad headline the returners, as they averaged 7.7 points and 5.5 rebounds and 7.1 points and 3.6 rebounds per game, respectively, in 2022-23. Three transfers and five true freshmen bolster Ball State’s 2023-24 team.

SCOUTING INDIANA STATE: The Sycamores went 23-13 (13-7 MVC) last season in head coach Josh Schertz’s 2nd leading the program. Indiana State was knocked out in the semifinals of the MVC Tournament and quarterfinals of the College Basketball Invitational in March 2023.

The Sycamore lead the league and rank in the Top 20 nationally in effective field goal percentage (62.1, first), field goal percentage (52.5, third), 3-point shooting (41.1 percent, fifth), scoring offense (88.5 points per game, ninth), assists per game (18.2, 17th) and scoring margin (+17.6, 20th).

Junior guard Isaiah Swope, a transfer out of Southern Indiana, paces the team in scoring at 19.7 points per game, but didn’t play last Saturday. Swope’s average is second in The Valley and No. 33 in NCAA Division I, while his 3-pointers made per game (3.78) ranks sixth nationally. Indiana State also boasts four other players in double figures scoring, including sophomore center Robbie Avila (16.6 points per game), sophomore Ryan Conwell (15.2), junior Jayson Kent (13.1) and junior Julian Larry (10.5).

CARDINAL DIRECTIONS

Jihad leads the Cardinals in scoring (19.3 points per game) and rebounding (7.4) averages. The junior forward out of Detroit has led the Cardinals in scoring eight games so far, scoring in double-figures nine times, including five games with 20+ points. The big man’s total points (193) rank second in the Mid-American Conference, while his rebounding average is fourth.

The Cardinals lead the MAC in scoring defense (64.9 points per game), rebounding margin (+6.0) and fewest fouls committed per game (13.3), which ranks fifth nationally. Ball State holds a +11.6 scoring margin (second in the MAC).

Ball State’s 20 wins last year were its most since 2016-17 when that team won 21. This season’s Cardinals will look for back-to-back 20-win schedules for the first time since that 2016-17 season.

The Cardinals are a young group, as the roster includes only one senior or graduate student (Ethan Brittain-Watts). Ball State returns only 21.5 percent of minutes played and 19.6 percent of points scored from last year’s team.

Brittain-Watts (Boston University), Jalin Anderson (Loyola Marymount) and Davion Bailey (Southeastern CC) form Ball State’s trio of transfers.

Joey Brown (Indianapolis), Zane Doughty (Indianapolis), Mason Jones (Valparaiso, Ind.), Trent Middleton Jr. (Philadelphia) and Jurica Zagorsak (Zadar, Croatia) are the Cardinals’ quintet of true freshmen.

Ball State recently signed forward Jai Anthoni Bearden (Phoenix, Ariz.) and guard Jermarhi “Fatt” Hill (Bessemer, Ala.) to national letters of intent to form the Cardinals’ 2024 recruiting class.

BANKING ON BASHEER: Junior forward Basheer Jihad leads the team in scoring (19.3 points per game), rebounding (7.4 per game) and field goal percentage (52.4) among Cardinals averaging at least four field goal attempts this season. Jihad has established or tied career highs in scoring five times already this season, including in Sunday’s win vs SIUE (27 points).

The Detroit native’s scoring average has nearly tripled over last year (7.1), while his rebounding average has more than doubled (3.6). Jihad started only one game in his first two seasons at Ball State, but has been a mainstay in the starting lineup as an upperclassman now.

JALIN JAMS: Anderson, a transfer out of Loyola Marymount in Los Angeles, leads the Ball State backcourt in scoring (15.1 points per game) and the team in assists (4.1 per game) as the Cardinals’ lead guard.

The Jackson, Tenn., native boasts Ball State’s highest offensive output (29 points against Old Dominion) so far and is on pace to set career bests for points, rebounds, assists and steals. Anderson has shown a penchant for explosive offensive performances, posting three 20+ point games so far in the nonconference season.

EMERGENCE OF BIG BEN: Redshirt junior center Ben Hendriks has started each of the last six games, totaling career-highs of 11 points and seven rebounds in the Dec. 2 win over Bellarmine and 32 minutes played in the Dec. 10 win against SIUE.

Hendriks already surpassed his career-bests for points (42), blocks (nine), assists (nine) and steals (three) in a season through the schedule’s first 10 games while shooting an impressive 84.2 percent at the free throw line. The big man has seen increased playing time over the last six contests, averaging 22.7 minutes per game after playing 6.8 per in the first four games.

PLAYER OF THE WEEK X2: Jihad was named the Mid-American Conference Men’s Basketball Co-Player of the Week for the second consecutive time for his performances against Detroit Mercy and SIUE in the preceding week.

Jihad set scoring career-highs twice and went for back-to-back double-doubles, as he has put up double-digit points and rebounds in 4 of the previous 5 games.

MUNCIE MAGIC: The Cardinals clinched an undefeated home nonconference slate for the fourth straight season with Sunday’s decision over the Cougars.

Ball State has won 19 consecutive nonconference contests at Worthen Arena, with its last loss being on Dec. 3, 2019 to Loyola (Chicago).

1,300 WINS: The Ball State men’s basketball team recorded win No. 1,300 in program history with the Dec. 2 decision against Bellarmine. The Cardinals are the tenth current MAC men’s basketball team to reach that milestone.

MAC Program Wins (as of Dec. 4, 2023)

Akron – 1,697

Ball State – 1,300

Buffalo – 1,279

Bowling Green – 1,452

Central Michigan – 1,356

Eastern Michigan – 1,292

Kent State – 1,332

Miami (OH) – 1,436

Northern Illinois – 1,315

Ohio – 1,614

Toledo – 1,551

MILESTONE WATCH: Jihad and Pearson Jr. are quickly approaching the 500-point mark, as they have 496 and 493 career points, respectively, entering Saturday’s game.

Pearson Jr. tallied 23 of those points playing at TCU, while Anderson (755) boasts the most career points in NCAA Division I on the current roster.

BIRDS AND TREES: The Sycamores are the Cardinals’s 2nd-most common opponent, with the 137 games in the series just two behind the 139 times Ball State has faced Western Michigan.

Indiana State has only faced Evansville (182) and Southern Illinois (144) more times in its program history.

INDY INCOMING: The Cardinals have played in Indianapolis 93 times in program history, including 52 games at Butler, 20 at UIndy, six at IUPUI, one at the Indiana Dental College (1921) and 14 neutral site games.

Ball State men’s basketball has played at Gainbridge Fieldhouse four times since it opened in 1999, beating Purdue 72-52 on Dec. 18 of that year in the first college game played there. The

Cardinals are 3-2 at Gainbridge, including a 69-55 win over the Sycamores on Nov. 17, 2019.

Up Next

The Cardinals play at Minnesota on Thursday at 8 p.m. ET (7 p.m. CT) before Christmas Break in their last nonconference contest of the season and last game of 2023.

PURDUE FT. WAYNE WOMEN’S BASKETBALL

MASTODONS AND BRONCOS MEET FOR FIRST TIME SINCE 2018

FORT WAYNE, Ind. – Purdue Fort Wayne women’s basketball will hit the road on Sunday (Dec. 17) for a non-league game at Western Michigan at 2 p.m.

Game Day Information

Who: Western Michigan Broncos

When: Sunday, December 17 | 2 PM

Where: Kalamazoo, Mich. | University Arena

Live Stats: Link

Watch: ESPN+

Game Notes: Purdue Fort Wayne | Western Michigan | Horizon League

Know Your Foe

Western Michigan is 4-4 to start the 2023-24 campaign, picking up wins over Youngstown State, UNC Asheville, Valparaiso and Davenport. The Broncos are coming off a 62-59 loss to Detroit Mercy. Kaitlyn Zarycki is leading the team with 16.3 points and 5.2 rebounds per game.

The Series

The Broncos lead the series 5-1 and have won the last five. The Mastodons won the first game in the series in 2001 81-77. The last matchup game in 2018, when WMU won 69-61. De’Jour Young had 14 points and seven rebounds for the ‘Dons.

In The Polls

Purdue Fort Wayne is receiving votes in the CollegeInsider.com Mid-Major Top 25 Poll. They are receiving 10 points in the poll for a de facto position of 35th. When they received seven points in the poll on December 6, it was the first time the ‘Dons received votes since the 2011-12 season.

Shayla The Starter

Shayla Sellers became the program’s leader when she started against St. Thomas. It was her 119th start, pushing her past Jordan Zuppe, who started 118 from 2007-11.

Miss Mastodon

Shayla Sellers will tie the program’s all-time leader with 121 games played when she steps on the floor at Western Michigan.

What a Start!

Purdue Fort Wayne’s 7-3 start is the best through 10 games in the Division I era of the program. With a win, 8-3 would also be the best start through 11 games in the DI era. In the all-time history, the Mastodons’ most wins with three losses came in 1995-96 when they started 18-3. They finished 23-5 in the best season in program history.

Lock Down The Arc

Purdue Fort Wayne held St. Thomas without a 3-pointer for the Tommies’ first 15 tries. They finished the game with a 2-for-17 (11.8 percent) effort, which was their worst of the season.

Turn, Turn, Turn It Over

Purdue Fort Wayne has forced three teams into 23 or more turnovers this season, including a season-high 31 against Great Lakes Christian. The 31 turnovers forced against the Crusaders is the most since the ‘Dons forced Manchester into 34.

Net Positive

In the first release of the NET rankings, Purdue Fort Wayne was No. 80, the highest in program history. Of Horizon League schools, only Green Bay (27) was higher. Purdue Fort Wayne was the only Horizon League school to have both their men’s and women’s teams in the top-100 in the initial NET rankings.

Magic Numbers 70 and 80

Under head coach Maria Marchesano, the Mastodons are 19-4 when they score 70 points or more and 10-1 when they hit 80.

#3Nation

Purdue Fort Wayne hit 14 or more 3-pointers twice this season (Western Kentucky and Oakland). This is the first time since 2014 that the Mastodons have had two games with 14 or more triples in a season and the first time ever that the ‘Dons have done it in back-to-back games.

We Love Threes…

Purdue Fort Wayne has been dangerous from 3-point land this season. The Mastodons are leading the Horizon League and top-30 in the nation with a 38.1 3-point percentage and 8.8 3-point makes per contest. Audra Emmerson is in the top-100 nationally with 22 3-pointers made.

… and It’s Been a While Since We Haven’t…

The Mastodons love making threes so much, they haven’t had a game without a 3-pointer made since January 1, 2021, a streak of 89 games. This includes every game in the Maria Marchesano era.

…But You Don’t Get Any

In addition to controlling their own 3-point line, the Mastodons are stingy on the defensive side as well. The ‘Dons are top-100 and second in the Horizon League, allowing opponents to shoot just 27.4 percent from beyond the arc.

Some More on the 3-Ball

The Mastodons have five players shooting at least 40 percent from the 3-point line. Lauryn Stover is 1-of-2 (50 percent), Ryin Ott is 14-for-30 (46.7 percent), Amellia Bromenschenkel is 12-of-26 (46.2 percent), Renna Schwieterman is 15-of-34 (44.1 percent), and Shayla Sellers is 13-of-32 (40.6 percent).

Post Up Syd!

Sydney Graber is shooting 70.0 percent from the floor this season. If she had enough attempts, this mark would be the fifth-best in the nation.

Chasing 1,000

Amellia Bromenschenkel is looking to become the next 1,000 point scorer in Mastodon history. She has 757 in her career. With her average of 13.0 points per game this season, she is on pace to reach 1,000 career points in 18 games.

Audramatic

Audra Emmerson is shooting 41.9 percent from deep since January 1, 2023, a mark of 60-of-143 over 26 games, including 22-of-60 (36.7 percent) this year.

Ott-omatic – Yep, We’re Using the Same Joke Twice

Over the last four games, Ryin Ott is averaging 16.3 points and 4.3 rebounds per game while shooting 52.6 percent from the floor (20-of-38) and 62.5 percent from 3-point range (10-of-16). She had a career-high 21 points at Oakland on November 30 with a 6-for-7 effort from 3-point range. She has been in double-figures in each of the last four games.

Last Time Out

St. Thomas came away with a 64-59 win over the Mastodons on December 9. The Mastodons held the Tommies to 2-of-17 shooting from the 3-point line. It was a one-possession game down to the final moments.

Coming Up

The Mastodons will host Aquinas next on December 21 for Purdue Fort Wayne’s annual Fitness Day, when they will welcome 600 students from Fort Wayne Community Schools for the 11 a.m. contest.

PURDUE FT. WAYNE MEN’S BASKETBALL

DONS LOOK FOR 20TH STRAIGHT NON-LEAGUE HOME WIN ON SATURDAY

FORT WAYNE, Ind. – The ‘Dons will look for their 11th win of the season on Saturday (Dec. 16) when Bethune-Cookman comes to the Gates Sports Center. A win would also be their 20th straight home non-league win.

Game Day Information

Who: Purdue Fort Wayne Mastodons (10-1) vs. Bethune-Cookman Wildcats (5-4)

When: Saturday, December 16 | 7:00 p.m. ET

Where: Fort Wayne, Ind. | Gates Sports Center

Live Stats: Link

Video: ESPN+

Radio: 1380 AM

Tickets:Link

Game Program: Link

Series Record: First meeting

Game Notes: Purdue Fort Wayne (PDF)

‘DONS & ENDS

// The ‘Dons are ranked No. 10 in the latest CollegeInsider.com Mid-Major 25 Poll. It is the program’s highest ranking since reaching No. 7 in November 2016.

// The ‘Dons have recorded double-digit steals in five games. They have had more steals than their opponent in 8-of-11 games.

// The ‘Dons made at least eight 3-pointers in 8-of-11 games and double digit treys in three games.

// Quinton Morton Robertson is 11th in the nation in 3-point field goal percentage at 48.3 percent (29-of-60). Maximus Nelson is shooting 50 percent (25-of-50) from three. Nelson doesn’t appear on the national rankings as he is shy of the 2.5 made 3-pointers per game required to make the list.

// The Mastodons average 21.0 points off turnover this season, which is 26.7 percent of all points. Sparking points off turnovers, the ‘Dons are ninth in the nation in turnovers forced per game at 18.09 and eleventh in the nation in fastbreak points with 18.09.

// The ‘Dons have had fewer turnovers than their opponent in all but one game this season (at Oakland, Dec. 2).

// The ‘Dons are No. 73 in the latest NET rankings, the ‘Dons reached a program-best No. 53 on Dec. 8, 2023.

// The Mastodons’ 10-1 start is their best start to a season over the first 11 games during the NCAA Division I era of the Mastodons.

// Purdue Fort Wayne’s scoring margin of 19.1 is first in the league. In second place, Youngstown State at 5.8.

// The Mastodons’ 5-0 start was their longest undefeated stretch to start a season as a NCAA Division I program. It was their longest stretch to start a season since the 1992-93 team opened 9-0. That team earned a bid in the NCAA Division II Tournament, the only NCAA bid (Division I or II) in program history.

// Thanks to the 5-0 start to the season, the ‘Dons now have now had a winning streak of at-least four games in every season since 2009-10 except for one (2017-18). That is 14-of-15 seasons.

// The ‘Dons have won 19 straight home non-league games. The streak started on Nov. 16, 2019 vs. Stetson.

// A win for the ‘Dons on Saturday would make them 11-1 on the season. It will be the first time the ‘Dons are 11-1 since 1988-89 when they opened 11-0 and lost the next two.

// Thanks to wins over Northern Arizona (Nov. 17) and South Dakota (Nov. 18), the ‘Dons won the Arizona Tip-Off. Quinton Morton-Robertson was named the MVP of the event and selected to the All-Tournament Team with Rasheed Bello.

// The ‘Dons are averaging 86.8 points per game, up from 73.9 last season.

// Purdue Fort Wayne’s 10.1 steals per game this season are up from the 7.3 last year. The Division I era program high for steals per game was the 8.8 mark in 2021-22.

// 25.3 percent of points this season have come off turnovers (242-of-955).

// Rasheed Bello is sneaking up on 1,000 career points. Combined with his scoring at NCAA Division II UW-Parkside, he has 959 career NCAA points.

// Four Mastodons are averaging better than 12.0 points per game: Rasheed Bello (15.3), Anthony Roberts (14.9), Jalen Jackson (14.5) and Quinton Morton-Robertson (12.7).

// The ‘Dons have partnered with Team IMPACT to add Bolton Richardson to the squad in 2023-24. Added to the team at a signing ceremony in July, Bolton will be at games, practices and other team activities.

NATIONAL RANKINGS:

// 2nd in the nation in turnover margin (+8.4)

// 9th in the nation in turnovers forced per game (18.1)

// 11th in the nation in fast break points per game (19)

// 14th in the nation in scoring margin (+19.1)

// 14th in the nation in steals per game (10.1)

// 14th in the nation in points per game (86.8)

// 16th in the nation in effective field goal percentage (57.8 percent)

// 18th in the nation in three point percentage (39.5 percent)

EVANSVILLE WOMEN’S BASKETBALL

UE WOMEN’S BASKETBALL TO HOST LINDENWOOD ON SATURDAY

EVANSVILLE, Ind. — The University of Evansville women’s basketball will host the Lindenwood Lions for its annual holiday game on Saturday afternoon.

The Purple Aces will celebrate the holiday season on Saturday afternoon by trying to get their first home win of the season. Saturday’s game is UE’s annual Ugly Sweater game as coaches and staff will be decked out in their finest holiday gear. Fans coming to Saturday’s game at Meeks Family Fieldhouse are encouraged to wear their ugly sweaters as well.

Lindenwood comes to Evansville on a two-game win streak with a close win over Eastern Michigan and a blowout of NAIA Harris-Stowe State. The Lions only have two wins on the season and have not had a road victory in four attempts. Lindenwood has particularly excelled in defense early, holding teams to just 60.3 points per game. Against Harris-Stowe, the Lions forced 26 turnovers leading to 38 points led by junior guard Mary McGrath.

While last week’s game against IUPUI was a tough loss for Evansville, graduate center Barbora Tomancova had the game of her career. Tomancova had her first double-double of the season by a landslide with 27 points and 19 rebounds. It was the best

double-double performance by a Missouri Valley Conference player since 2015. In recognition of her career game, Tomancova earned her first weekly honor from the MVC. The graduate center was named the Valley Player of the Week on Monday afternoon as decided by conference staff. Along with 27 points and 19 rebounds, Tomancova had a block and an assist on her stat line as well.

The Aces are almost top in the nation when it comes to free throws. UE trails behind only LSU in free throws made per game, averaging just under 21 extra points at the line. Evansville leads the Valley in two free throw categories including free

throws made per game and free throws attempted per game.

EVANSVILLE MEN’S BASKETBALL

MEN’S BASKETBALL RETURNS TO ACTION SATURDAY

EVANSVILLE, Ind. – Following an 11-day break due for finals, the University of Evansville men’s basketball squad will be in Louisville, Ky. to face Bellarmine.  The Purple Aces and Knights will square off on Saturday at 3 p.m. CT inside Freedom Hall.

Last Time Out

– On Dec. 5, UE traveled to Provo, Utah to take on #14 BYU

– In the opening minutes, the teams swapped the lead on six occasions before the Cougars took a double-digit lead

– BYU scored the final 12 points of the first half to lead by 22 at the break and would extend the lead in the second half

– Yacine Toumi led UE with 13 points and 7 rebounds in the contest

Two-Time Award Winner

– Chuck Bailey III earned his second MVC Freshman of the Week nod on Dec. 4 after a career-high 27 points at Missouri State

– The performance was the top scoring game by a freshman in the MVC this season and just the second league freshman to record 20+ points this year

– Bailey was 10-of-17 from the field and 5-for-5 from the free throw line

– He currently ranks in a tie for second on the team with 9.6 points per game

Leading the Way

– Yacine Toumi was Evansville’s top performer in the road game against top 15 squad BYU

– He connected on 5 of his 9 attempts to lead the Aces with 13 points and 7 boards

– For the season, Toumi is shooting a team-high 60.0%, which is 5th in the MVC

– Toumi is UE’s leading rebounder with 5.6 per game and is 4th with 9.2 points

Near the Top

– Tanner Cuff has been exceptional with his ability to take care of the ball, posting 31 assists this year while turning the ball over just seven times

– With an assist-to-turnover ratio of 4.43, he paces the MVC and is 8th in the NCAA

– Cuff has multiple assists in each of the last six games with his top total of eight coming at Missouri State

– With seven seconds remaining in overtime against UNI, Cuff knocked down a 3-pointer to give UE a 4-point lead and seal the win

– He finished the game with nine points and has posted 7.0 points in the last five games

Scouting the Opponent

– Bellarmine comes into Saturday’s game with a 4-7 record but has put together a 2-game win streak with victories over Boyce College and Berea

– The Knights wrapped up the month of November with close losses at West Virginia (58-62) and at Louisville (68-73)

– Leading scorer Ben Johnson (13.0 PPG) has missed the last four games due to injury

– Peter Suder and Bash Wieland lead BU with 12.1 and 11.5 points, respectively.

– Langdon Hatton holds the team lead with 6.5 rebounds per game while Wieland checks in with 5.2

VALPO FOOTBALL

FOUR FIRST TEAMERS AMONG SEVEN VALPO PLAYERS ON PHIL STEELE ALL-PFL TEAMS

The Valparaiso University football program featured seven representatives as Phil Steele released the publication’s All-Pioneer Football League teams this week.

A quartet of Beacons earned Phil Steele All-PFL First Team honors – redshirt senior wide receiver Solomon Davis (Brighton, Tenn. / Brighton), redshirt junior defensive lineman Sam Hafner (Green Bay, Wis. / De Pere), sixth-year senior punter Evan Matthes (Reston, Va. / South Lakes [West Virginia]) and redshirt senior return specialist Jashon Butler (Lynwood, Wash. / Meadowdale [Arizona]).

In addition, redshirt senior linebacker Evan Annis (Hilliard, Ohio / Hilliard Davidson) was named to the Phil Steele All-PFL Second Team, and senior defensive lineman Kurt Kessen (Shelby Township, Mich. / Utica) and redshirt senior defensive back Tyler Geiman (Zion, Ill. / Zion-Benton Township [Dubuque]) both achieved Phil Steele All-PFL Third Team nods.

Hafner, also named to the All-PFL First Team and Academic All-PFL First Team this season, led the PFL and finished second nationally in tackles by a defensive lineman with 63 (5.73 per game). The team’s Defensive Player of the Year, Hafner ranked fifth in the PFL in sacks with five and was one of 10 players in the league with multiple fumble recoveries with two. He notched a team-high 10.0 tackles for loss totaling 43 yards. Last season, he earned Academic All-PFL First Team, All-PFL Second Team and College Sports Communicators Academic All-District.

Matthes, named to the All-PFL First Team and Academic All-PFL First Team this season as well, led the PFL and ranked 13th nationally in punting average at 43.2. He went 2-for-2 passing this season, twice successfully converting first downs on fake punts. The standout punter pinned 20 of his 50 boots inside the 20 with a long of 70. He had 10 punts that covered 50+ yards. The team’s Special Teams Player of the Year, Matthes was named PFL Special Teams Player of the Week on Nov. 5 after playing a crucial role in the field-position battle in the Nov. 4 win over Dayton. He was a member of the 2023 Preseason FCS Punter of the Year Watch List, earned a spot on the 2022 All-PFL Second Team and was named the team’s Special Teams Player of the Year last season.

Davis led the PFL in total offensive average per play at 3.18, ranked fourth in receptions per game at 4.55, third in receiving touchdowns with six, sixth in receiving yards per game at 60.09, fifth in total receptions with 50 and sixth in total receiving yards with 661. Davis earned All-PFL First Team status for the second straight season and garnered the team’s Four-Year Man Award in 2022.

Butler averaged 30.75 yards per kick return, leading the league among those with more than one return. The All-PFL Second Team honoree totaled 615 yards on his 20 returns, ranking second in the league in total kickoff return yards and was narrowly behind the leader despite 13 fewer returns. Butler totaled a season-high 121 kick return yards on Sept. 30 vs. Southwest Minnesota State. His season long was 68 yards on Oct. 21 at Davidson.

Annis earned Academic All-PFL First Team status for the third time in his career and became the first Valpo player to be named PFL Scholar-Athlete of the Year. He returned to action this season after missing all of the 2022 campaign with a knee injury. A team captain, Annis was recently named to the 2023 All-PFL Second Team after previously achieving Spring 2021 All-PFL Second Team, Fall 2021 All-PFL Honorable Mention, Spring 2021 Team Koenig Award (Outstanding Sportsmanship & Character) and the 2022 Team Most Inspirational Player Award. At the team’s postseason awards banquet this season, the Outstanding Four-Year Man award was bestowed upon Annis, who led the team with 79 tackles including 5.5 tackles for loss and 3.5 sacks to go along with three pass breakups and four QB hurries.

Kessen, who received the team’s Scholar-Athlete Award for the second straight season and was named First Team Academic All-PFL for the third straight year, corralled 29 tackles including 2.5 tackles for loss and 0.5 sacks this season. He started all 11 games on Valpo’s defensive line and had a season-high six tackles on Sept. 23 vs. Marist.

Geiman, who earned All-PFL Honorable Mention, was among the national leaders in pass breakups with 17. He earned the team’s Outstanding Hitter Award and the program’s postseason honors banquet.

MARIAN FOOTBALL

MARIAN DEFENSIVE COORDINATOR JUSTIN ROBINSON NAMED AFCA ASSISTANT COACH OF THE YEAR

WACO, Texas – For the first time in Marian football program history, the Knights coaching staff has been honored by the American Football Coaches Association (AFCA) with the NAIA Assistant Coach of the Year, as defensive coordinator Justin Robinson was bestowed with the honor on Friday afternoon.

One assistant coach from the five divisions of college football has been selected for their dedication to their teams and communities. A total of 98 nominees from Football Bowl Subdivision, Football Championship Subdivision, Division II, Division III, and NAIA were nominated in 2023. The Assistant Coach of the Year award was first presented in 1997 and was created to honor assistant coaches who excel in community service, commitment to the student-athlete, on-field coaching success and AFCA professional organization involvement.

Justin Robinson’s honor as the AFCA NAIA Assistant Coach of the Year comes just three weeks after he was tabbed as the MSFA Mideast League Assistant Coach of the Year. Robinson, in his first season as the Marian University defensive coordinator, led a Marian defense that ranked in the top-15 in the NAIA in points per game, total yards per game, rushing yards per game, interceptions, fumble recoveries, and total turnovers forced. Robinson’s swarming defense was the second-rated defense in the MSFA in points per game, leading the Mideast League in yards per game.

Under Robinson’s watch, the Knights earned four MSFA Mideast League First Team honors, with Nate Frey earning both the MSFA Defensive Player of the Year and NAIA First Team All-American honors. Robinson also coached two players to the MSFA Mideast League Second Team and two players to the MSFA Mideast League Honorable Mention team. The Knights defense also tied three single game records in 2023 under Robinson, with the team recording a single-game record five interceptions against St. Francis (Ind.), while Dwight Lewis III tied the single game interception record against the Cougars with his three picks. The Marian defense also tied the single-game sack record against Madonna with nine sacks, matching a mark previously done five other times.

The Knights went 9-2 in the 2023 season, earning MSFA Mideast League Co-Champion honors with their 6-1 league record.

SMALL COLLEGE ATHLETICS

INDIANA WESLEYAN ATHLETICS: https://iwuwildcats.com/

EARLHAM ATHLETICS: https://goearlham.com/

WABASH ATHLETICS: https://sports.wabash.edu/

FRANKLIN ATHLETICS: https://franklingrizzlies.com/

ROSE-HULMAN ATHLETICS: https://athletics.rose-hulman.edu/

ANDERSON ATHLETICS: https://athletics.anderson.edu/landing/index

TRINE ATHLETICS: https://trinethunder.com/landing/index

BETHEL ATHLETICS: https://bupilots.com/

DEPAUW ATHLETICS: https://depauwtigers.com/

HANOVER ATHLETICS: https://athletics.hanover.edu/

MANCHESTER ATHLETICS: https://muspartans.com/

HUNTINGTON ATHLETICS: https://www.huathletics.com/

OAKLAND CITY ATHLETICS: https://gomightyoaks.com/index.aspx

ST. FRANCIS ATHLETICS: https://www.saintfranciscougars.com/landing/index

IU KOKOMO ATHLETICS: https://iukcougars.com/

IU EAST ATHLETICS: https://www.iueredwolves.com/

IU SOUTH BEND ATHLETICS: https://iusbtitans.com/

PURDUE NORTHWEST ATHLETICS: https://pnwathletics.com/

INDIANA TECH ATHLETICS: https://indianatechwarriors.com/index.aspx

GRACE COLLEGE ATHLETICS: https://gclancers.com/

ST. MARY OF THE WOODS ATHLETICS: https://smwcathletics.com/

GOSHEN COLLEGE ATHLETICS: https://goleafs.net/

HOLY CROSS ATHLETICS: https://www.hcsaints.com/index.php                                                                                                                                                                            

TAYLOR ATHLETICS: https://www.taylortrojans.com/

VINCENNES ATHLETICS: https://govutrailblazers.com/landing/index

NBA STANDINGS

2023-24 NBA CONFERENCE STANDINGS

WESTERN CONFERENCEW-LPCTGBPFPAHOMEAWAYCONFDIVL10STRK
1Timberwolves18-5.783113.0105.710-18-413-34-08-2W1
2Nuggets17-9.6542.5114.6110.510-17-812-72-17-3W3
3Thunder15-8.6523.0120.5113.58-47-49-72-26-4L1
4Mavericks15-9.6253.5119.4117.07-58-410-75-26-4L1
5Kings14-9.6094.0116.8117.18-36-612-94-46-4W1
6Rockets13-9.5914.5109.5105.111-12-812-85-27-3W5
7Clippers14-10.5834.5114.4109.510-34-713-84-28-2W6
8Lakers15-11.5774.5114.0113.510-25-912-84-26-4L1
9Pelicans15-11.5774.5114.8114.09-46-710-93-26-4W3
10Suns13-12.5206.0115.4114.26-87-410-83-44-6L2
11Warriors10-14.4178.5115.5115.55-65-89-123-64-6L3
12Jazz9-16.36010.0112.0119.87-52-118-133-55-5W2
13Trail Blazers6-17.26112.0106.8113.72-74-102-131-43-7L5
14Grizzlies6-18.25012.5106.0112.31-115-75-152-63-7L4
15Spurs4-20.16714.5110.6121.22-112-94-141-41-9W1

2023-24 NBA CONFERENCE STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCEW-LPCTGBPFPAHOMEAWAYCONFDIVL10STRK
1Celtics19-5.792117.8109.013-06-518-49-18-2W4
2Bucks17-7.7082.0123.3119.512-25-515-74-37-3W2
376ers17-7.7082.0122.4112.210-37-413-54-27-3W5
4Magic16-8.6673.0113.9109.711-25-611-53-17-3L1
5Knicks14-10.5835.0114.2110.57-37-711-62-36-4W1
6Pacers13-10.5655.5128.2126.07-56-511-96-25-5L2
7Heat14-11.5605.5112.8111.86-58-611-105-04-6L1
8Nets13-11.5426.0116.2114.38-55-611-81-37-3L1
9Cavaliers13-12.5206.5110.5110.96-67-69-72-25-5L3
10Hawks10-14.4179.0122.6122.53-77-77-123-23-7W1
11Raptors10-15.4009.5112.5114.87-73-86-140-73-7L1
12Bulls10-16.38510.0109.7113.57-73-97-103-35-5W1
13Hornets7-16.30411.5112.7120.44-93-77-123-53-7L3
14Wizards4-20.16715.0116.8126.82-82-123-181-72-8W1
15Pistons2-23.08017.5108.1119.41-121-112-151-60-10L22

NFL STANDINGS

2023 NFL DIVISION STANDINGS

AFC NORTHW-L-TPCTPFPAHOMEAWAYCONFDIVSTRK
1Ravens10-3.7693612185-25-16-33-2W3
2Browns8-5.6152892726-12-46-33-2W1
3Steelers7-6.5382102504-43-25-43-1L2
4Bengals7-6.5382802874-33-33-60-4W2
AFC WESTW-L-TPCTPFPAHOMEAWAYCONFDIVSTRK
1Chiefs8-5.6152922284-34-26-23-1L2
2Broncos7-6.5382873094-33-34-52-2W1
3Raiders6-8.4292652805-31-54-52-2W1
4Chargers5-9.3573033452-53-43-61-3L2
NFC NORTHW-L-TPCTPFPAHOMEAWAYCONFDIVSTRK
1Lions9-4.6923403144-25-26-32-2L1
2Vikings7-6.5382662422-45-26-32-1W1
3Packers6-7.4622802674-22-54-42-2L1
4Bears5-8.3852703093-32-54-52-3W2
NFC WESTW-L-TPCTPFPAHOMEAWAYCONFDIVSTRK
149ersX10-3.7693802055-15-28-14-0W5
2Rams6-7.4622992903-33-44-44-1L1
3Seahawks6-7.4622803184-22-55-51-4L4
4Cardinals3-10.2312303312-41-62-60-4W1

NHL STANDINGS

2023-24 NHL CONFERENCE STANDINGS

WESTERN CONFERENCEW-L-OTLPTSGPROWSOWSOLGFGAGDL10STRK
1Golden Knights20-6-54531164110778296-1-3L1
2Canucks20-9-14130200011574417-3-0W4
3Avalanche18-9-23829171110588175-3-2W2
4Stars17-8-33728152110088125-4-1W2
5Kings16-6-4362616029465296-3-1L3
6Jets17-9-2362817019174176-4-0W1
7Predators17-13-034301610969337-3-0W3
8Coyotes14-13-230291220918656-4-0W1
9Blues14-14-1292913118496-124-6-0W1
10Oilers13-13-127271210969248-2-0L1
11Flames11-14-52730110489107-183-5-2L4
12Kraken10-14-7273191385102-172-6-2W2
13Wild11-12-426279228490-66-4-0W2
14Sharks9-18-3213090364118-546-3-1L1
15Ducks10-19-0202991075101-261-9-0L5
16Blackhawks9-19-1192990167105-383-6-1L3

FOOTBALL HISTORY

December 16, 1923 – The Chicago Bears and the Milwaukee Badgers tied in the final game of the season 7-7. The significance of this was that it became official that the Canton Bulldogs would repeat as champions of the NFL as Canton finished the season 11-0-1 per Scorum.com. The Bulldogs technically locked up the title in their final game on December 9, but it became official with the season’s closing game of the Badgers and the Bears.

December 16, 1928 – The Providence Steam Roller franchise won the National Football League Championship Title as they posted a record of 8-1-2. That era of NFL football had the team with the best record at the end of the season being declared the champs. The Steam Roller according to an NFL.com article had plenty of star players from that era of football on their roster. Men like Jimmy Conzelman, The brothers Bill Cronin and Jack Cronin, Heavyweight Champ Gus Sonnenberg at running back, and one of my personal favorites tailback George Wildcat Wilson. Providence had an awesome defense too as they allowed only 42 points to be scored on them all season long including 5 complete shutouts.

December 16, 1945 – Cleveland Municipal Stadium – With temperatures at near zero and the field covered with snow, the Cleveland Rams played their last game before moving out to Los Angeles. It happened to be the 1945 NFL Championship game against the Washington Redskins. In preparation for the weather before the game, Cleveland brass had nearly 9000 bales of straw covering the field to protect it from the weather per an LA Times archived article. With an army of volunteers the Cleveland faithful removed the straw covered in ice and snow from the frozen turf. Washington had an interesting predicament before the game started as the NFL’s leading passer on the season, Sammy Baugh had a nagging rib injury he suffered in a prior game but as a back up at QB they had Frank Filchock who was the passing leader the year earlier. Baugh fumbled the first offensive play for the Redskins and threw an errant pass from his own endzone in desperation which was ruled a safety for committing the foul from behind his own goal line. The Rams gave their fans a great memory as they edged out the Washington Redskins, 15-14. What a way for a franchise to leave a city! It almost makes one think, is it better to leave Cleveland like they did or the way Art Modell moved the Browns away to Baltimore when they won a Super Bowl within five seasons removed from Cleveland.

December 16, 1946 – Bob Fenimore from University of Oklahoma A&M was the first pick in the 1947 NFL Draft by the Chicago Bears.

December 16, 1962 – New York Giants Quarterback Y. A. Tittle set the NFL’s passing touchdowns in a season record when he threw 6 scoring strikes in one game against the Dallas Cowboys to put his season total at 33.  The Giants signal caller had a total of 346 yards passing on the day with 2 interceptions as New York outscored Dallas 41-31 per Pro-Football-Reference.com.

December 16, 1972 – The Miami Dolphins closed out the 1972 regular season with a 16-0 blanking of the Baltimore Colts. The significance of course is that they became the first undefeated NFL team with a  perfect 14-0 record per ESPN.com. The Dolphins went on to defeat the Washington Redskins in Super Bowl VII on January 14, 1973 to go undefeated in the postseason to so far be the only team since the AFL/NFL merger to do so. The 2007 New England Patriots got close with a 16-0 regular season but lost the Super Bowl to the Giants.

December 16, 1973 – O.J. Simpson became the first NFL running back to rush for 2,000 yards in a season and he did it in a 14 game regular season for the Buffalo Bills.

December 16, 1979 – Texas Stadium, Irving, Texas – Legendary quarterback of the Dallas Cowboys, Roger Staubach threw 3 touchdown passes for a total of 336 yards in his last NFL regular season game with the Cowboys. DFW.CBSlocal.com tells us in their article that the Cowboys trailed the Redskins on the scoreboard by 17 points during the first half. Dallas needed every bit of Roger the Dodgers’ efforts for the comeback too as the Cowboys edged out a 35-34 win over Washington Redskins. 

December 16, 2013 – The 79th Heisman Trophy Award went to Jameis Winston, Florida State’s talented quarterback. Heisman.com tells us that Jameis was the first freshman to have his team win the national Championship and win a Heisman in the same season. On the year Winston threw for 3,820 yards and 38 touchdowns. 

December 16, 2019 – Drew Brees went 29 of 30 in his passes for 307 yards & 4 TDs for a record 96.7% pass completion against the Indianapolis Colts. In doing so Brees also broke former Colt Peyton Manning’s NFL record of 539 career touchdown passes as New Orleans Saints buried Indianapolis 34-7.

December 16, 2021 – Just 13 games into the NFL season, the Jacksonville Jaguars fired first year Head Coach Urban Meyer after a 2-11 start to the season. Meyer had previous experience at the college level winning National Championships at both Florida and Ohio State. Offensive Coordinator Darrell Bevell will act as the interim coach for the balance of the 2021 season. Jags owner Shad Khan had this statement on NFL.com;

“After deliberation over many weeks and a thorough analysis of the entirety of Urban’s tenure with our team, I am bitterly disappointed to arrive at the conclusion that an immediate change is imperative for everyone.”

Meyer had some allegations earlier this season that disappointed the Jaguar brass. After an early season loss on Thursday Night Football, the Coach skipped flying back with the team and was later photographed at a Cincinnati night club getting a close up and personal dance from a young lady that was not his wife. This situation plus the tryout of his former Florida player Tim Tebow, NFL fines for violation of organized team activities and some questionable hirings after joining the organization all contributed to the coach’s dismal.

Birthdays of Hall of Fame Players for December 16

December 16, 1913 – Greece – Gust Zarnas the guard from Ohio State University is born. Zarnas was no ordinary lineman, according to the footballfoundation.org the Buckeyes would run trick plays using Zarnas as an offensive weapon. The story goes that in the 1937 game opposing Indiana University, Gust came out of his guard position, took a hand-off from one of the backs and threw a forward pass for a 57-yard completion to a teammate. Gust received All-America honors in 1937 not just for his tricks but also for his solid blocking and all around solid play. The National Football Foundation selected Gust Zarnas to enter into their College Football Hall of Fame in 1975.

December 16, 1914 – Chicago, Illinois – Northwestern University’s fine guard Steve Reid came into this life. Reid was a captain and a three year letterman for the Wildcats and received All-America criteria for his great line work per the NFF website. His best skill set was pulling and blocking ahead of ball carriers. Steve Reid found his way into the legendary museum of the College Football Hall of Fame in 1985.

December 16, 1962 – Lubbock, Texas   – The safety from the University of Texas Jerry Gray celebrates his birthday. Jerry was a two time All-America selection who had 297 career tackles and 16 interceptions while with the Longhorns. The NFF voters chose Jerry Gray to be inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 2013.

December 16, 1963 – Liverpool, New York  – Tim Green the defensive tackle from Syracuse University came into this world. Green was a two-time Academic All-American as he registered 24 collegiate sacks in his career. Tim Green was selected by the NFF to enter into the College Football Hall of Fame in 2002. After school Tim was a first round Draft pick of the Atlanta Falcons taken 17th overall in 1986.

NUMBERS IN SPORTS

55 – 7 – 8 – 14 – 13 – 32 – 12 – 5 – 9 – 18

December 16, 1922 – The Mutual Association of Eastern Colored Baseball Clubs formally organizes

December 16, 1946 – 1947 NFL Draft: Bob Fenimore, Number 55 from University of Oklahoma A&M first pick by Chicago Bears

December 16, 1958 – Ballon d’Or: Real Madrid’s French midfielder Number 7, Raymond Kopa won the award for best football player in Europe ahead of German winger Number 8, Helmut Rahn and French forward Number 8, Just Fontaine

December 16, 1962 – New York Giants QB Number 14, Y A Tittle set an NFL season touchdown pass record at 33 with 6 touchdowns vs Dallas (41-31)

December 16, 1967 – Number 13, Wilt Chamberlain of Philadelphia 76ers scored 68 points vs Chicago

December 16, 1973 – Buffalo Bills running back, Number 32, O J Simpson became the 1st NFL running back to rush for 2,000 yards in a season

December 16, 1979 – Dallas QB Number 12, Roger Staubach threw for 3 TDs and 336 yards in his last NFL regular season game with the Cowboys, a 35-34 win over Washington Redskins at Texas Stadium

December 16, 2013 – 79th Heisman Trophy Award was won by Florida State Quarterback Number 5, Jameis Winston

December 16, 2019 – New Orleans Saint Number 9, Drew Brees broke Number 18, Peyton Manning’s NFL record (539) for career touchdown passes as New Orleans Saints rout Indianapolis Colts, 34-7; Brees 29 of 30 for 307 yards & 4 TDs for record 96.7% pass completion

December 16, 2020 – US Major League Baseball announces it is elevating the Negro Leagues to Major League status

TV SATURDAY

NFL REGULAR SEASONTIME ETTV
Minnesota at Cincinnati1:00pmNFLN
Pittsburgh at Indianapolis4:30pmNFLN
Denver at Detroit8:15pmNFLN
NBA REGULAR SEASONTIME ETTV
Detroit at Milwaukee6:00pmBally Sports
Philadelphia at Charlotte7:00pmNBCS-PHI
Bally Sports
Atlanta at Cleveland7:30pmNBATV
Bally Sports
Chicago at Miami8:00pmNBCS-CHI
Bally Sports
Indiana at Minnesota8:00pmBally Sports
Brooklyn at Golden State8:30pmYES
NBCS-BAY
Oklahoma City at Denver9:00pmALT
Bally Sports
Dallas at Portland9:00pmRoot Sports
Bally Sports
Utah at Sacramento10:00pmNBATV
KJZZ
NBCS-BAY
New York at LA Clippers10:30pmMSG
Bally Sports
NHL REGULAR SEASONTIME ETTV
Vancouver at Minnesota4:00pmBally Sports
Sportsnet
NY Rangers at Boston7:00pmMSG
NESN
Pittsburgh at Toronto7:00pmATTSN-PIT
Sportsnet
NY Islanders at Montreal7:00pmMSGSN
Sportsnet
Detroit at Philadelphia7:00pmBally Sports
NBCS-PHI
New Jersey at Columbus7:00pmBally Sports
MSGSN
Colorado at Winnipeg7:00pmALT
Sportsnet
Dallas at St. Louis8:00pmBally Sports
Washington at Nashville8:00pmBally Sports
MNMT
Buffalo at Arizona9:00pmMSG-BUF
Scripps
Tampa Bay at Calgary10:00pmBally Sports
Sportsnet
Florida at Edmonton10:00pmBally Sports
Sportsnet
Los Angeles at Seattle10:00pmBally Sports
Root Sports
COLLEGE FOOTBALLTIME ETTV
Myrtle Beach Bowl: Georgia Southern vs. Ohio11:00amESPN
Cricket Celebration Bowl: Howard vs. Florida A&M12:00pmABC
R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl: Jacksonville State vs. Louisiana2:15pmESPN
Cure Bowl: Miami (Ohio) vs. Appalachian State3:30pmABC
New Mexico Bowl: New Mexico State vs. Fresno State5:45pmESPN
LA Bowl: UCLA vs. Boise State7:30pmABC
Independence Bowl: California vs. Texas Tech9:15pmESPN
MEN’S COLLEGE BASKETBALLTIME ETTV
LSU vs. Texas12:00pmESPN2
La Salle at Miami (FL)12:00pmCW
Georgia Tech vs. Penn State12:00pmBTN
Lindenwood at IUPUI12:00pmESPN+
Kansas at Indiana12:30pmCBS
NJIT at Niagara1:00pmESPN+
St. Andrews at Liberty1:00pmESPN+
LIU at Rutgers1:00pmBTN+
Sacred Heart at Providence1:30pmFS1
Indiana State vs. Ball State1:45pmPeacock
Baylor vs. Michigan State2:00pmFOX
South Carolina State at Pitt2:00pmACCN
Santa Clara vs. Washington State2:00pmPA12N
Temple at VCU2:00pmMASN
Rider at Monmouth2:00pmESPN+
Dartmouth at Le Moyne2:00pmNEC Front Row
Southern at Tulane2:00pmESPN+
FGCU at Mercer2:00pmESPN+
Kennesaw State at Presbyterian2:00pmESPN+
Trinity Baptist at North Florida2:00pmESPN+
Kansas City at Bowling Green2:00pmESPN+
Western Michigan at UIC2:00pmESPN+
James Madison at Hampton2:00pmFloSports
UAlbany at Drexel2:00pmFloSports
Towson vs. Bryant2:00pmFloSports
Norfolk State at Hofstra2:00pmFloSports
Georgetown at Notre Dame2:15pmCW
Eastern Michigan at Michigan2:15pmBTN
Houston vs. Texas A&M2:30pmESPN2
Ohio State vs. UCLA3:00pmCBS
Austin Peay at WKU3:00pmESPN+
Missouri State at Tulsa3:00pmESPN+
Belmont at Samford3:00pmESPN+
UNCW at Georgia Southern3:00pmESPN+
Boyce at Tennessee State3:00pmESPN+
Rice at Northwestern State3:00pmESPN+
Lynchburg at Davidson3:00pmESPN+
Fordham vs. St. John’s3:30pmFS1
Radford at Bucknell3:30pmESPN+
Florida Atlantic vs. St. Bonaventure4:00pmESPNU
Vermont at Virginia Tech4:00pmACCN
Utah Valley at Utah4:00pmPAC12N
Evansville at Bellarmine4:00pmESPN+
North Alabama at Tennessee Tech4:00pmESPN+
Southeastern Louisiana at Murray State4:00pmESPN+
Chicago State at Valparaiso4:00pmESPN+
Loyola Chicago at South Florida4:00pmESPN+
Southern Utah at Northern Arizona4:00pmESPN+
Clemson at Memphis4:00pmESPN+
Florida A&M vs. Iowa4:30pmBTN
Arizona vs. Purdue4:30pmPeacock
Delaware vs. Rhode Island4:30pmFloSports
Loyola Marymount vs. UC Santa Barbara4:30pmESPN+
Western Carolina at USC Upstate4:30pmESPN+
Air Force vs. UTA5:00pmESPN+
UC Davis at Pacific5:00pmESPN+
Central Connecticut at UMass Lowell5:00pmESPN+
North Carolina vs. Kentucky5:30pmCBS
Northwestern at DePaul5:30pmFS1
High Point at Georgia5:30pmSECN
Northeastern at Virginia6:00pmACCN
Lipscomb vs. Arkansas6:00pmESPN+
Charleston Southern at South Carolina6:00pmESPN+
Loyola Maryland at George Mason6:00pmESPN+
Trinity (FL) at FIU6:00pmESPN+
West Virginia vs. UMass6:30pmESPNU
Charlotte at Richmond7:00pmMASN/2
Bethune-Cookman at Purdue Fort Wayne7:00pmESPN+
Southern Illinois at Wichita State7:00pmESPN+
UNLV vs. Saint Mary’s7:00pmESPN+
UNCG at Marshall7:00pmESPN+
Dayton vs. Cincinnati7:00pmESPN+
Saint Joseph’s vs. Iona7:00pmFloSports
Winthrop at Xavier7:30pmFS1
California vs. Ole Miss7:30pmSECN
Vanderbilt vs. Texas Tech7:30pmESPN+
Alabama at Creighton8:00pmFOX
SMU at Florida State8:00pmACCN
Louisiana Tech at Saint Louis8:00pmESPN+
California Baptist at UC Riverside8:00pmESPN+
Champion Christian at Houston Christian8:00pmESPN+
Chattanooga at Alabama A&M8:00pm
Georgia State at BYU9:00pmESPN+
North Dakota at Utah Tech9:00pmESPN+
SAGU American Indian at Montana State9:00pmESPN+
Green Bay at Oklahoma9:00pmESPN+
Weber State at Wyoming9:00pmMWN
Texas Southern vs. North Carolina A&T9:30pmESPN+
Portland vs. Grand Canyon9:30pmESPN+
NC State vs. Tennessee10:00pmESPN2
Arizona State vs. TCU10:00pmESPNU
South Dakota at UC Irvine10:00pmESPN+
Jackson State vs. Howard11:59pmESPNU
SOCCER MATCHESTIME ETTV
La Liga: Celta de Vigo vs Granada8:00amESPN+
Serie A: Lecce vs Frosinone9:00amParamount+
Bundesliga: Darmstadt 98 vs Wolfsburg9:30amESPN+
Bundesliga: Augsburg vs Borussia Dortmund9:30amESPN+
Bundesliga: Bochum vs Union Berlin9:30amESPN+
Bundesliga: Mainz 05 vs Heidenheim9:30amESPN+
EPL: Manchester City vs Crystal Palace10:00amUSA
EPL: AFC Bournemouth vs Luton Town10:00amPeacock
EPL: Chelsea vs Sheffield United10:00amPeacock
EPL: Newcastle United vs Fulham10:00amPeacock
La Liga: Athletic Club vs Atlético Madrid10:15amESPN+
Ligue 1: Le Havre vs Nice11:00ambeIN Sports
Serie A: Napoli vs Cagliari12:00pmParamount+
EPL: Burnley vs Everton12:30pmNBC
Bundesliga: RB Leipzig vs Hoffenheim12:30pmESPN+
La Liga: Sevilla vs Getafe12:30pmESPN+
Serie A: Torino vs Empoli2:45pmParamount+
EPL: Newcastle United vs Manchester United3:00pmUSA
La Liga: Valencia vs Barcelona3:00pmESPN+
Ligue 1: Lens vs Reims3:00pmbeIN Sports
GOLFTIME ETTV
PGA Tour: PNC Championship2:30pmNBC
WOMEN’S COLLEGE BASKETBALLTIME ETTV
Miami (Ohio) vs Michigan11:00amESPN+
Charleston vs Robert Morris12:00pmESPN+
Louisville vs UConn12:00pmFOX
UNLV vs Seton Hall1:00pmFloSports
Wofford vs Virginia1:00pmACCNX
Niagara vs Iona1:00pmESPN+
Youngstown State vs St. Bonaventure1:00pmESPN+
Presbyterian vs South Carolina1:00pmSECN+
Georgia Tech vs Georgia1:30pmSECN+
Samford vs Arkansas1:30pmSECN+
Hampton vs George Washington2:00pmESPN+
Hampton vs George Washington2:00pmMNMT
Canisius vs Siena2:00pmESPN+
Liberty vs Richmond2:00pmESPN+
Howard vs Florida Atlantic2:00pmESPN+
Marist vs Saint Peter’s2:00pmESPN+
South Dakota vs UT Martin2:00pmESPN+
Duquesne vs Vermont2:00pmESPN+
Le Moyne vs Buffalo2:00pmESPN+
Stonehill vs Albany2:00pmESPN+
Wichita State vs Missouri State2:00pmESPN+
Mount St. Mary’s vs Fairfield2:00pmESPN+
Tarleton vs McNeese2:00pmESPN+
Georgia State vs Clemson2:00pmACCNX
Rider vs Manhattan2:00pmESPN+
St. Edwards vs Incarnate Word3:00pmESPN+
Alcorn State vs Louisiana Tech3:00pmESPN+
UT Arlington vs Sam Houston3:00pmESPN+
Norfolk State vs Auburn3:00pmSECN+
Bryan vs Austin Peay3:00pmESPN+
UT-Arlington vs Sam Houston3:00pmESPN+
Prairie View A&M vs Rice3:00pmESPN+
Lindenwood vs Evansville3:00pmESPN+
Coastal Carolina vs Jacksonville State3:30pmESPN+
Idaho State vs BYU4:00pmESPN+
Saint Mary’s vs Washington4:00pmPAC12N
Pepperdine vs Cal State Bakersfield4:00pmESPN+
Utah Valley vs NM State4:00pmESPN+
Utah Valley vs New Mexico State4:00pmESPN+
Wisconsin-Stevens Point vs St. Thomas4:00pmESPN+
Bethesda vs Utah Tech4:00pmESPN+
Cal State Fullerton vs California Baptist4:00pmESPN+
San Francisco vs Portland State5:00pmESPN+
North Florida vs Kansas State5:00pmESPN+
Farmingdale State vs Hofstra5:00pmFloSports
Sacred Heart vs Providence5:00pmFloSports
Miami vs Baylor5:00pmESPN+
North Florida vs Kansas State5:00pmESPN+
Central Arkansas vs Kansas5:00pmESPN+
Villanova vs St. John’s6:00pm
NC State vs South Florida7:00pmESPN+
Utah vs Southern Utah7:00pmESPN+
Cleveland State vs Iowa7:00pmBTN
NC State vs USF7:00pmESPN+
Pacific vs Long Beach State8:00pmESPN+
Montana vs Cal Poly9:00pmESPN+
Colorado State vs UC Irvine10:00pmESPN+

TV SUNDAY

NFL REGULAR SEASONTIME ETTV
Atlanta at Carolina1:00pmFOX
Chicago at Cleveland1:00pmFOX
Kansas City at New England1:00pmFOX
Tampa Bay at Green Bay1:00pmCBS
NY Jets at Miami1:00pmCBS
NY Giants at New Orleans1:00pmFOX
Houston at Tennessee1:00pmCBS
San Francisco at Arizona4:05pmCBS
Washington at LA Rams4:05pmCBS
Dallas at Buffalo4:25pmFOX
Baltimore at Jacksonville8:20pmNBC
NBA REGULAR SEASONTIME ETTV
Orlando at Boston3:00pmNBCS-BOS
Bally Sports
New Orleans at San Antonio3:30pmBally Sports
Houston at Milwaukee7:00pmSCHN
Bally Sports
Washington at Phoenix8:00pmMNMT
AFSN
Golden State at Portland9:00pmNBCS-BAY
Root Sports
NHL REGULAR SEASONTIME ETTV
Vancouver at Chicago3:00pmNBCS-CHI
Sportsnet
Washington at Carolina6:00pmBally Sports
MNMT
Anaheim at New Jersey7:00pmBally Sports
MSGSN
San Jose at Colorado8:00pmNBCS-CA
ALT
Ottawa at Vegas8:00pmScripps
Sportsnet
MEN’S COLLEGE BASKETBALLTIME ETTV
USC at Auburn1:00pmESPN
Colgate at Illinois1:00pmBTN
Oregon vs. Syracuse1:00pmCBSSN
Stony Brook at Army West Point1:00pmESPN+
Washington (MD) at Navy1:00pmESPN+
Pepperdine at Louisville2:00pmACCN
Cal State Fullerton at Boise State2:00pmESPN+
Hartford at Stonehill2:00pmNEC Front Row
Kentucky Christian at Wofford2:00pmESPN+
Saint Vincent at Robert Morris2:00pmESPN+
Wagner at Fairfield2:00pmESPN+
Alcorn State at UNI2:00pmESPN+
VMI at Longwood2:00pmESPN+
Stetson at Omaha2:00pmSummit
UTSA at Oregon State3:00pmPAC12N
Nebraska at Kansas State3:00pmESPN+
Blackburn at Eastern Illinois3:00pmESPN+
Montevallo at UAB3:00pmESPN+
UTEP at Abilene Christian4:00pmESPN+
North Dakota State at Illinois State4:00pmESPN+
Louisiana at McNeese4:00pmESPN+
Northern Kentucky at Eastern Kentucky4:00pmESPN+
Lindsey Wilson at Southeast Missouri4:00pmESPN+
Seton Hall vs. Missouri5:00pmESPN2
Idaho at Stanford5:00pmPAC12N
Oral Roberts at Oklahoma State5:00pmESPN+
Texas Southern vs. Howard6:00pmESPNU
Adams State at Colorado State6:00pmMWN
Florida A&M at Iowa State6:00pmESPN+
Washington at Seattle U8:00pmESPN+
Jackson State vs. North Carolina A&T8:30pmESPNU
CSU Pueblo at Colorado State9:00pmMWN
Nevada at Hawai’i10:00pmESPN+
Montana at San Jose State10:00pmMWN
COLLEGE HOCKEYTIME ETTV
Vermont vs Long Island University2:00pmESPN+
GOLFTIME ETTV
PGA Tour: PNC Championship1:30pmNBC
SKIINGTIME ETTV
FIS: Freeski World Cup4:30pmNBC
SOCCER MATCHESTIME ETTV
Serie A: Milan vs Monza6:30amParamount+
Ligue 1: Nantes vs Brest7:00ambeIN Sports
La Liga: Almería vs Mallorca8:00amESPN+
EPL: Arsenal vs Brighton & Hove Albion9:00amPeacock
EPL: Brentford vs Aston Villa9:00amPeacock
EPL: West Ham United vs Wolverhampton Wanderers9:00amPeacock
Serie A: Fiorentina vs Hellas Verona9:00amParamount+
Ligue 1: Toulouse vs Rennes9:00ambeIN Sports
Ligue 1: Lorient vs Strasbourg9:00ambeIN Sports
Ligue 1: Metz vs Montpellier9:00ambeIN Sports
Bundesliga: Freiburg vs Köln9:30amESPN+
La Liga: Real Sociedad vs Real Betis10:15amESPN+
Ligue 1: Olympique Marseille vs Clermont11:05ambeIN Sports
EPL: Liverpool vs Manchester United11:30amNBC
Bundesliga: Bayer Leverkusen vs Eintracht Frankfurt11:30amESPN+
Serie A: Bologna vs Roma12:00pmParamount+
La Liga: Las Palmas vs Cádiz12:30pmESPN+
Bundesliga: Bayern München vs Stuttgart1:30pmESPN+
Serie A: Lazio vs Internazionale2:45pmParamount+
Ligue 1: Lille vs PSG2:45pmbeIN Sports
La Liga: Real Madrid vs Villarreal3:00pmESPN+
WOMEN’S COLLEGE BASKETBALLTIME ETTV
Ohio Dominican vs Dayton12:00pmESPN+
Purdue vs Notre Dame12:00pmACCN
Morgan State vs Stetson12:05pmESPN+
Troy vs Iowa State1:00pmESPN+
Marshall vs Elon1:00pmFloSports
Little Rock vs Arkansas State1:00pmESPN+
St. Francis (Pa.) vs Penn State1:00pmB1G+
Old Dominion vs VCU1:00pmESPN+
Temple vs La Salle1:00pmESPN+
UL Monroe vs Alabama1:00pmSECN+
Furman vs Kentucky1:00pmSECN+
James Madison vs Maine1:00pmESPN+
Longwood vs William & Mary1:00pmFloSports
Central Michigan vs Michigan State2:00pmB1G+
Merrimack vs Bucknell2:00pmESPN+
Florida State vs Drexel2:00pmFloSports
Purdue Fort Wayne vs Western Michigan2:00pmESPN+
Northeastern vs Holy Cross2:00pmESPN+
Lipscomb vs Vanderbilt2:00pmSECN+
Campbell vs East Tennessee State2:00pmESPN+
Wake Forest vs Georgetown2:00pmFloSports
Coppin State vs Binghamton2:00pmESPN+
Jacksonville vs Mercer2:00pmESPN+
Southern Illinois vs Oklahoma State2:00pmESPN+
Southern Illinois vs Oklahoma State2:00pmESPN+
Belmont vs Kennesaw State2:00pmESPN+
Queens (NC) vs Radford2:00pmESPN+
Campbell vs ETSU2:00pm
Women’s College Basketball2:00pmESPN+
Wyoming vs Montana State2:00pmESPN+
Creighton vs Drake3:00pmESPN+
Creighton vs Drake3:00pm
Mississippi State vs Memphis3:00pmESPN+
Northwestern State vs LSU3:00pmSECN+
Lamar vs TCU3:00pmESPN+
Southern vs Nebraska3:00pmB1G+
Florida vs Gardner-Webb3:00pmESPN+
Alabama State vs DePaul3:00pmFloSports
Stephen F. Austin vs MTSU3:00pmESPN+
Stephen F. Austin vs Middle Tennessee3:00pmESPN+
Appalachian State vs Marquette3:00pmFloSports
Cincinnati vs Southern Indiana3:00pmESPN+
Bradley vs Northwestern3:00pmB1G+
Missouri vs Illinois4:00pmBTN
North Texas vs Louisiana5:00pmESPN+
Houston vs Washington State5:00pmPAC12N
South Dakota State vs Gonzaga5:00pmESPN+
Virginia Tech vs Rutgers5:30pmB1G+
Grand Canyon vs Idaho5:30pmESPN+
Indiana State vs Ohio6:00pmESPN+
Eastern Kentucky vs Chattanooga6:00pmESPN+
Loyola Marymount vs UC Santa Barbara7:00pmESPN+
Arizona vs Arizona State7:00pmPAC12N
Toledo vs Oakland7:00pmESPN+