INDIANA BOYS BASKETBALL
|BEN DAVIS||85||LAWRENCE CENTRAL||43|
|CENTER GROVE||44||PERRY MERIDIAN||37|
|COLUMBUS NORTH||39||TERRE HAUTE SOUTH||28|
|DECATUR CENTRAL||72||INDIANAPOLIS RITTER||69|
|EVANSVILLE HARRISON||76||OWENSBORO (KY.)||61|
|HARRISON (WEST LAFAYETTE)||59||TRI-WEST||49|
|INDIANAPOLIS TINDLEY||93||INDIANA MATH & SCIENCE||41|
|NEW ALBANY||70||TELL CITY||20|
|NORTH CENTRAL (FARMERSBURG)||73||DUGGER UNION||39|
|NORTH KNOX||63||VINCENNES RIVET||11|
|WESTFIELD||95||VICTORY COLLEGE PREP||43|
|WHITE RIVER VALLEY||66||WASHINGTON CATHOLIC||23|
|CENTRAL CHRISTIAN TOURNAMENT|
|IRVINGTON PREP ACADEMY||71||INDIANAPOLIS INTERNATIONAL||63||7TH|
|INDIANAPOLIS HOMESCHOOL||52||CENTRAL CHRISTIAN||45||1ST|
|FRANKLIN COUNTY TOURNAMENT|
|FRANKLIN COUNTY||66||SETON CATHOLIC||50||R1|
|HAMILTON HEIGHTS||53||TRITON CENTRAL||42||R1|
|SETON CATHOLIC||51||TRITON CENTRAL||50||3RD|
|FRANKLIN COUNTY||68||HAMILTON HEIGHTS||52||1ST|
|JEFFERSON COUNTY TOURNAMENT|
|SOUTHWESTERN (HANOVER)||69||SILVER CREEK||57||R1|
|WARREN CENTRAL (KY.)||84||MADISON||31||R1|
|INDIANAPOLIS TECH||81||SWITZERLAND COUNTY||31||R1|
|JAY COUNTY||53||SOUTHWESTERN (HANOVER)||45||SF|
|INDIANAPOLIS TECH||77||WARREN CENTRAL (KY.)||73||SF|
|LOUISVILLE WESTERN TOURNAMENT|
|JEFFERSONVILLE||74||LOUISVILLE WAGGENER (KY.)||67||7TH|
INDIANA GIRLS BASKETBALL
|BEN DAVIS||63||INDIANAPOLIS RONCALLI||41|
|BLUE RIVER||60||SOUTH ADAMS||37|
|BORDEN||53||SOUTH CENTRAL (ELIZABETH)||32|
|GARRETT||57||FORT WAYNE DWENGER||28|
|GUERIN CATHOLIC||54||PARK TUDOR||29|
|HUNTINGTON NORTH||42||INDIANAPOLIS CATHEDRAL||18|
|LAFAYETTE CENTRAL CATHOLIC||68||TRI-WEST||62|
|MISHAWAKA MARIAN||65||FORT WAYNE NORTHROP||62|
|BEDFORD NORTH LAWRENCE TOURNAMENT|
|BEDFORD NORTH LAWRENCE||47||EAST CENTRAL||40||R1|
|CROWN POINT||60||EAST CENTRAL||50||3RD|
|BEDFORD NORTH LAWRENCE||59||NOBLESVILLE||40||1ST|
|CENTRAL CHRISTIAN TOURNAMENT|
|UNION (MODOC)||38||CENTRAL CHRISTIAN||21||CON|
|PURDUE POLY ENGLEWOOD||49||FAITH CHRISTIAN||34||1ST|
|SOUTH DEARBORN||44||INDIANAPOLIS LUTHERAN||31||3RD|
|ZIONSVILLE||49||TERRE HAUTE NORTH||34||R1|
|TERRE HAUTE NORTH||60||LINTON-STOCKTON||42||3RD|
|PARKE HERITAGE||45||SOUTH VERMILLION||25||R1|
|WEST VIGO||45||CLAY CITY||27||R1|
|SOUTH VERMILLION||41||CLAY CITY||38||CON|
|PARKE HERITAGE||46||WEST VIGO||42||OT | SF|
MEN’S TOP 25 COLLEGE BASKETBALL
#2 DUKE 76 VIRGINIA TECH 65
#19 TENNESSEE 77 #6 ARIZONA 73
#12 AUBURN 71 MURRAY STATE 58
#13 HOUSTON 80 TEXAS STATE 47
#16 TEXAS 68 ALABAMA STATE 48
#17 LSU 95 LIPSCOMB 60
#20 KENTUCKY 95 WESTERN KENTUCKY 60
#25 TEXAS TECH 78 EASTERN WASHINGTON 46
INDIANA 79 NORTHERN KENTUCKY 61
ILLINOIS 88 MISSOURI 63
NEBRASKA 88 KENNESAW STATE 74
MINNESOTA 72 GREEN BAY 56
VALPARAISO 88 WILLIAM & MARY 66
NOTRE DAME 88 TEXAS A&M – CC 73
FLORIDA 87 STONY BROOK 62
SOUTH CAROLINA 105 ARMY 75
STANFORD 66 WYOMING 63
CALIFORNIA 73 PACIFIC 53
EASTERN TENNESSEE 86 GEORGIA 84
CLEMSON 67 VIRGINIA 50
OKLAHOMA 72 ALCORN STATE 48
SAN DIEGO STATE 78 UC SAN DIEGO 57
BRADLEY 73 UTEP 66
UNLV 80 SAN DIEGO 57
BYU 54 S. FLORIDA 39
VANDERBILT 68 HAWAII 54
TOP 25 WOMEN’S COLLEGE BASKETBALL
#12 TEXAS 70 PRINCETON 53
#20 NOTRE DAME 91 DEPAUL 86
BUTLER 75 EVANSVILLE 67
MISSOURI 84 ILLINOIS 65
NEBRASKA 72 WYOMING 61
MARQUETTE 60 CINCINNATI 49
ORLANDO 104 ATLANTA 98
BOSTON 111 CLEVELAND 101
MILWAUKEE 126 HOUSTON 106
OKLAHOMA CITY 108 DENVER 94
LA CLIPPERS 105 SACRAMENTO 89
ARMY 24 MISSOURI 22
NFL SCHEDULE WEEK 16
THURSDAY, DEC. 23
SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS AT TENNESSEE TITANS, 8:20 PM (NFL NETWORK)
SATURDAY, DEC. 25 (CHRISTMAS DAY)
CLEVELAND BROWNS AT GREEN BAY PACKERS, 4:30 PM (FOX, NFL NETWORK, AMAZON)
INDIANAPOLIS COLTS AT ARIZONA CARDINALS, 8:15 PM (NFL NETWORK)
SUNDAY, DEC. 26
DETROIT LIONS AT ATLANTA FALCONS, 1 PM (FOX)
TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS AT CAROLINA PANTHERS, 1 PM (FOX)
BALTIMORE RAVENS AT CINCINNATI BENGALS, 1 PM (CBS)
LOS ANGELES CHARGERS AT HOUSTON TEXANS, 1 PM (CBS)
LOS ANGELES RAMS AT MINNESOTA VIKINGS, 1 PM (FOX)
BUFFALO BILLS AT NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS, 1 PM (CBS)
JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS AT NEW YORK JETS, 1 PM (CBS)
NEW YORK GIANTS AT PHILADELPHIA EAGLES, 1 PM (FOX)
CHICAGO BEARS AT SEATTLE SEAHAWKS, 4:05 PM (FOX)
PITTSBURGH STEELERS AT KANSAS CITY CHIEFS, 4:25 PM (CBS)
DENVER BRONCOS AT LAS VEGAS RAIDERS, 4:25 PM (CBS)
WASHINGTON FOOTBALL TEAM AT DALLAS COWBOYS, 8:20 PM (NBC)
MONDAY, DEC. 27
MIAMI DOLPHINS AT NEW ORLEANS SAINTS, 8:15 PM (ESPN)
WEEK 17 NFL SCHEDULE
SUNDAY, JAN. 2
ATLANTA FALCONS AT BUFFALO BILLS, 1 PM (FOX)
NEW YORK GIANTS AT CHICAGO BEARS, 1 PM (CBS)
KANSAS CITY CHIEFS AT CINCINNATI BENGALS, 1 PM (CBS)
ARIZONA CARDINALS AT DALLAS COWBOYS, 1 PM (FOX)
LAS VEGAS RAIDERS AT INDIANAPOLIS COLTS, 1 PM (CBS)
JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS AT NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS, 1 PM (CBS)
CAROLINA PANTHERS AT NEW ORLEANS SAINTS, 1 PM (FOX)
TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS AT NEW YORK JETS, 1 PM (FOX)
MIAMI DOLPHINS AT TENNESSEE TITANS, 1 PM (CBS)
PHILADELPHIA EAGLES AT WASHINGTON FOOTBALL TEAM, 1 PM (FOX)
DENVER BRONCOS AT LOS ANGELES CHARGERS, 4:05 PM (CBS)
HOUSTON TEXANS AT SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS, 4:05 PM (CBS)
LOS ANGELES RAMS AT BALTIMORE RAVENS, 4:25 PM (FOX)
DETROIT LIONS AT SEATTLE SEAHAWKS, 4:25 PM (FOX)
MINNESOTA VIKINGS AT GREEN BAY PACKERS, 8:20 PM(NBC)
MONDAY, JAN. 3
CLEVELAND BROWNS AT PITTSBURGH STEELERS, 8:15 PM (ESPN)
WEEK 18 NFL SCHEDULE
SATURDAY, JAN. 8
TBD, 4:30 PM, ESPN, ABC
TBD, 8:15 PM, ESPN, ABC
SUNDAY, JAN. 9
NEW ORLEANS SAINTS AT ATLANTA FALCONS, 1 PM (FOX)
PITTSBURGH STEELERS AT BALTIMORE RAVENS, 1 PM (CBS)
NEW YORK JETS AT BUFFALO BILLS, 1 PM (CBS)
CINCINNATI BENGALS AT CLEVELAND BROWNS, 1 PM (CBS)DA
GREEN BAY PACKERS AT DETROIT LIONS, 1 PM (FOX)
TENNESSEE TITANS AT HOUSTON TEXANS, 1 PM (CBS)
INDIANAPOLIS COLTS AT JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS, 1 PM(CBS)
NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS AT MIAMI DOLPHINS, 1 PM (CBS)
CHICAGO BEARS AT MINNESOTA VIKINGS, 1 PM (FOX)
WASHINGTON FOOTBALL TEAM AT NEW YORK GIANTS, 1 PM (FOX)
DALLAS COWBOYS AT PHILADELPHIA EAGLES, 1 PM (FOX)
CAROLINA PANTHERS AT TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS, 1 PM (FOX)
SEATTLE SEAHAWKS AT ARIZONA CARDINALS, 4:25 PM (FOX)
KANSAS CITY CHIEFS AT DENVER BRONCOS, 4:25 PM (CBS)
SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS AT LOS ANGELES RAMS, 4:25 PM (FOX)
LOS ANGELES CHARGERS AT LAS VEGAS RAIDERS, 4:25 PM (CBS)
TBD, 8:20 PM(NBC)
No makeups for CFP semis if team can’t play due to virus
(AP) — If a team is unavailable to play in College Football Playoff semifinals on Dec. 31 because of COVID-19 issues, the game will be forfeited and the available team will advance to the championship game.
With COVID-19 cases spiking across the country due to the omicron variant, the CFP announced Wednesday contingency plans for the semifinals and national championship game, which is scheduled for Jan. 10 in Indianapolis.
No. 1 Alabama is scheduled to face No. 4 Cincinnati in the Cotton Bowl in one New Year’s Eve semifinal and No. 2 Michigan is set to play No. 3 Georgia in the Orange Bowl in the nightcap of the CFP doubleheader.
“As we prepare for the Playoff, it’s wise and necessary to put into place additional precautions to protect those who will play and coach the games,” College Football Playoff Executive Director Bill Hancock said in a statement. “These policies will better protect our students and staffs while providing clarity in the event worst-case scenarios result.”
The contingency plans were agreed to by the CFP management committee, comprised of the 10 FBS conference commissioners and Notre Dame’s athletic director.
While there will be no rescheduling of either semifinal, the championship game could be delayed until as late as Jan. 14.
If a team cannot play in the title game, the available team will be declared national champion. If neither team has enough available players to play by Jan. 14, the championship will be considered vacated.
For the semifinals, if both teams scheduled to play each other are unavailable, that game shall be declared a no contest and the winner of the the other semifinal will be declared national champion.
If three semifinal teams are unavailable to play on Dec. 31, the team that is able to play will be declared national champion.
Texas A&M won’t play in Gator Bowl due to COVID-19 issues
(AP) — No. 23 Texas A&M won’t play in the Gator Bowl against Wake Forest on Dec. 31 because of COVID-19 issues and season-ending injuries, the team announced Wednesday.
“It is unfortunate, but we just don’t have enough scholarship players available to field a team,” Texas A&M coach Jimbo Fisher said in a news release.
The Aggies (8-4) were scheduled to leave for Jacksonville on Sunday. The team did not provide any details on the COVID-19 issues or injuries on the team.
“It is heartbreaking for our players, coaches, staff and fans that we are not able to play in the TaxSlayer Gator Bowl,” athletic director Ross Bjork said. “Postseason football is the pinnacle of the season and when the opportunity is lost, it hurts on many levels.”
“As we have learned in the last 21 months of this health challenge, the well-being and safety of our student-athletes is paramount,” he continued. “Our players poured their heart and soul into this season and we appreciate their dedication as Aggies. Aggie football is on track for long-term success and we know that the best is yet to come.”
The Aggies had an up-and-down season where they went 4-4 in Southeastern Conference play. They beat Alabama on Oct. 9 when the Crimson Tide was ranked No. 1 but wrapped up the season with a disappointing 27-24 loss at LSU.
AP Sources: NFL discussed cancellations due to COVID-19
(AP) — With a surge of COVID-19 cases threatening to disrupt the NFL season last week, the league discussed canceling games for the first time since the pandemic began.
In talks with the NFL Players Association, canceling games involving Washington, Cleveland and the Los Angeles Rams was considered because of coronavirus outbreaks on each team. Instead, the games were moved from the weekend to Monday and Tuesday.
NFLPA President JC Tretter, a center for the Browns, said the NFL wanted to cancel those games – players would not have been paid in that scenario, according to the league’s COVID-19 protocols agreement with the union last season. But two player reps with knowledge of the discussions told The Associated Press canceling the games was never the No. 1 plan. Both reps spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity because they weren’t authorized to discuss the conversations.
NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy told the AP on Wednesday: “Our goal has been to play the season as scheduled in a safe, responsible way.”
Speaking on a conference call with reporters, Tretter stressed the union’s opposition to any cancellations.
“So, the NFL’s position last week was that those three games were going to be canceled,” Tretter said Wednesday. “They weren’t going to be played, and if they weren’t played then nobody on either team was going to be paid. That’s obviously an issue for us as a union. Over 18% of our player population was at risk of not getting paid last week. Our position was we need to make sure all games are played in order for our guys to get paid.”
Tretter said the union’s executive committee voted unanimously “that our position needed to be that games need to be rescheduled and not canceled and we pushed the league to that resolution.”
The Raiders at Browns game was moved from Saturday to Monday, with Las Vegas winning. Seattle at the Rams and Washington at the Eagles went from Sunday to Tuesday night, with Los Angeles and Philadelphia winning.
Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger is focused on the games and not when they will be played.
“You don’t worry about it because it’s out of our control, so we can’t worry about things we can’t control,” he said.
Last season, in the heart of the coronavirus pandemic and before vaccines were available, the NFL managed to complete its entire schedule, the playoffs and Super Bowl on time. However, that required rescheduling 15 games because of COVID-19 outbreaks on various teams.
Jets’ Saleh tests positive, Browns’ Stefanski returns
FLORHAM PARK, N.J. (AP) The Cleveland Browns got their coach back on the sideline. The New York Jets might be without theirs this weekend.
Browns second-year coach Kevin Stefanski cleared COVID-19 protocols Wednesday and returned to the team after missing Monday’s home loss to Las Vegas, a 16-14 setback that damaged Cleveland’s playoff hopes. Stefanski also sat out the Browns’ playoff win at Pittsburgh last season after testing positive.
Meanwhile, Jets coach Robert Saleh tested positive for COVID-19 after feeling symptoms in the morning, the latest in what has been a surge of coronavirus cases on the team.
Tight ends coach Ron Middleton will coach the team at practice in Saleh’s absence. Saleh could return as soon as Thursday if he no longer shows symptoms and tests negative.
If Saleh doesn’t test out of the COVID-19 protocols before Sunday, Middleton will also serve as the head coach in New York’s game against Jacksonville.
The Jets have 14 players from the active and practice squad rosters, including injured reserve, on the COVID-19 list: wide receivers Elijah Moore, Jeff Smith and Vyncint Smith; guard Alijah Vera-Tucker; defensive linemen Folorunso Fatukasi, John Franklin-Myers and Tanzel Smart; linebackers Blake Cashman, Noah Dawkins and Hamsah Nasirildeen; cornerbacks Michael Carter II and Lamar Jackson; safety Sharrod Neasman; and special teams ace Justin Hardee.
The Browns were rocked by the virus last week, when an outbreak led to 22 players being forced to miss the rescheduled game against the Raiders, which Cleveland lost. Quarterback Baker Mayfield still hasn’t produced a required negative test and his status for this week’s game at Green Bay is unclear.
Browns tight end Austin Hooper and linebacker Jacob Phillips also returned, but starting rookie cornerback Greg Newsome was added to the COVID-19 list. He’s missed the past two games with a concussion.
On Monday, the first day under the NFL’s revised protocols, 47 players were placed on the COVID-19 list, the most in a single day since the pandemic began. Another 21 NFL players were placed on the reserve/COVID-19 list Tuesday.
– Pittsburgh placed linebackers Devin Bush and Marcus Allen and offensive tackle Zach Banner on the COVID-19 list on Wednesday.
Buccaneers address mounting injuries, sign RB Le’Veon Bell
TAMPA, Fla. (AP) The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have addressed the need for experienced depth at running back by signing former All-Pro Le’Veon Bell.
Bell, released this season after appearing in five games with the Baltimore Ravens, joined the Bucs on Thursday as the reigning Super Bowl champions continue to deal with mounting injuries that have depleted a strong group of playmakers assembled around Tom Brady.
Starter Leonard Fournette suffered a hamstring injury during last Sunday’s 9-0 loss to the New Orleans Saints, creating an opportunity for fourth-year pro Ronald Jones to move back into a role he lost to Fournette late last season.
Fournette’s injury came a week after Giovani Bernard, another veteran brought in to help Brady, was hurt against Buffalo and wound up on injured reserve. The Bucs also lost receiver Chris Godwin to a season-ending knee injury and top receiver Mike Evans injured a hamstring against the Saints, too.
Bell, 29, is a three-time 1,000-yard rusher who was attractive to the Bucs because of his experience. He joins second-year pro Ke’Shawn Vaughn in backing up Jones, who’s averaged 4.7 yards per carry while rushing for 337 yards and three TDs this season.
Since entering the NFL as a second-round draft pick with Pittsburgh in 2013, Bell has rushed for 6,536 yards and 42 touchdowns while also catching 395 passes for 3,258 yards and eight TDs with the Steelers, Jets, Chiefs and Ravens.
Fournette, who left last Sunday’s game in the third quarter, has rushed for 812 yards and eight touchdowns. He’s also second on the team with 69 receptions for another 454 yards and two TDs.
In five games with the Ravens, Bell carried 31 times for 83 yards and two TDs.
Broncos return to Lock with Bridgewater out with concussion
ENGLEWOOD, Colo. (AP) Drew Lock is preparing for his first – and maybe final – start of 2021 for the Denver Broncos.
Coach Vic Fangio ruled out starter Teddy Bridgewater, who has a concussion, for their game Sunday against the Raiders but said it’s possible he’ll return next week against the Chargers if he’s medically cleared: “Whatever’s best for his health moving forward is what we’ll do.”
So, Bridgewater will get his gig back if he’s healthy even if Lock lights it up in Las Vegas.
“Teddy’s our quarterback,” Fangio said, “and if Teddy’s healthy, he’ll be the quarterback.”
Lock was thrilled just to be back taking the bulk of the snaps with the starters Wednesday.
“I woke up with a big smile on my face this morning, being able to come out here and be the guy this week for this team,” Lock said before taking almost all the snaps at practice for the first time in nearly a year.
Bridgewater was knocked unconscious while scrambling in the third quarter of Denver’s 15-10 loss to the Bengals on Sunday. He was carted off the field after suffering his second concussion of the season and transported via ambulance to a hospital, where he was kept overnight.
Lock finished up, throwing a touchdown pass but also turning the ball over on a goal-to-go situation for the second time this season when defensive end Khalid Kareem wrested the ball away from him on a second-and-goal read option play at the 9.
Lock led the NFL with 18 turnovers last season, including 15 interceptions, to go with 16 touchdown passes.
Since coming out on the wrong end of the Broncos’ quarterback competition in training camp, Lock has made three relief appearances for the oft-injured Bridgewater, who’s sustained two concussions, a shin injury and a foot injury.
Lock has struggled in this backup role, completing just 55% of his throws (22 of 40) for 227 yards and a touchdown with two interceptions, two fumbles and five sacks.
“It’s an adjustment” going from starter to backup, Lock said. “It was a challenge to say the least. … But now my focus is on winning this next one for us.”
Lock said he’s a better quarterback for having been around Bridgewater as he’s gleaned tips from the veteran both in the classroom and on the field.
Bridgewater was discharged from the hospital Monday and even though he’s in concussion protocol, he’s been communicating with Lock via text.
Both the Broncos and Raiders are 7-7 and likely have to win out to have a shot at the playoffs. But Fangio said he didn’t think Lock would press given such high stakes
“I think he’ll be better there, getting the whole week of practice, getting the bulk of the reps, going through the experience he’s gone through this year, coming in mid-stream during a game, I think those will all work to his benefit,” Fangio said.
Despite his spotty relief performances, Lock said he feels he’s a much-improved quarterback since his most recent start, on Jan. 3, against the Raiders.
“I absolutely do,” Lock said. “There’s a lot of work that’s gone into my game – mentally and physically – up to this point. It’s just – like I said, now it’s time to put it all together and go show that I am a better quarterback than I was.”
Even with his NFL future hanging in the balance, Lock said the only thing he thinks he has to prove Sunday is “that we can go out and win this game, not for me, but for this team.”
NOTES: With No. 3 QB Brett Rypien moving up to second string, the Broncos signed QB Anthony Gordon to their practice squad and made him their “quarantine QB” as Rypien had been. … The Broncos activated starting DE Malik Reed from their COVID-19/reserve list after he missed two games. The Broncos also designated T Calvin Anderson and OLB Andre Mintze to return from IR, opening a three-week window to activate them to the 53-man roster. … CB Essang Bassey was claimed off waivers by the Chargers.
WEEK 16 NFL PREVIEW
The NFC North champion GREEN BAY PACKERS are the only team to have reserved a playoff berth with three weeks to play, marking the first time since 1993 that the NFL has entered a Week 16 with only one team guaranteed a postseason spot.
Only three weeks remain in an enhanced, 17-game season and 27 of 32 teams still have a mathematical path to Super Bowl LVI. Those 27 teams in contention ties the league record with three weeks to play.
The most teams remaining in contention for the Super Bowl with three weeks to play in NFL history:
This season also marks the first time in 19 years (since 2002) that the AFC will enter Week 16 with no teams having clinched a playoff berth. The 2002 and 2021 seasons are the only campaigns in AFC history in which 13 teams have had .500-or-better records through 15 weeks.
And while the fight for the playoffs is off-the-charts exciting, the competitiveness on the field has been equally so. Last week, the KANSAS CITY CHIEFS defeated the LOS ANGELES CHARGERS, 34-28, with a 34-yard touchdown pass from PATRICK MAHOMES to TRAVIS KELCE in overtime.
Kelce’s touchdown marked the 30th game-winning score on the final play in an NFL game in 2021. Those 30 games decided by a winning score on the final play are tied with the 2012 season for the most in a season all-time.
MVP CANDIDATES FEATURED IN CHRISTMAS DAY GAMES: A pair of front-runners for the 2021 Associated Press MVP will be in action on Christmas Day as the league features two Saturday games on the Week 16 schedule.
First, the CLEVELAND BROWNS (7-7) travel to play the GREEN BAY PACKERS (11-3) at Lambeau Field (4:30 PM ET, FOX/NFLN/Amazon).
- Green Bay quarterback AARON RODGERS passed for 268 yards and three touchdowns with no interceptions for a 132.2 rating in the Packers’ Week 15 win. Rodgers now has 30 touchdown passes this season and is the fifth quarterback all-time with at least eight seasons of 30-or-more touchdown passes, joining DREW BREES (10 seasons), TOM BRADY (nine), and Pro Football Hall of Famers BRETT FAVRE (nine) and PEYTON MANNING (nine).
- Rodgers leads the NFL with a 110.4 passer rating this season. He’s bidding to become the first player to win consecutive Associated Press MVP awards since Pro Football Hall of Famer PEYTON MANNING in 2008-09.
- Also on Saturday, Rodgers (442) needs one touchdown pass to break Green Bay’s career franchise record, held by Pro Football Hall of Famer BRETT FAVRE (442).
- Packers head coach MATT LAFLEUR has guided the Packers to three consecutive division titles. He is the third coach since 1970 to win at least 11 games in each of his first three seasons as an NFL head coach, joining JIM HARBAUGH (San Francisco, 2011-13) and CHUCK PAGANO (Indianapolis, 2012-14).
- Meanwhile, Browns running back NICK CHUBB (1,017) topped 1,000 rushing yards for the third straight season. With eight touchdowns (seven rushing, one receiving) this season, Chubb has joined Pro Football Hall of Famer JIM BROWN as the only players in franchise history with eight-or-more touchdowns in each of their first four seasons.
In the Christmas nightcap on Saturday, the INDIANAPOLIS COLTS (8-6) meet the ARIZONA CARDINALS (10-4) at State Farm Stadium (8:15 PM ET, NFLN).
- In last week’s win, Colts running back JONATHAN TAYLOR had 29 carries for 170 yards, including a 67-yard touchdown run to put the game out of reach with 2:01 remaining in the fourth quarter.
- Taylor, who leads the NFL with 1,518 rushing yards and 17 rushing touchdowns, became the fifth player in NFL history with a rushing touchdown in 11 consecutive games within a season and the first since Pro Football Hall of Famer LADAINIAN TOMLINSON in 2004. Tomlinson and Pro Football Hall of Famer JOHN RIGGINS (1983) share the league record with 12 straight games with a rushing touchdown, a mark Taylor can match on Saturday.
- Taylor is aiming to become the first running back to win Associated Press MVP since Minnesota’s ADRIAN PETERSON in 2012.
- The Colts lead the NFL with a plus-14 turnover margin. Their 31 takeaways this season are tied with the Cowboys for most in the league. Indianapolis is the only team with at least one takeaway in every game this season.
- On special teams last week, Indianapolis linebacker E.J. SPEED became the first player to return two blocked punts for touchdowns since Pro Football Hall of Famer ED REED in 2003.
PAIR OF BATTLES FOR FIRST PLACE ON TAP IN AFC: Four of the NFL’s eight divisional races are separated by one game or less, including the AFC East and AFC North, where the top teams in each division play each other this week.
The BUFFALO BILLS (8-6) visit the NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS (9-5) on Sunday (1:00 PM ET, CBS). With a win, the Bills would capture a one-game advantage over the Patriots in the key divisional tiebreaker, division record.
- New England is one of four teams, along with Arizona, Cincinnati and Dallas, that enter Week 16 in first place of their divisions after missing the playoffs in 2020. In 17 of the past 18 seasons, at least two teams have won their divisions the season after missing the playoffs.
- Each team ranks among league leaders in both turnover ratio and takeaways. New England ranks fifth in the league with a plus-nine ratio and tied for third with 27 takeaways. Buffalo ranks sixth in the league with a plus-eight ratio and tied for third, with New England, with 27 takeaways.
- New England’s defense leads the NFL in fewest points allowed per game (16.2). Buffalo’s defense leads the NFL in fewest yards allowed per game (287.9).
- This season, Bills quarterback JOSH ALLEN ranks fourth in the NFL with 31 touchdown passes and sixth with 3,734 passing yards.
- New England quarterback MAC JONES leads all rookies in passer rating (94.6), passing yards (3,168) and touchdown passes (18).
Meanwhile, the CINCINNATI BENGALS (8-6) host the BALTIMORE RAVENS (8-6) in a clash to separate the tie atop the AFC North on Sunday (1:00 PM ET, CBS).
- Cincinnati enters Week 16 in first place in the AFC North after finishing last in the division in 2020. In 16 of the past 18 seasons, at least one team finished in first place the season after finishing in last or tied for last.
- Last week, Baltimore tight end MARK ANDREWS recorded 10 receptions for 136 yards and two touchdowns. Andrews, who registered 11 receptions for 115 yards and one touchdown in Week 14, is the second tight end all-time with at least 10 catches, 100 receiving yards and a touchdown reception in consecutive games, joining TRAVIS KELCE (Week 11 and Week 13, 2018).
- In Cincinnati’s victory last week, rookie kicker EVAN MCPHERSON converted field goals of 26, 53 and 58 yards. McPherson has made nine field goals of at least 50 yards this season, the second-most all-time by a rookie. Only BLAIR WALSH (10 50-yard field goals in 2012) has more.
ANY GIVEN SUNDAY: The DETROIT LIONS, who entered Week 15 with a record of 1-11-1, earned a win over Arizona (10-3 entering Week 15). It marked the second consecutive season in which a team with one-or-fewer wins defeated an opponent with at least 10 victories (the 1-13 New York Jets defeated the 10-4 Cleveland Browns, 23-16, in Week 16 last season).
Then, the NEW ORLEANS SAINTS (6-7 entering Week 15) delivered a road shutout at Tampa Bay (10-3 prior to the loss). On 11 occasions this season, including the Week 15 wins by Detroit and New Orleans, a team has defeated an opponent with a least four more victories. Those 11 games are the most through 15 weeks in 33 years, since the 1988 season also produced 11 such contests entering Week 16.
This week, the Saints (7-7) continue their fight for a playoff berth, hosting a showdown against the red-hot MIAMI DOLPHINS (7-7) on Monday Night Football (8:15 PM ET, ESPN).
- In last week’s 9-0 win at Tampa Bay, the Saints became the first team to shut out the defending Super Bowl champions since the 2012 Falcons blanked the Giants (Week 15) in Atlanta. New Orleans also became just the second road team in NFL history, and the first in 40 years, to hold the reigning Super Bowl champions without a point. The Saints joined the Denver Broncos, who registered a 17-0 win at the Oakland Coliseum in Week 5 of the 1981 season.
- Also last week, the Saints became the first team in NFL history to play both the reigning league MVP (AARON RODGERS) and reigning Super Bowl MVP (TOM BRADY) and keep both teams out of the end zone. The Saints defeated the Packers, 38-3, in Week 1. The Saints’ victory last week marked the first time an NFL team had held Brady scoreless since 2006.
- The Dolphins last week earned their seventh straight win and enter the week tied for the league’s longest active winning streak. Miami, which started 1-7, is bidding to become the first team in league history to reach the playoffs after winning one of its first eight games.
When the Lions travel to meet the ATLANTA FALCONS (6-8) on Sunday (1:00 PM ET, FOX), one of the top rookie tight ends in recent memory – KYLE PITTS – will be in action.
- Last week, Pitts had four receptions for 77 yards and enters the game leading rookie tight ends this season in receptions (58) and receiving yards (847).
- Pitts is just the fifth rookie tight end ever with at least 800 receiving yards, joining Pro Football Hall of Famer MIKE DITKA (1,076), JEREMY SHOCKEY (894), KEITH JACKSON (869) and CHARLE YOUNG (854).
TOP TWO DRAFT CHOICES SQUARE OFF AT METLIFE: When the JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS (2-12) meet the NEW YORK JETS (3-11) on Sunday (1:00 PM ET, CBS), the top overall selections in the 2021 NFL Draft – Jacksonville’s TREVOR LAWRENCE and the Jets’ ZACH WILSON – are expected to be under center.
Sunday’s game marks just the fourth time in NFL history in which the top selections in the draft will meet as starting quarterbacks in their rookie seasons. The last three instances were JAMEIS WINSTON and MARCUS MARIOTA in 2015, Pro Football Hall of Famer PEYTON MANNING and RYAN LEAF in 1998, and DREW BLEDSOE and RICK MIRER in 1993.
The Jaguars-Jets game also will mark just the 10th occasion in the common-draft era (since 1936) in which starting quarterbacks selected 1-2 in the same NFL Draft will play each other. Leading that list are JIM PLUNKETT and ARCHIE MANNING, who met three times from 1972-83.
The eight NFL Drafts in which the top two selections were quarterbacks:
|DRAFT||NO. 1 SELECTION||TEAM||NO. 2 SELECTION||TEAM|
|2021||Trevor Lawrence||Jacksonville||Zach Wilson||New York Jets|
|2016||Jared Goff||Los Angeles Rams||Carson Wentz||Philadelphia|
|2015||Jameis Winston||Tampa Bay||Marcus Mariota||Tennessee|
|2012||Andrew Luck||Indianapolis||Robert Griffin III||Washington|
|1999||Tim Couch||Cleveland||Donovan McNabb||Philadelphia|
|1998||Peyton ManningHOF||Indianapolis||Ryan Leaf||San Diego Chargers|
|1993||Drew Bledsoe||New England||Rick Mirer||Seattle|
|1971||Jim Plunkett||New England||Archie Manning||New Orleans|
Last week, Jacksonville running back JAMES ROBINSON recorded his eighth rushing touchdown of the season. Robinson, who had seven rushing touchdowns as an undrafted rookie in 2020, became the fourth undrafted player in the common-draft era with at least 15 rushing touchdowns in his first two seasons, joining ARIAN FOSTER (19), KEVIN MACK (17) and PHILLIP LINDSAY (16).
HERBERT CONTINUES TO TURN HEADS IN LOS ANGELES: The LOS ANGELES CHARGERS (8-6) remain in the thick of the AFC Wild Card race as they travel to play the HOUSTON TEXANS (3-11) on Sunday (1:00 PM ET, CBS).
- The Chargers are one of seven teams that missed the 2020 playoffs currently in playoff position, joining Arizona, Cincinnati, Dallas, Minnesota, New England and San Francisco. In every season since 1990 – a streak of 31 consecutive years – at least four teams that were not in the postseason the year before have qualified for the playoffs.
- Last week, Chargers quarterback JUSTIN HERBERT (8,394) surpassed ANDREW LUCK (8,196) for most passing yards in a player’s first two seasons in NFL history.
EVERY GAME IS A PLAYOFF GAME: The LOS ANGELES RAMS (10-4) are tied for first place in the NFC West entering their trip to play the MINNESOTA VIKINGS (7-7). The Vikings, however, maintain control of an NFC Wild Card berth and will fight to keep it when the teams clash on Sunday (1:00 PM ET, FOX).
- The Rams’ COOPER KUPP, who leads the NFL in receptions (122), receiving yards (1,625) and receiving touchdowns (14), is attempting to become the first player to finish a season leading the league in all three categories since STEVE SMITH in 2005.
- In last week’s win, Kupp had nine catches for 136 yards and two touchdowns, and reached 10 consecutive games with at least 90 receiving yards, surpassing Pro Football Hall of Famer MICHAEL IRVIN (nine straight games, 1995) and ODELL BECKHAM JR. (nine in 2014) for the longest such streak in the Super Bowl era.
- The Vikings lead the NFL with 44 sacks, and 16 Minnesota players have had at least shared a sack this season.
- Vikings quarterback KIRK COUSINS has two-or-more touchdown passes in seven straight games, the league’s longest active streak. He also has thrown for at least one touchdown in 28 consecutive games, also the league’s longest active streak.
- Last week, Minnesota wide receiver JUSTIN JEFFERSON (2,735 career receiving yards) surpassed Pro Football Hall of Famer RANDY MOSS (2,726) for the second-most receiving yards by a player in his first two NFL seasons. This week, Jefferson needs 21 receiving yards to break the record held by ODELL BECKHAM JR. (2,755).
CHIEFS IN AFC POLE POSITION ENTERING WEEK 16: At one point this season, the KANSAS CITY CHIEFS (10-4) were 3-4 and in last place in the AFC West. They enter this week’s game against the PITTSBURGH STEELERS (7-6-1) with the top record in their conference in the bid for the AFC’s only first-round bye in the playoffs. The Chiefs put their seven-game winning streak, the longest in the league entering Week 16, on the line at Arrowhead Stadium on Sunday (4:25 PM ET, CBS).
- Last week, Kansas City secured its seventh consecutive season with at least 10 wins and became the fifth team in NFL history with seven straight 10-win seasons, joining the 2003-19 NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS (17 consecutive 10-win seasons), 1983-98 SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS (16), 2002-10 INDIANAPOLIS COLTS (nine) and 1975-81 DALLAS COWBOYS (seven).
- In last week’s win, Chiefs quarterback PATRICK MAHOMES passed for 410 yards and three touchdowns. Mahomes now has seven career games with at least 400 passing yards and three-or-more touchdown passes, the most games ever for a player in his first five NFL seasons. Pro Football Hall of Famer DAN MARINO (six games) had held the previous record.
- Mahomes, who won his 48th game in his 60th career start last week, also tied OTTO GRAHAM (48 wins) and DARYLE LAMONICA (48) for the second-most victories by a starting quarterback in his first NFL 60 starts. Only Pro Football Hall of Famer KEN STABLER (49) had more.
- Also in last week’s win, Chiefs tight end TRAVIS KELCE had 10 catches, including two touchdowns and a career-high 191 yards, most by an NFL tight end this season. Kelce joined Pro Football Hall of Famer SHANNON SHARPE and DARREN WALLER as the only tight ends ever with at least 10 receptions, 175-or-more receiving yards and two-plus touchdowns in an NFL game.
- Kelce also has reached 1,000 receiving yards for the sixth consecutive season, Before Kelce, no other tight end had ever had more than four 1,000-yard seasons. No other tight end had ever had more than three 1,000-yard seasons in consecutive fashion.
- After Kelce and teammate TYREEK HILL (12 receptions for 148 yards and one touchdown) each recorded 10 catches and 100 yards last week, it marked the first time in NFL history that a pair of teammates have each had at least 10 receptions and 100 receiving yards in the same game on multiple occasions. Kelce and Hill also did it in Week 11 of the 2018 season on the road against the Rams.
- In last week’s Steelers win, Pittsburgh quarterback BEN ROETHLISBERGER passed for 148 yards and had a rushing touchdown while linebacker T.J. WATT registered 1.5 sacks and a fumble recovery.
- Roethlisberger now has 63,562 career passing yards and surpassed PHILIP RIVERS (63,440) for the fifth-most passing yards in NFL history.
- Watt now has 67 sacks since entering the NFL in 2017 and surpassed Pro Football Hall of Famer DERRICK THOMAS (66) for the third-most sacks by a player in his first five NFL seasons since 1982, when the individual sack became an official statistic. Only Pro Football Hall of Famer REGGIE WHITE (81) and J.J. WATT (74.5) have more.
COWBOYS LOOK TO SOLIDIFY PLAYOFF RETURN AGAINST DIVISION RIVAL: The DALLAS COWBOYS (10-4), who own an NFC-best 8-1 conference record and sit only one game behind Green Bay in the race for the NFC’s lone first-round bye, host the WASHINGTON FOOTBALL TEAM (6-8) on Sunday Night Football (8:20 PM ET, NBC).
- In last week’s win, Dallas cornerback TREVON DIGGS recorded his league-leading 10th interception of the season.
- Dallas forced four turnovers for the third consecutive game and became the first team since the 2007 DETROIT LIONS (Weeks 8-10) with at least four takeaways in three consecutive games within a season.
- With Diggs and rookie linebacker MICAH PARSONS, who has 12 sacks this season, Dallas is the sixth team since 1990 to have both a player with at least 10 interceptions and a player with at least 10 sacks in a season, joining the 2007 SAN DIEGO CHARGERS, 2005 NEW YORK JETS, 2001 TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS, 2001 CLEVELAND BROWNS and 1990 CHICAGO BEARS.
THURSDAY NIGHT PREVIEW: SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS (8-6) AT TENNESSEE TITANS (9-5)
Week 16 of the 2021 NFL season gets underway on Thursday, December 23 (8:20 PM ET, NFL Network) as the San Francisco 49ers (8-6) visit the Tennessee Titans (9-5) in a key, late-season interconference matchup between teams currently in playoff position. Tennessee leads the AFC South and currently holds the No. 3 seed in its conference, while San Francisco currently stands as the No. 6 seed in the NFC. The 49ers lead the all-time regular-season series between the clubs, 9-5, including winning each of the past two meetings. In Week 15 of the 2017 season, San Francisco kicker ROBBIE GOULD converted a game-winning 45-yard field goal as time expired to secure the 25-23 victory. Quarterback JIMMY GAROPPOLO passed for 381 yards and a touchdown with a 106.8 rating in the win.
The 49ers enter Thursday having won each of their past two games, and five of their past six games overall. In their 31-13 victory over Atlanta last week, Garoppolo completed 18 of 23 pass attempts (78.3 percent) for 235 yards and a touchdown with a 123.7 rating. He has recorded a passer rating of 90-or-higher in eight consecutive games, the longest active streak in the league. In five of six road starts this season, Garoppolo has recorded a passer rating of 100-or-higher with no interceptions. Running back JEFF WILSON rushed for a season-high 110 yards and had his first rushing touchdown of the season in Week 15, marking his third-career game with at least 100 rushing yards. Running back ELIJAH MITCHELL leads the team with 759 rushing yards this season, the third-most among rookies. He has 440 scrimmage yards (88 per game) and three rushing touchdowns in five career road games.
Tight end GEORGE KITTLE has recorded at least 90 receiving yards in each of his past three games and at least 150 receiving yards in each of his past two road games. He aims for his third in a row on Thursday Night Football with a touchdown catch. Since entering the league in 2017, Kittle ranks second among tight ends with 4,429 receiving yards, the third-most ever by a tight end in his first five seasons. Wide receiver DEEBO SAMUEL leads the team with 1,088 receiving yards and seven rushing touchdowns this season and has rushed for a touchdown in each of his past five games. He is one of three players in the league (JA’MARR CHASE and COOPER KUPP) with at least 1,000 receiving yards and 10 scrimmage touchdowns (12) this season.
Defensive lineman NICK BOSA currently ranks tied for second in the league with a career-high 15 sacks, while leading the NFL with 18 tackles for loss. He can become the fourth player with a sack in eight consecutive road games since 1982, when the individual sack became an official statistic. He aims for his seventh in a row overall with a sack. Linebacker FRED WARNER leads the team with 108 tackles, his fourth-consecutive season with at least 100 tackles since entering the league in 2018. In last week’s victory, he recorded his sixth-career fumble recovery.
Tennessee has a 5-2 record at home this season and is aiming for its first back-to-back 10-win seasons since 2007-08. Quarterback RYAN TANNEHILL has rushed for a touchdown in each of the past two games and he enters Week 16 ranking second among all quarterbacks with seven rushing touchdowns. Tannehill, who recorded seven rushing touchdowns in 2020, is the only quarterback in the league with at least seven rushing touchdowns in each of the past two seasons. Running back D’ONTA FOREMAN had a career-high 135 scrimmage yards (108 rushing, 27 receiving) last week and has rushed for at least 100 yards in two of his past three games. Wide receiver JULIO JONES has 23 receptions for 271 yards (135.5 per game) in two career games against San Francisco. In his past seven games on Thursday Night Football, Jones has totaled 916 receiving yards (130.9 per game).
Safety KEVIN BYARD has recorded at least five tackles in four of his past five games and he leads all safeties this season with 13 passes defensed, while tying for the lead among safeties with five interceptions. He is one of two AFC players (MARLON HUMPHREY) with at least seven passes defensed in each of the past five seasons. Linebacker HAROLD LANDRY leads the team with a career-high 11 sacks. He has recorded a sack in four of his past five home games. Linebacker BUD DUPREE had his second sack of the season last week and he aims for his third in a row on Thursday Night Football with at least two tackles for loss.
This will mark the final Thursday Night Football game of the season and will be aired exclusively on NFL Network. Kevin Burkhardt, Greg Olsen, Pam Oliver and Kristina Pink will be on the call.
QB JIMMY GAROPPOLO had TD vs. 0 INTs for 123.7 rating last week. Has 90+ rating in 8 straight games, longest active streak in NFL. Passed for 381 yards & TD vs. 0 INTs for 106.8 rating in last meeting. Has 100+ rating & 0 INTs in 5 of his 6 road starts in 2021. Aims for his 4th in row on road with 2+ TD passes. Passed for 317 yards & 4 TDs vs. 0 INTs for 136.9 rating in only career start on TNF (10/31/19 at Az.). • RB ELIJAH MITCHELL (rookie) has 440 scrimmage yards (88 per game) & 3 rush TDs in 5 career road games. RB JEFF WILSON rushed for season-high 110 yards & had 1st rush TD of season last week, his 3rd-career 100+ rush yard game. • TE GEORGE KITTLE has 4,429 rec. yards since 2017, 3rd-most by TE in 1st 5 seasons ever. Has 34 catches for 461 yards (92.2 per game) & 4 rec. TDs in 5 road games in 2021. Aims for his 3rd in row on road with 150+ rec. yards. Aims for his 3rd in row on TNF & 4th in row on road with TD catch. WR DEEBO SAMUEL has 685 scrimmage yards (114.2 per game) & 4 TDs (3 rush, 1 rec.) in 6 road games in 2021. Aims for his 3rd in row on road & 6th in row overall with rush TD. • DL NICK BOSA ranks tied-2nd in NFL with career-high 15 sacks & leads league with 18 TFL. Can become 4th player with sack in 8 straight road games since 1982. Aims for his 7th in row with sack. LB FRED WARNER had 6th-career FR last week. Aims for his 8th in row on road with 7+ tackles. DL ARDEN KEY had career-high 5th sack of season last week.
QB RYAN TANNEHILL completed 23 of 32 passes (71.9 pct.) & rushed for TD last week. Aims for 3rd in row with rush TD. Ranks 2nd among QBs with 7 rush TDs & is only QB with 7+ rush TDs in each of past 2 seasons. Has 4 TDs vs. 0 INTs for 101 rating in 2 career starts vs. SF. • RB D’ONTA FOREMAN had career-high 135 scrimmage yards (108 rush, 27 rec.) last week. Has 100+ rush yards in 2 of past 3. RB DONTRELL HILLIARD had 59 scrimmage yards (49 rush, 10 rec.) in Week 15 & has 50+ scrimmage yards in 3 of past 4. RB JEREMY MCNICHOLS had 51 scrimmage yards (26 rush, 25 rec.) last week, his 2nd game this season with 50+ scrimmage yards. • WR JULIO JONES has 23 catches for 271 yards (135.5 per game) & 2 TDs in 2 career games vs. SF. Has 7+ catches & 125+ rec. yards in each of his past 3 games on TNF. Has 916 rec. yards (130.9 per game) in his past 7 on TNF. TE ANTHONY FIRKSER aims for his 3rd in row at home with 4+ catches. • S KEVIN BYARD has 5+ tackles in 4 of past 5. Has PD in 2 of past 3 at home. Leads safeties with 13 PD in 2021 & ties for lead among safeties with 5 INTs. LB BUD DUPREE had 2nd sack of season last week. Aims for his 3rd in row vs. SF with TFL. Aims for his 3rd in row on TNF with 2+ TFL. LB HAROLD LANDRY leads team with career-high 11 sacks & has sack in 4 of past 5 at home. DT DENICO AUTRY aims for 3rd in row sack. Has PD in 2 of past 3 at home. Aims for his 4th in row on TNF with TFL. Rookie DT NAQUAN JONES had 2 TFL & sack in Week 15.
Rosters Announced For 2022 Pro Bowl Presented By Verizon
The NFL today announced the AFC and NFC All-Stars for the 2022 Pro Bowl presented by Verizon, which kicks off at 3:00 PM ET on Sunday, February 6, and will be televised on ESPN, ESPN Deportes and simulcast on ABC. Tickets are available now on ProBowl.com and will allow fans special benefits on gameday including access to the Pro Bowl Red Carpet and other family friendly activities.
Roster selections are determined by the consensus votes of fans, players and coaches. Each group’s vote counts one-third toward determining the 88 All-Star players. The NFL is the only sports league that combines voting by fans, coaches and players to determine its All-Stars. It was also the first professional sports league to offer online All-Star voting in 1995.
Twenty-six teams had at least one player selected to the 2022 Pro Bowl roster and 23 clubs had multiple players chosen as All-Stars. The INDIANAPOLIS COLTS led all teams with seven Pro Bowl selections while the KANSAS CITY CHIEFS and LOS ANGELES CHARGERS each had six players chosen. Five teams – the BALTIMORE RAVENS, CLEVELAND BROWNS, DALLAS COWBOYS, SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS and TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS – each placed five players on the Pro Bowl roster.
Tampa Bay quarterback TOM BRADY was selected to his 15th Pro Bowl, the most of any player ever, while Green Bay’s AARON RODGERS was selected to his 10th Pro Bowl. Each of the four other quarterbacks selected – the Los Angeles Chargers’ JUSTIN HERBERT, Baltimore’s LAMAR JACKSON, Kansas City’s PATRICK MAHOMES and Arizona’s KYLER MURRAY – are under the age of 27.
Thirty-one of the players selected to the Pro Bowl today are first-time All-Stars, including four rookies – wide receiver JA’MARR CHASE of the Cincinnati Bengals, linebacker MICAH PARSONS of the Dallas Cowboys, tight end KYLE PITTS of the Atlanta Falcons and tackle RASHAWN SLATER of the Los Angeles Chargers.
Minnesota’s JUSTIN JEFFERSON was named to his second-consecutive Pro Bowl since entering the league in 2020 while five other second-year players – Dallas’ TREVON DIGGS, Baltimore’s DEVIN DUVERNAY, Herbert, Indianapolis’ JONATHAN TAYLOR and Tampa Bay’s TRISTAN WIRFS – each earned their first Pro Bowl selections.
The 2022 Pro Bowl coaching staffs will be from the losing teams in the AFC and NFC Divisional playoffs with the best regular-season records.
Leading up to the game, the NFL will host a series of Pro Bowl Week festivities, bringing free experiences and activities to fans in Las Vegas. A number of events will also be focused on celebrating football at all levels. Pro Bowl Week festivities will include Pro Bowl Practice, Play Football Opening Night, the NFL FLAG Championships presented by Subway, the East-West Shrine Bowl (televised on NFL Network), the Pro Bowl Skills Showdown (televised on ESPN) and Community Day.
More details around how fans can get involved with Pro Bowl Week festivities will be announced at a later date. Visit ProBowl.com for the latest event details.
2022 PRO BOWL PLAYERS BY POSITION
(*First-time Pro Bowl selection; Bold/Italic: Starter)
|QUARTERBACKS (3)||TIGHT ENDS (2)|
|*||Justin Herbert, L.A. Chargers||Mark Andrews, Baltimore|
|Lamar Jackson, Baltimore||Travis Kelce, Kansas City|
|Patrick Mahomes, Kansas City|
|WIDE RECEIVERS (4)||Orlando Brown, Kansas City|
|Keenan Allen, L.A. Chargers||*||Dion Dawkins, Buffalo|
|*||Ja’Marr Chase, Cincinnati||*||Rashawn Slater, L.A. Chargers|
|Stefon Diggs, Buffalo|
|Tyreek Hill, Kansas City||GUARDS (3)|
|Joel Bitonio, Cleveland|
|RUNNING BACKS (3)||Quenton Nelson, Indianapolis|
|Nick Chubb, Cleveland||*||Wyatt Teller, Cleveland|
|*||Joe Mixon, Cincinnati|
|*||Jonathan Taylor, Indianapolis||CENTERS (2)|
|Ryan Kelly, Indianapolis|
|FULLBACK (1)||*||Corey Linsley, L.A. Chargers|
|Patrick Ricard, Baltimore|
|DEFENSIVE ENDS (3)||INSIDE/MIDDLE LINEBACKERS (2)|
|*||Maxx Crosby, Las Vegas||Darius Leonard, Indianapolis|
|Myles Garrett, Cleveland||*||Denzel Perryman, Las Vegas|
|*||Trey Hendrickson, Cincinnati|
|INTERIOR LINEMEN (3)||Xavien Howard, Miami|
|DeForest Buckner, Indianapolis||*||J.C. Jackson, New England|
|Cameron Heyward, Pittsburgh||*||Kenny Moore, Indianapolis|
|Chris Jones, Kansas City||Denzel Ward, Cleveland|
|OUTSIDE LINEBACKERS (3)||FREE SAFETY (1)|
|Joey Bosa, L.A. Chargers||Kevin Byard, Tennessee|
|Matthew Judon, New England|
|T.J. Watt, Pittsburgh||STRONG SAFETIES (2)|
|Derwin James, L.A. Chargers|
|Tyrann Mathieu, Kansas City|
|PUNTER (1)||RETURN SPECIALIST (1)|
|*||AJ Cole, Las Vegas||*||Devin Duvernay, Baltimore|
|PLACEKICKER (1)||SPECIAL TEAMER (1)|
|Justin Tucker, Baltimore||Matthew Slater, New England|
|LONG SNAPPER (1)|
|*||Luke Rhodes, Indianapolis|
2022 PRO BOWL PLAYERS BY POSITION
(*First-time Pro Bowl selection; Bold/Italic: Starter)
|QUARTERBACKS (3)||TIGHT ENDS (2)|
|Tom Brady, Tampa Bay||George Kittle, San Francisco|
|Kyler Murray, Arizona||*||Kyle Pitts, Atlanta|
|Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay|
|WIDE RECEIVERS (4)||Tyron Smith, Dallas|
|Davante Adams, Green Bay||Trent Williams, San Francisco|
|Justin Jefferson, Minnesota||*||Tristan Wirfs, Tampa Bay|
|*||Cooper Kupp, L.A. Rams|
|*||Deebo Samuel, San Francisco||GUARDS (3)|
|*||Ali Marpet, Tampa Bay|
|RUNNING BACKS (3)||Zack Martin, Dallas|
|Alvin Kamara, New Orleans||Brandon Scherff, Washington|
|James Conner, Arizona|
|Dalvin Cook, Minnesota||CENTERS (2)|
|*||Ryan Jensen, Tampa Bay|
|FULLBACK (1)||Jason Kelce, Philadelphia|
|Kyle Juszczyk, San Francisco|
|DEFENSIVE ENDS (3)||INSIDE/MIDDLE LINEBACKERS (2)|
|Nick Bosa, San Francisco||*||Micah Parsons, Dallas|
|*||Brian Burns, Carolina||Bobby Wagner, Seattle|
|Cameron Jordan, New Orleans|
|INTERIOR LINEMEN (3)||*||Trevon Diggs, Dallas|
|*||Jonathan Allen, Washington||Marshon Lattimore, New Orleans|
|Kenny Clark, Green Bay||Jalen Ramsey, L.A. Rams|
|Aaron Donald, L.A. Rams||Darius Slay, Philadelphia|
|OUTSIDE LINEBACKERS (3)||FREE SAFETY (1)|
|Shaquil Barrett, Tampa Bay||Quandre Diggs, Seattle|
|Chandler Jones, Arizona|
|Robert Quinn, Chicago||STRONG SAFETIES (2)|
|Budda Baker, Arizona|
|Harrison Smith, Minnesota|
|PUNTER (1)||RETURN SPECIALIST (1)|
|*||Bryan Anger, Dallas||*||Jakeem Grant, Chicago|
|PLACEKICKER (1)||SPECIAL TEAMER (1)|
|*||Matt Gay, L.A. Rams||*||J.T. Gray, New Orleans|
|LONG SNAPPER (1)|
|*||Josh Harris, Atlanta|
NFC PLAYERS OF THE WEEK
Quarterback AARON RODGERS of the Green Bay Packers, defensive end CAMERON JORDAN of the New Orleans Saints and kicker RILEY PATTERSON of the Detroit Lions are the NFC Offensive, Defensive and Special Teams Players of the Week for games played in Week 15 (December 16, 18-21).
OFFENSE: QB AARON RODGERS, GREEN BAY PACKERS
- Rodgers completed 23 of 31 pass attempts (74.2 percent) for 268 yards and three touchdowns with no interceptions for a 132.2 rating in the Packers’ Week 15 win over Baltimore.
- Rodgers has 30 touchdown passes this season and became the fifth quarterback all-time with at least eight seasons of 30-or-more touchdown passes, joining Drew Brees (10 seasons), Tom Brady (nine), and Pro Football Hall of Famers Brett Favre (nine) and Peyton Manning (nine).
- This is the 19th Offensive Player of the Week award for Rodgers, the fourth-most all-time. Only Brady (32), Manning (28) and Brees (25) have more.
- 2010: Weeks 13, 16
- 2011: Weeks 1, 4, 9
- 2012: Weeks 4, 6
- 2013: Week 2
- 2014: Weeks 4, 7, 10, 17
- 2015: Week 3
- 2016: Weeks 14, 16
- 2017: Week 5
- 2019: Week 7
- 2020: Week 13
- 2021: Week 15
- Rodgers joins Detroit quarterback Jared Goff (Week 13) as the second former California Golden Bear to win Offensive Player of the Week this season.
DEFENSE: DE CAMERON JORDAN, NEW ORLEANS SAINTS
- Jordan recorded five tackles, two sacks and one forced fumble in the Saints’ Week 15 shutout win at Tampa Bay. In the victory, Jordan became the fifth active player to reach 100 career sacks.
- This is Jordan’s third-career Defensive Player of the Week award. He joins Marshon Lattimore (Week 5) as Saints to win the award this season.
- 2017: Week 6
- 2019: Week 13
- 2021: Week 15
- Jordan joins Hardy Nickerson as the only former California Golden Bears to win Defensive Player of the Week three times.
SPECIAL TEAMS: K RILEY PATTERSON, DETROIT LIONS
- In Week 15, Patterson converted all three of his field goals – from 37, 47 and 45 yards – and all three of his point after attempts for a total of 12 points in the Detroit’s Week 15 win over Arizona. The rookie led the NFC in kicking points in Week 15.
- This is the first Special Teams Player of the Week award for Patterson. He joins Cincinnati kicker Evan McPherson (Weeks 1 and 11) as the only rookies to earn the honor this season.
- He is the first Lions rookie to win Special Teams Player of the Week since Jamal Agnew (Week 2, 2017).
- Patterson joins Jake Elliot (twice) and Stephen Gostkowski (seven) as the only former University of Memphis kickers to Special Teams Player of the Week.
AFC PLAYERS OF THE WEEK
Tight end TRAVIS KELCE of the Kansas City Chiefs, linebacker DARIUS LEONARD of the Indianapolis Colts and defensive back TREMON SMITH of the Houston Texans are the AFC Offensive, Defensive and Special Teams Players of the Week for games played in Week 15 (December 16, 18-21).
OFFENSE: TE TRAVIS KELCE, KANSAS CITY CHIEFS
- Kelce recorded 10 receptions for a career-high 191 yards (19.1 avg.) and two touchdowns in Week 15, including the game-winning 34-yard touchdown catch to secure a 34-28 win over the Chargers in overtime. Kelce’s 191 receiving yards were the most in the league in during Week 15 and is the most by a tight end this season.
- This marked Kelce’s third career game with at least 150 receiving yards and a touchdown reception, tied for the second-most all-time by a tight end.
- This is Kelce’s first Offensive Player of the Week award and is the first-ever Kansas City tight end to earn the honor. He is the first tight end to win the award in the AFC since Rob Gronkowski (Week 15, 2017).
- He is the first former Cincinnati Bearcat to win the award since 1990.
DEFENSE: LB DARIUS LEONARD, INDIANAPOLIS COLTS
- Leonard recorded 10 tackles, one tackle for loss, a forced fumble and an interception in the Colts’ 27-17 win over the Patriots. He is the only player in the league with 10 tackles, an interception and a forced fumble in a single game this season.
- Also accomplishing the feat in Week 6, he is the only player in the league to register a force fumble and interception in two separate games this season.
- This is the fourth Defensive Player of the Week award for Leonard:
- 2018: Weeks 2, 17
- 2020: Week 17
- 2021: Week 15
- Leonard joins Dwight Freeney (five-time winner) and Robert Mathis (five-time winner) as the only Colts players to win Defensive Player of the Week at least four times.
SPECIAL TEAMS: DB TREMON SMITH, HOUSTON TEXANS
- Smith returned two kickoffs for 121 yards, including a 98-yard kick return touchdown, in Houston’s 30-16 win over Jacksonville. He also recorded a special teams tackles and downed a punt inside the five-yard line in the fourth quarter. He was the only player to return a kickoff for a touchdown in Week 15.
- This is the first Special Teams Player of the Week award for Smith, making him the first player from Central Arkansas to win the award.
- He is the first Houston player to win the award since Angelo Blackson (Week 15, 2019).
No. 19 Tennessee hands No. 6 Arizona first loss 77-73
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (AP) No. 19 Tennessee used its experience to get the upper hand on No. 6 Arizona on Wednesday night.
Super senior big man John Fulkerson had 24 points and 10 rebounds to lead the Volunteers to a 77-73 win over the Wildcats.
“I’d love to see that Fulky every day,” Fulkerson said, referring to himself in the third person. “That’s how the game goes. Just keep being aggressive.”
With an offense based on the perimeter, Tennessee (9-2) took advantage of Arizona’s spread-out defense by finding the 6-foot-9 Fulkerson inside. The Wildcats (11-1) were held 18 points below their season average.
“(Fulkerson) was the best player on the floor,” Arizona coach Tommy Lloyd said. “He drew 13 fouls, that’s almost a record. Our plan was to make him score lots of points and he did.”
“(Fulkerson) came out 30 minutes before everyone else to shoot around,” Tennessee coach Rick Barnes said. “He was there last night when I left. He knows it’s his last year.”
Tennessee veterans Santiago Vescovi had 15 points, and Josiah-Jordan James added 12. Auburn transfer Justin Powell scored 11.
Bennedict Mathurin had 14 of his 28 points in the first half. He was the only Arizona starter to score in the first 20 minutes as Tennessee took a 34-21 lead. Kerr Kriisa scored 11 points for Arizona. Wildcat big men Christian Koloko and Azuolas Tubelis combined for just 10 points, all in the second half.
“We weren’t able to get a lot of post touches,” Lloyd said. “At the end of the day, there’s usually one recipe. The recipe is `toughen up.'”
Tennessee hit seven of its first 11 shots and opened with a 16-2 advantage in the first five minutes. It took the Wildcats until the first four minutes of the second half to get back in the game. Arizona hit 7 of 9 shots to start the second half to cut the Vols’ lead to 44-40.
“We knew (Arizona) would make a push,” Barnes said. “We knew they’d get back in it.”
Koloko’s layup tied it at 62 with about five minutes left. With the game tied at 67, Fulkerson had a layup and two free throws to stretch the Tennessee lead to four.
“I felt like I couldn’t be stopped,” Fulkerson said. “I give our coaches and teammates a lot of credit for putting me in a position to be successful.”
With the Vols up 71-69, Fulkerson grabbed an offensive rebound, scored and was fouled, putting Tennessee up by four.
Arizona: Respect was a big part of what the Wildcats were seeking in their pre-Pac-12 campaign. Wins over Michigan and Illinois gave some credibility. The trip to Tennessee was supposed to be another confidence builder heading into the heart of the schedule. Arizona came into the Tennessee game No. 1 in the country in scoring (91.0 points per game), scoring margin (+28.2) and assists per game (21.8).
Tennessee: With the tough Southeastern Conference season set to commence next week, Tennessee could have used the tuneup against Memphis that was scuttled by COVID-19 on Saturday. The Vols have prided themselves on asserting their will on defense. That, and 3-point shooting, will carry them through several tough games.
Arizona: The Wildcats journey to Knoxville was the start of the meat grinder portion of their schedule. After a break for Christmas, they return to action Thursday, Dec. 30 in Los Angeles for an early Pac-12 showdown with UCLA.
Tennessee: The SEC schedule starts with a bang Wednesday, Dec. 29 when they travel to face Alabama, a preseason favorite to finish high in the standings.
Bucks snap 2-game skid with 126-106 victory over Rockets
MILWAUKEE (AP) After learning while in quarantine that his grandmother died, Wesley Matthews returned from health and safety protocols and delivered a performance to honor her.
Matthews scored a season-high 16 points and the Milwaukee Bucks beat the Houston Rockets 126-106 on Wednesday night to snap a two-game skid.
“It meant the world to me because my grandma meant the world to me,” Matthews said. “What brought her the most joy was watching me play. There was no doubt. I knew what I had to do.”
Jrue Holiday led the Bucks with 24 points. Khris Middleton added 23 after missing three games with a hyperextended left knee. But it was Matthews’ performance that had the Bucks searching for superlatives.
“He’s one of the ultimate warriors I’ve ever been around,” Bucks coach Mike Budenholzer said. “I have so much respect for him. So glad he’s here. That’s one of the more impressive things I’ve seen in a long time, for a lot of reasons.”
Matthews hadn’t scored more than three points in any of the other four games he had played since signing with the Bucks on Dec. 3, but the 35-year-old guard was in peak form Wednesday.
He shot 6 of 7 overall and 4 of 5 from 3-point range as he returned to action after a five-game absence.
“I didn’t know what to expect, what kind of emotion,” Matthews said. “The main thing is she just wanted me to hustle and work. That’s what I was going to do. Whether I made the shot or didn’t make the shot, I was going to leave everything out there because I know what brought her joy. I’m hoping we did that tonight with a win.”
The Bucks were missing two-time MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo for a fourth straight game as he remains in the NBA’s health and safety protocols along with teammates Bobby Portis and Donte DiVincenzo.
Houston wasn’t missing anyone for reasons related to COVID-19, but Jalen Green hasn’t played since Nov. 24 due to a strained left hamstring and Kevin Porter Jr. has been out nearly three weeks with a bruised left thigh.
Christian Wood led the Rockets with 20 points and 11 rebounds. Houston also got 12 points each from Eric Gordon and KJ Martin plus 10 apiece from Garrison Mathews and Alperen Sengun.
Milwaukee’s DeMarcus Cousins had 18 points and eight rebounds. Jordan Nwora added 18 points and nine rebounds for the Bucks.
The Bucks scored 16 straight points in the second quarter to seize control. Holiday scored seven points during the stretch, and Cousins added five with a three-point play and a dunk.
Nwora provided the most memorable play of that spurt by sinking a 3-pointer after making a nifty step-back move that sent Houston’s Armoni Brooks sprawling to the floor.
Houston took more than half its shots from 3-point range but made just 28.9% of its attempts from beyond the arc.
“Their defense is proven,” Rockets coach Stephen Silas said. “That’s what they do. They take away the paint.”
Rockets: Wood had another big game while continuing to deal with left knee tendinitis, which caused him to miss two games last week. Wood has scored at least 20 points in five of the last six games he has played.
Bucks: Grayson Allen didn’t play. Budenholzer said Allen was dealing with an illness unrelated to COVID-19. … The Bucks are playing on back-to-back days for the third time in the last two weeks. … Nwora has scored in double figures for a career-high four straight games. . The Bucks completed a regular-season sweep of the Rockets. The Bucks won 123-114 at Houston on Dec. 10 to snap the Rockets’ seven-game winning streak.
Rockets: At Indiana on Thursday night.
Bucks: At Dallas on Thursday night.
Clippers hold off Kings 105-89, snap 3-game skid
SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) Eric Bledsoe scored 19 points, Paul George had 17 and the Los Angeles Clippers held off the Sacramento Kings 105-89 on Wednesday night.
Serge Ibaka added a season-high 17 points, including three dunks and 12 points in the fourth quarter, to help the Clippers end a three-game losing streak.
Los Angeles had lost three straight to Sacramento, including twice this season.
“Tonight I just came with the mindset that I’m going to be out there for my teammates. We needed this win so bad,” said Ibaka, who has played sparingly this season while working his way back from back surgery in June. “I just tried to go out there and play hard and see what happened. When we play like that, it’s very hard to beat us.”
Tyrese Haliburton had his fourth consecutive double-double with 22 points and a career-high 13 assists for Sacramento. Chimezie Metu added 11 points and 10 rebounds.
“They know how to manipulate defense, they were really sharp, and really ready go,” Kings assistant Doug Christie said. “Once they got us on our heels, it was attack.”
George was playing in his second game since missing nearly two weeks with an elbow injury before being cleared to return. The seven-time All-Star, who scored 25 points against the Spurs on Monday, struggled with his shot most of the game against the Kings and was hit with a technical foul in the third quarter. He made a clutch 3-pointer as part of the Clippers’ game-ending 10-3 run.
Ibaka was just as big in the fourth quarter. He scored seven consecutive points for the Clippers during one stretch, and then added his final dunk of the quarter to push Los Angeles ahead 103-88.
“Serge was great, making two 3s, on the offensive glass, finishing at the rim,” Clippers coach Tyronn Lue said. “Serge’s presence was huge and big off the bench, and then definitely anchoring the defense on that second unit.”
Ibaka’s dunk put the Clippers ahead by 10 points early in the second quarter. Nicolas Batum later scored off an assist from George to make it 49-36, before Damian Jones scored for the Kings.
Sacramento shot 32.6% in the first half, committed 19 turnovers overall and never led.
“They have a lot of guys that have great hands, but to tell you the truth it was just me doing a bunch of dumb stuff, throwing the ball to the other team,” Haliburton said.
After the Clippers extended their lead to 19 points following back-to-back dunks by Terance Mann and Zubac and a Bledsoe layup, the Kings made their best push and got within 71-66 on Moe Harkless’ shot that banked off the glass.
Both teams were down several players who are in the NBA’s health and safety protocol. The Clippers were without Reggie Jackson and Marcus Morris Sr., while the Kings were missing De’Aaron Fox, Davion Mitchell, Marvin Bagley III, Terence Davis, Alex Len, Louis King and Neemias Queta, along with interim coach Alvin Gentry.
Clippers: Bledsoe picked up a technical in the third quarter. . Los Angeles scored only six points off 11 Sacramento turnovers in the first half.
Kings: Richaun Holmes had four points and seven rebounds in 17 minutes. Holmes had missed the previous seven games with a right eye injury and wore protective goggles. . Buddy Hield missed his first nine shots and was 1 for 12 in the first half. . Sacramento signed guard Ade Murkey to a 10-day contract. Murkey had been playing for the Kings’ G-League team in Stockton.
Clippers: Face the Nuggets in Los Angeles on Sunday. The visiting team has won each of the last three games between the two.
Kings: Host the Grizzlies on Sunday. Memphis has won its last five against Sacramento.
Gilgeous-Alexander’s triple-double leads Thunder past Denver
OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) Shai Gilgeous-Alexander had his second career triple-double with 27 points, 11 rebounds and 12 assists, and the Oklahoma City Thunder beat the Denver Nuggets 108-94 on Wednesday night.
Gilgeous-Alexander had the first triple-double by a Thunder player at home since Russell Westbrook during the 2018-19 season.
Gilgeous-Alexander said his teammates told him he was closing in on the triple-double. He clinched it on a rebound with about a minute to go.
“I can’t keep track of stats when I’m playing,” he said. “I’m just trying to win and trying to make the best basketball play every possession on both ends of the floor and whatever happens, happens.”
Darius Bazley had 17 points and 11 rebounds, Lu Dort had 15 points and rookie Jeremiah Robinson-Earl added 14 points and nine rebounds for the Thunder. Oklahoma City claimed its largest margin of victory this season and improved to 5-3 since a 73-point loss at Memphis on Dec. 2.
“It would have been easy to go into a shell, making excuses — we’re a young team, blah, blah, blah,” rookie Josh Giddey said. “But credit to our guys. After that Memphis game, we wanted to come out and prove a point that that’s not the team we are. We don’t want to be remembered for that. I think since then, we’ve come out with an edge, a chip on our shoulders to prove to teams that when you come into our building, or when we come to you, it’s not going to be an easy game.”
Nikola Jokic had 13 points, seven rebounds and three assists for the Nuggets. The reigning league MVP entered the game averaging 26.3 points, 13.5 rebounds and 7.5 assists.
Denver coach Michael Malone said the he didn’t like the way the starters were playing, so he sat all of them for the entire fourth quarter.
“As a coach, what I really care about is when you play and you compete and you play the right way,” Malone said. “We didn’t have that from our starting group.”
Denver had won three of four, but hadn’t played since Dec. 17. The Nuggets’ game against the Brooklyn Nets scheduled for Dec. 19 was postponed because the Nets didn’t have enough available players due to health and safety protocols and injuries.
Gilgeous-Alexander had nine points and two assists in the final four minutes of the first half to help the Thunder take a 60-52 lead. He had 19 points at the break. Jokic and Aaron Gordon each scored 10 points for the Nuggets.
The Thunder extended their lead to 16 points on a 3-pointer by Dort with just under five minutes left in the third quarter. A 3-pointer by Giddey pushed Oklahoma City’s lead to 21. The Thunder led 88-66 at the end of the period.
Denver cut its deficit in the fourth with the reserves, but never got closer than eight points in the final period.
Malone respected the effort from the reserves, led by Austin Rivers’ 12 points.
“I really applaud the effort by our bench,” he said. “Those guys went out there and competed and played hard.”
Nuggets: Rookie guard Bones Hyland limped off the court in the second quarter, and returned in the third. He finished with five points on 2-for-7 shooting. He was coming off a career-high 24 points against Atlanta. … Forward JaMychal Green played after missing the previous three games with an ankle injury. He had three points and seven rebounds.
Thunder: Mike Muscala, one of Oklahoma City’s most steady players this season, rested. … Held the Nuggets to 27% shooting in the first quarter to take a 28-18 lead. … Gilgeous-Alexander scored 11 points in the second quarter. … Giddey finished with 14 points.
Gilgeous-Alexander, on Oklahoma City’s strong recent play: “Just trying to move forward. Look at every day like an opportunity to get better and learn from the previous days. We try to do that every day, whether that’s watching film, at practice, on the road or playing a game, and we know that ultimately, if we do so, we’ll get better.”
In his past 10 games, Gilgeous-Alexander is averaging 25 points and 6.2 assists per contest. He did not play in the blowout loss to Memphis.
In three games since being moved to a reserve role, Bazley is averaging 12.3 points, 6.7 rebounds and 2.7 blocks while shooting 54% from the field.
Nuggets: Host the Charlotte Hornets on Thursday.
Thunder: Visit the Phoenix Suns on Thursday.
ACC revises forfeit policy for called-off league games
(AP) — The Atlantic Coast Conference is changing its rescheduling policy to avoid assigning forfeits for teams unable to play due to COVID-19 protocols.
League athletics directors unanimously supported the change announced Wednesday. The decision comes amid the rise in COVID-19 cases and the increase in cancellations and postponements of basketball games nationally.
Games that cannot be played will be rescheduled if possible. If those games can’t be rescheduled, they will be considered a “no contest” that doesn’t affect a team’s record. The change is retroactive dating to the beginning of the winter-sports schedule, meaning it will remove recent forfeits for the Boston College men’s basketball team against Wake Forest and the Miami women’s basketball team against Duke.
Additionally, men’s and women’s teams must have a minimum of seven available players and one coach to play a game. If a team elects not to play despite having that available number, the game would then be considered a forfeit.
The Big 12 recently adjusted its policy as well. In an email to The Associated Press, league spokesman Bob Burda said it allows for a game to be considered a “no contest” if a team has fewer than six scholarship players and one coach. The league will attempt to reschedule games.
League spokespeople with the Big East, Southeastern and Mountain West conferences all said their leagues are evaluating policies but no decisions have been made on potential changes.
Elsewhere, the George Washington men’s basketball game against Maryland Eastern Shore on Wednesday has been postponed due to COVID-19 concerns for the Colonials. The teams will work to reschedule the game.
In football, Alabama offensive coordinator Bill O’Brien and offensive line coach Doug Marrone have both tested positive for COVID-19 leading up to the College Football Playoff.
Crimson Tide coach Nick Saban and head trainer Jeff Allen said in a combined statement that the two assistants “have very mild symptoms” and are isolating at home. The statement said they expect both O’Brien and Marrone are expected to be available for the Cotton Bowl semifinal game against Cincinnati on Dec. 31.
Report: Celtics signing 7-time All-Star Joe Johnson to 10-day deal
The Boston Celtics are signing seven-time All-Star Joe Johnson to a 10-day contract via hardship exemption, sources told ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.
The 40-year-old hasn’t appeared in an NBA game since the 2018 postseason with the Houston Rockets.
Johnson has since played in the BIG3, helping the Triplets capture the 2019 championship while being named league MVP twice in three seasons.
The Celtics drafted Johnson 10th overall in 2001. He played 48 games in Boston as a rookie before being shipped midseason to the Phoenix Suns, with whom he spent three-and-a-half seasons. He also represented the Atlanta Hawks, Brooklyn Nets, Miami Heat, and Utah Jazz before signing with the Rockets in February 2018.
Pistons To Sign Cheick Diallo To 10-Day Contract
The Pistons are signing big man Cheick Diallo to a 10-day contract, sources tell Shams Charania of The Athletic (Twitter link). Diallo had been playing for the Motor City Cruise, Detroit’s G League affiliate.
The fact that it’s a 10-day agreement means the Pistons will use a hardship exception to complete the signing. Entering the day, Detroit had been one of nine teams without a player in the health and safety protocols — this deal suggests that’s about to change, since the club doesn’t have enough injured players to qualify for a hardship signing.
The 33rd overall pick in the 2016 draft, Diallo has appeared in a total of 180 regular season NBA games for the Pelicans and Suns. He averaged 4.7 PPG and 2.8 RPG in 47 games (10.2 MPG) for Phoenix in 2019/20, then spent last season in Russia and Spain.
The 25-year-old returned stateside this season and has averaged 14.2 PPG and 8.5 RPG on 71.4% shooting in 13 games (21.7 MPG) at the G League level.
Diallo will earn $102,831 on his 10-day contract, but it won’t count toward the Pistons’ team salary for cap or tax purposes.
Kings Sign Ade Murkey To 10-Day Contract
The Kings will add free agent shooting guard Ade Murkey on a 10-day hardship deal, tweets Shams Charania of The Athletic.
The 23-year-old swingman currently plays for Sacramento’s G League affiliate in Stockton, where he’s averaging 11.7 points and 3.0 rebounds in 12 games.
Undrafted out of Denver in 2020, Murkey signed an Exhibit 10 contract with the Timberwolves last December, but was waived before the season started and spent the year in the G League. He signed with the Kings in October and was waived two days later.
Sacramento has been hit hard by COVID-19 this month and currently has seven players in the health and safety protocols.
COVID-19 Notes: Trade Market, G League, Postponements
NBA teams have been so busy dealing with COVID-19 outbreaks and scrambling to find available replacement players that the trade talks which typically occur at this time of year have been put on the back burner, writes Jake Fischer of Bleacher Report. Given how many teams are shorthanded, it has also been hard to get a clear sense of whether certain clubs will end up as buyers or sellers, a high-ranking Western Conference executive told Fischer.
“There have been so many injuries, so many players in health and safety protocols, and there are so many teams that are holding out hope they can make a run to that next goal, whether it be making the play-in, making the playoffs, or competing for a championship,” the executive said. “I don’t expect there to be any trade action anytime soon.”
Here are a few more COVID-related notes:
Within his look at the recent impact of the health and safety protocols, Jake Fischer of Bleacher Report notes that the exodus of G League talent to the NBA has opened the door for more former NBA players to sign NBAGL contracts in the hopes of getting back into the league. Thon Maker, Marcus Thornton, and Jordan Crawford are among the players who have recently signed G League deals, says Fischer.
Michael Grange of Sportsnet.ca (Twitter link) offers some additional details on why the Raptors‘ Wednesday game and the Nets‘ Thursday contest were postponed. As Grange explains, while the minimum number of players required for a team to play a game is eight, the NBA’s new rules say that at least five of those players must be from the club’s initial 17-man roster. It sounds as if Toronto and Brooklyn both may have dipped below five available players, not counting hardship signees.
Vaccinated players signed via hardship exceptions can play for their new teams immediately after testing negative for COVID-19, but must continue to return negative tests during each of their first five days with the club in order to enter facilities and remain active, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski and Bobby Marks (Twitter links).
Luka Doncic, Trey Burke, Nerlens Noel Enter Protocols
Two more Mavericks players have entered the NBA’s health and safety protocols, according to the team (Twitter link). Luka Doncic and Trey Burke are the fifth and sixth Dallas players in the protocols.
It’s especially tough timing for Doncic, who appeared to be on the verge of returning to action after missing the Mavs’ last five games due to a left ankle ailment. Assuming he has tested positive, he’ll now be out for the next 10 days or until he can return two consecutive negative tests at least 24 hours apart.
We suspected that two more Mavericks may have entered the protocols today, since the club has now signed or reached agreements with six replacement players in the last week. The NBA’s new roster rules allow clubs to sign a replacement for each player in the protocols.
Meanwhile, a former Mav has also been placed in the COVID-19 protocols today, per Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN, who tweets that center Nerlens Noel is the latest Knicks player to be affected by the virus.
New York now has seven players in the protocols, though a couple of those players – Obi Toppin and RJ Barrett – have reached the 10-day mark and should hopefully be cleared soon.
Poll: Carlos Correa’s Contract
There’s been plenty of speculation as to Carlos Correa’s next destination, and even as the lockout trudges on, some reporting on the interest he’s received to date. The Yankees, Dodgers, Cubs, Braves and incumbent Astros were all reported to have contacted Correa prior to the lockout, and in recent weeks, ESPN’s Buster Olney reported that the Tigers had put forth a ten-year offer worth $275MM — presumably prior to signing Javier Baez to his six-year, $140MM contract. Bruce Levine of 670 The Score in Chicago wrote yesterday that while there’s mutual interest with the Cubs, the team is loath to commit the length of contract Correa is seeking.
The length of contract Correa is set upon will obviously play a large role in where he ultimately signs. If he’s set on a deal of ten (or more) years in length, the Cubs and Astros seem to be out of the question. If he eventually is willing to take a slightly shorter deal, presumably with a massive annual value, it could open the door a bit further. Some suitors may yet may ramp up their interest or pivot to Correa if they miss out on larger target (e.g. Braves and Freddie Freeman) or if the luxury tax threshold rises substantially in the forthcoming collective bargaining agreement.
Given that he’s hitting the market in advance of his age-27 season, it’s not a surprise to see Correa eyeing deals of ten-plus years in length. And, now that Corey Seager has inked a 10-year deal for $325MM — joining Francisco Lindor and Fernando Tatis Jr. as shortstops with contracts of 10 or more years — Correa is surely hopeful of adding his own name to that prestigious group (if not besting all three in terms of total guarantee).
If the Yankees indeed plan to sit out the market for top shortstops, as has been reported, that’s a sizable blow to Correa’s market. Add that the Dodgers have an excellent in-house option already in Trea Turner and may not want to add a second $300MM contract to the books alongside Mookie Betts, and Correa may have to drum up some interest from teams that haven’t been publicly linked to him just yet.
The Phillies have a need at shortstop but appear more focused on center field and the bullpen. The Mets don’t seem like a fit in terms of roster composition, but owner Steve Cohen has shown a willingness to spend at a nearly unparalleled level. The Blue Jays reportedly pursued Seager before he signed in Texas; would they consider a legitimate pursuit of Correa in the wake of Marcus Semien’s departure? Could the Tigers follow the Rangers’ lead and shock baseball with a double-dip in the shortstop market? The Mariners haven’t been characterized as a suitor just yet, but they have the payroll space and are seeking an impact bat.
As the already slow news cycle winds down during the holiday season, let’s try to make our best guess both as to where Correa will sign and for how much in total dollars…
How large will Correa’s contract be?
TOP INDIANA SPORTS NEWS/RELEASES
Jackson-Davis, Indiana start fast, beat N. Kentucky 79-61
BLOOMINGTON, Ind. (AP) Trayce Jackson-Davis made his first three shots, scored 21 points with three dunks and zero turnovers as Indiana cruised to a 79-61 win over Northern Kentucky on Wednesday night.
Jackson-Davis, the top returning scorer in the Big Ten, was 9-of-11 shooting with six rebounds, four assists and two blocked shots. Race Thompson scored 14 points, shooting 7 of 9, for Indiana (10-2), which is 9-0 at home.
Sophomore Anthony Leal scored two points with four rebounds and five assists in his first start for the Hoosiers. Eleven of 12 players scored as the bench chipped in 31 points. Leal was the first Bloomington native to start for Indiana since March 28, 2013.
Indiana opened an 8-2 lead in a little more than three minutes, and a 16-0 run over eight minutes shortly after had the Hoosiers solidly in control, 24-5. The Norse (4-7) scored 14 points in the first half, matching the fewest allowed by Indiana this season.
Worse, Northern Kentucky’s second-best scorer, Trevon Faulkner headed to the bench with two fouls in the first 3:22. Faulkner caught fire in the second half going off for all of his 22 points with four 3-pointers.
Northern Kentucky, after shooting 16% in the first half, outscored Indiana 47-41 in the second, shooting 59%.
Irish make 16 3-pointers, pull away late to beat Islanders
SOUTH BEND, Ind. (AP) Dan Goodwin scored a season-high 21 points and Notre Dame made a season-high 16 3-pointers in defeating Texas A&M-Corpus Christi 83-73 on Wednesday.
Goodwin made 5 of 7 3-point attempts with the Fighting Irish sinking 16 of 29 from the arc for 55% – better than their 49% overall – as they overcame a fast start by the Islanders then pulled away late.
Blake Wesley added 15 points and a career-high nine assists for Notre Dame (6-5). Paul Atkinson Sr. and Cormac Ryan scored 14 points each with Prentiss Hubb adding 11 with five assists. Notre Dame’s 27 field goals came off a season-high 21 assists while besting their previous season-high of 14 3-pointers made in a victory over Western Michigan in its previous game.
Trevian Tennyson scored 18 points with four 3-pointers to lead the Islanders (10-3), who shot 47% from the arc and overall. Isaac Mushila added 13 points and a game-high nine rebounds. Terrion Murdix and San Antonio Brinson had 12 points each. The Islanders made nine steals but both teams finished with 14 turnovers.
Trailing by five at halftime, the Islanders took their only lead of the second half on a Tennyson 3-pointer. Ryan had a pair of 3-pointers in an 8-0 run to go up by 10 and a Goodwin 3-pointer gave the Irish their largest lead of 11 with 2 1/2 minutes left. A Wesley dunk with a minute to go made it 82-71.
Notre Dame was 8 of 10 from 3-point range in the second half.
The Islanders had the lead through the opening 14 minutes of the first half, leading by as many as nine. A 9-1 run got the Irish within a point with eight minutes left in the half before they overtook the Islanders by closing the final six minutes on a 20-11 run, including six of Atkinson’s 10 first-half points, to lead 42-37.
Brinson kept the Islanders close, scoring their final eight points with the senior going into the break with 10.
Only six Notre Dame players saw action with its other usual rotation player, guard Trey Wertz, missing his first game this season with a sprained right ankle. He is expected back for the Irish’s game at Pittsburgh on Tuesday.
No. 20 Notre Dame women fend off DePaul 91-86
CHICAGO (AP) Maya Dodson scored 28 points and grabbed eight rebounds and Maddy Westbeld scored 22 and 20th-ranked Notre Dame held off DePaul for a 91-86 win on Wednesday night.
Dodson finished 13-for-21 shooting and collected seven offensive rebounds. Westbeld went 7 for 10 and missed only two of 10 free throws and Olivia Miles scored 20, had eight assists and six rebounds. Anaya Peoples grabbed nine rebounds; five on the offensive end for the Irish (11-2).
Notre Dame had a whopping 51-26 rebounding advantage with almost half (24) coming on the offensive leading to 29-second chance points.
Westbeld made 1 of 2 foul shots with 14 seconds left to give the Irish an 89-86 lead. Off the miss, DePaul failed to secure it and the deflected ball ended up back to Westbeld who was fouled and this time sank both to seal it.
Notre Dame led 72-59 after three quarters before the Blue Demons (11-3) went on a 13-2 run and were within 74-72 on Kierra Collier’s layup with 6:51 left. DePaul drew within a point twice from there but never pushed past.
Aneesah Morrow scored 19 and had 10 rebounds and Lexi Held 18 for DePaul.
Butler WBB Defeats Evansville 75-67
INDIANAPOLIS – The Butler women’s basketball team found the win column on Wednesday afternoon by posting a 75-67 victory over the visiting Evansville Purple Aces. Celena Taborn led BU with 26 points in 24 minutes of playing time. She hit 11 of her 13 field goal attempts and also pulled down six rebounds.
How it Happened
Butler built a lead early in the game by getting the ball inside. Celena Taborn scored the first six points of the afternoon and the Bulldogs would lead 6-0 at the first media timeout. The lead would grow to 10-0 at the four minute mark, but the Bulldogs would go without a field goal over the final 3:46 of the first quarter which led to a 15-10 advantage after the first 10 minutes.
Butler’s first 12 points of the game all came in the paint. Evansville struggled with just two made field goals, but they got back in the game with six made free throws.
The start of the second quarter helped Butler increase their lead. They went on a 7-0 scoring run to push the lead to 22-12 and forced Evansville into a timeout. A second 7-0 scoring run later in the second gave BU a 29-15 cushion and they would carry a 34-22 advantage into the half.
Butler outscored Evansville 19-12 in the second frame, but the Purple Aces picked up the ball pressure in the third to win that 10-minute stretch 22-13. Evansville put on a full-court press and shrunk the BU lead to 10 at 40-30 with 5:06 on the clock. Evansville added six-straight points to get within four, but Kendall Wingler would dial up from long distance in front of the BU bench to keep the lead.
The two teams went into the fourth quarter with Butler leading by three. UE tied the game at 47-47 on their first possession of the fourth, but would never take the lead. Taborn continued to hurt Evansville inside during crunch time. She hit all three of her field goal attempts to post seven points in the fourth. Zoe Jackson and Alex Richard each added six which allowed Butler to record their first win of the season.
Stat of the Game
Butler never trailed on Wednesday afternoon. Evansville tied the contest at 47-47 early in the fourth quarter, but Trinity White put Butler back on top with a 3-pointer.
Inside the Box Score
– Zoe Jackson had 11 points, four assists and two steals in the victory.
– Alex Richard came off the bench to supply BU with 10 points four assists and two steals.
– Kendall Wingler hit two 3-pointers to score nine points for BU. She added five rebounds.
– Tenley Dowell was great off the bench with 10 points and nine rebounds.
– Sydney Jaynes had six points, five boards, three assists and two blocks.
– Butler shot 43.5% from the field and 81% from the free throw line.
– The Bulldogs dished out 16 assists on 27 made field goals.
– Je’Naiya Davis led Evansville with 24 points and seven rebounds.
Butler’s next game will be played one week from today at Xavier. The Musketeers will host the Bulldogs on Dec. 29. Opening tip is set for 2 PM at the Cintas Center.
Butler MBB Opens BIG EAST Play Thursday Night at St. John’s
BUTLER (7-4, 0-0 BIG EAST) AT ST. JOHN’S (8-3, 1-0 BIG EAST)
Thursday, Dec. 23; 6:30PM
Carnesecca Arena; Queens, N.Y.
TV: FS1 – @NoahEagle15 & Casey Jacobsen (@cjacobsen23)
Radio: 1430AM – @MarkMinner & Nick Gardner (@n_gardner)
Varsity Network Radio App, XM385, SiriusXM App 975
The Bulldogs open BIG EAST play Thursday night in Queens, N.Y., with a match-up against St. John’s.
The Red Storm were scheduled to play Seton Hall Monday, but that game was canceled due to COVID issues within the Pirates program.
Both Butler and St. John’s are coming off Saturday losses in games played without their leading scorers. The Bulldogs lost to No. 3 Purdue without Chuck Harris, while St. John’s dropped a contest to Pittsburgh without Julian Champagnie.
THE SERIES: Butler owns a 10-7 advantage in the all-time series with St. John’s. All but one of those games (a 1958 meeting in the NIT) have come since Butler joined the BIG EAST prior to the 2013-14 season. The Bulldogs have won three of the last four meetings. In the last meeting (Feb. 9, 2021 at Hinkle Fieldhouse), Butler erased a 16-point SJU lead to win 76-73 in overtime.
Butler Leads, 10-7
Streak: Butler, W1
At St. John’s: St. John’s Leads, 5-3
LaVall Jordan (at BU) vs. SJU: 5-3
First Meeting: St. John’s, 78-68; 3/13/58 (NIT)
Last Meeting: Butler, 76-73 (OT), 2/9/21 (at Hinkle)
This is the third time in nine BIG EAST seasons that Butler’s first conference game has been a road game at St. John’s (Dec. 31, 2019 and Dec. 29, 2016). The Bulldogs also played at St. John’s in their second game of the 2014-15 season (Jan. 3, 2015).
• Over the past five games, Bryce Golden is averaging 15.6 points and 5.8 rebounds per game, shooting 67 percent from the field.
• Aaron Thompson is third on Butler’s career assists list (490); LaVall Jordan’s college teammate Thomas Jackson is No. 1 with 540 career assists.
• Butler is allowing only 60.0 points per game so far this season, a mark that is 34th nationally.
• Golden tied his career-high with 20 points vs. Eastern Illinois Dec. 11.
• Golden’s 59.7 field goal percentage is third in the BIG EAST.
• Ty Groce scored his 1,000th career point in the Dec. 11 win over Eastern Illinois.
• Thompson posted the fourth double-double of his career in the win over EIU Dec. 11.
• Myles Tate (torn ACL 3/11) saw his first game action of the 2021-22 season in the Dec. 11 game vs. EIU.
• Butler owned a 43-30 rebounding advantage in the win at Oklahoma Dec. 7.
• Chuck Harris scored a season-high 26 points in the Dec. 7 win at Oklahoma.
• Butler committed a season-low seven turnovers against Purdue Saturday.
• Freshman DJ Hughes had career-highs of six points and six rebounds at Oklahoma Dec. 7 in a career-best 23 minutes.
• Jayden Taylor scored a career-best 21 points in Nov. 24 win over Chaminade.
• Butler made 12 three-pointers Nov. 13 vs. Troy, the most by the team since hitting 12 against Nebraska in the 2019 NIT.
• Butler was picked to finish sixth in the BIG EAST Preseason Poll by the conference’s head coaches.
• Sophomore Chuck Harris was an honorable mention selection to the Preseason All-BIG EAST team by the conference’s head coaches.
• Butler’s 2021-22 roster includes six players who are entering their fifth or sixth season of college basketball.
• The Bulldogs return 10 of their 11 top scorers from a season ago.
• Butler’s roster returns 97.2 percent of its scoring and 96.2 percent of its minutes played from last season.
QUITE THE BATTLE: As part of the annual BIG EAST-Big 12 Battle, the Bulldogs picked up a 66-62 overtime road win Dec. 7 at Oklahoma. Chuck Harris led the Bulldogs with 26 points. Butler trailed by 10 points at the half and by 13 early in the second half before clawing all the way back. After Oklahoma forced overtime with a three-pointer with two seconds remaining in regulation, the Sooners took a 62-58 lead in overtime before Butler scored the game’s final eight points.
TOUGH SLATE: In addition to a true round-robin format that has Butler playing all 10 BIG EAST foes both on the road and at home, the Bulldogs challenged themselves significantly with this season’s non-conference schedule.
Butler’s non-conference opponents include three of the top 13 teams in this week’s AP poll (No. 3 Purdue — Crossroads Classic, No. 11 Michigan State — Gavitt Games, and No. 13 Houston — Maui Invitational in Las Vegas). Oklahoma, Butler’s BIG EAST-Big 12 Battle opponent, is just outside of this week’s AP poll in the 26th position. Texas A&M, another Maui Invitational opponent, is 8-2.
HOME SWEET HINKLE: Butler is 53-15 at Hinkle Fieldhouse in LaVall Jordan’s five seasons as head coach of the Bulldogs.
The Bulldogs have won 64 of their last 66 games at Hinkle Fieldhouse against non-conference opponents.
ON THE WAY: Connor Turnbull, a 6-10 forward/center from Missouri, has signed a national letter of intent to join the Bulldogs beginning with the 2022-23 season.
Turnbull, from Saint Paul, Mo., stars for Fort Zumwalt North High School, where he earned Missouri Basketball Coaches Association All-State honors for Class 6. As a junior, Turnbull averaged 14.9 points, 7.3 rebounds and 5.0 blocks per game, leading the team to a 27-4 record and the Class 6 state semifinals. He shot 34 percent from three-point range. Turnbull helped Brad Beal Elite to a runner-up finish at the 2021 Peach Jam as part of the Nike EYBL circuit.
BULLDOGS ANNOUNCED AS PART OF 2022 BATTLE 4 ATLANTIS FIELD: The Bulldogs will participate in the Bad Boy Mowers Battle 4 Atlantis for the third time as the 2022 bracket has been announced. Celebrating its 11th year of elite collegiate tournament play, the 2022 field will include Butler, BYU, Dayton, Kansas, North Carolina State, USC, Tennessee, and Wisconsin. Butler was previously part of the Battle 4 Atlantis field in both 2014 and 2018. The Bulldogs went 2-1 in each event.
HAPPY RETURNS: Butler returns 10 of its top 11 scorers from last season. In all, Butler’s roster returns 97.2 percent of its scoring and 96.2 percent of minutes played from the 2020-21 season. Butler returns five double-digit scorers from a season ago and adds Ty Groce, a graduate transfer from Eastern Michigan. Groce led the Eagles in scoring last season, the sixth player on the Butler roster to average double figures in 2020-21. Butler has six players who will play their fifth season of college basketball during the upcoming campaign — Aaron Thompson, Bryce Nze, Jair Bolden, Christian David, Bo Hodges, and Ty Groce. Of that group, Nze, Bolden and Groce are in their sixth year of college after previously redshirting and now taking advantage of the additional season of eligibility due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
INDIANAPOLIS COLTS (8-6) AT ARIZONA CARDINALS (10-4)
SATURDAY, DEC. 25, 2021 // 8:15 PM ET // STATE FARM STADIUM // REFEREE: CRAIG WROLSTAD
LEADER: All-time series tied, 8-8
STREAKS: Cardinals have won past 2
LAST GAME: 9/17/17: Cardinals 16 at Colts 13 (OT)
LAST GAME AT SITE: 11/24/13: Cardinals 40, Colts 11
QB CARSON WENTZ is 1 of 3 in NFL (KIRK COUSINS & AARON RODGERS) with 20+ TD passes (23) & 6 or fewer INTs (6) this season. Passed for 304 yards & 4 TDs for 128.3 rating in only career start vs. Az. (10/8/17 w/ Phi.). Has 9 TDs (8 pass, 1 rush) vs. 0 INTs for 101.8 rating in 6 road starts in 2021. Has 2+ TD passes & 100+ rating & in 2 of 3 starts vs. NFC West this season. • RB JONATHAN TAYLOR rushed for 170 yards & TD last week & is 5th player ever with rush TD in 11 straight games within single season. Can become 3rd player ever with rush TD in 12 straight games within single season. Has 115+ rush yards in 5 of past 6. Leads NFL with 19 TDs (17 rush, 2 pass) & 1,854 scrimmage yards (1,518 rush, 336 rec.) & can become 1st player in franchise history with 20+ TDs & 2,000+ scrimmage yards in single season. RB NYHEIM HINES had 1st rec. TD of season last week. • WR MICHAEL PITTMAN has 50+ rec. yards in 2 of past 3. Has 75+ rec. yards in 3 of his past 4 on road. Aims for his 3rd in row vs. NFC West with 100+ rec. yards. Leads team with 889 rec. yards & 5 rec. TDs & aims for 1st-career 1,000-yard season. WR T.Y. HILTON had 49 rec. yards in last meeting. • LB DARIUS LEONARD had INT, FF & TFL last week. Has FF & PD in 2 of past 3. Is only player in NFL with 3+ FFs (6) & 3+ INTs (3) this season. Is only player since 2000 with 15+ FFs (15) & 10+ INTs (10) in 1st 4 seasons. LB BOBBY OKEREKE had 2nd INT of season in Week 15. DT DEFOREST BUCKNER had sack last week & has sack in 2 of past 3. Aims for his 3rd in row vs. Az. with sack.
QB KYLER MURRAY passed for 257 yards & TD vs. INT last week. Has 250+ pass yards in 4 of his 5 home starts in 2021. Is only QB with 3,000+ pass yards, 20+ TD passes & 5+ rush TDs in each of past 2 seasons. • RB JAMES CONNER has 7 rush TDs in 6 home games in 2021 & aims for his 6th in row at home with rush TD. Had rush TD in his last game vs. Ind. (12/27/20 w/ Pit.). Leads NFC with 14 rush TDs. RB CHASE EDMONDS had 53 rush yards last week. Has 65+ scrimmage yards in 3 of his 4 home games this season. • WR A.J. GREEN had 64 rec. yards last week. Has 50+ rec. yards in 3 of his past 4 at home. Has TD catch in 4 of his 5 career games vs. Ind. WR CHRISTIAN KIRK led team with season-high 9 receptions for 94 yards & had 5th rec. TD of season last week. Has 50+ rec. yards in 3 of his past 4 at home. TE ZACH ERTZ had 6 catches for 74 yards last week. Aims for his 4th in row at home with 4+ catches. Aims for his 3rd in row vs. Ind. with 70+ rec. yards. • LB CHANDLER JONES had 2 sacks & FF in last meeting & aims for his 3rd in row vs. Ind. with 2+ sacks. LB MARKUS GOLDEN had 11th sack of season last week. LB JORDAN HICKS aims for his 4th in row at home with 7+ tackles. S BUDDA BAKER has 5+ tackles in 6 of his past 7 at home & aims for his 4th in row at home with 5+ tackles. S JALEN THOMPSON is 1 of 3 DBs (MINKAH FITZPATRICK & DERWIN JAMES) with 100+ tackles (104) & 2+ INTs (2) in 2021.
|NFL STANDINGS DIVISION | CONFERENCE|
|AMERICAN FOOTBALL CONFERENCE|
|W||L||T||PCT||GB||PF||PA||HOME||ROAD||VS. CONF||VS. DIV||STREAK|
|NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS||9||5||0||.643||0.0||367||227||3-4-0||6-1-0||7-2-0||3-1-0||1 L|
|BUFFALO BILLS||8||6||0||.571||1.0||394||243||4-3-0||4-3-0||5-5-0||3-1-0||1 W|
|MIAMI DOLPHINS||7||7||0||.500||2.0||285||312||5-3-0||2-4-0||5-5-0||3-2-0||6 W|
|NEW YORK JETS||3||11||0||.214||6.0||250||428||2-5-0||1-6-0||3-7-0||0-5-0||3 L|
|W||L||T||PCT||GB||PF||PA||HOME||ROAD||VS. CONF||VS. DIV||STREAK|
|KANSAS CITY CHIEFS||10||4||0||.714||0.0||385||296||6-2-0||4-2-0||5-4-0||4-1-0||7 W|
|LOS ANGELES CHARGERS||8||6||0||.571||2.0||379||370||4-4-0||4-2-0||5-4-0||2-2-0||1 L|
|LAS VEGAS RAIDERS||7||7||0||.500||3.0||299||374||3-4-0||4-3-0||5-4-0||1-3-0||1 W|
|DENVER BRONCOS||7||7||0||.500||3.0||285||243||4-4-0||3-3-0||3-6-0||1-2-0||1 L|
|W||L||T||PCT||GB||PF||PA||HOME||ROAD||VS. CONF||VS. DIV||STREAK|
|CINCINNATI BENGALS||8||6||0||.571||0.0||369||303||3-4-0||5-2-0||6-3-0||3-1-0||1 W|
|BALTIMORE RAVENS||8||6||0||.571||0.0||334||315||5-2-0||3-4-0||5-5-0||1-3-0||3 L|
|PITTSBURGH STEELERS||7||6||1||.536||0.5||291||335||5-2-1||2-4-0||5-4-0||2-2-0||1 W|
|CLEVELAND BROWNS||7||7||0||.500||1.0||292||305||5-3-0||2-4-0||4-6-0||2-2-0||1 L|
|W||L||T||PCT||GB||PF||PA||HOME||ROAD||VS. CONF||VS. DIV||STREAK|
|TENNESSEE TITANS||9||5||0||.643||0.0||337||309||5-2-0||4-3-0||6-4-0||4-1-0||1 L|
|INDIANAPOLIS COLTS||8||6||0||.571||1.0||398||300||4-4-0||4-2-0||7-3-0||3-2-0||2 W|
|HOUSTON TEXANS||3||11||0||.214||6.0||207||372||1-6-0||2-5-0||3-7-0||3-2-0||1 W|
|JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS||2||12||0||.143||7.0||196||370||2-6-0||0-6-0||2-7-0||0-5-0||6 L|
|NATIONAL FOOTBALL CONFERENCE|
|W||L||T||PCT||GB||PF||PA||HOME||ROAD||VS. CONF||VS. DIV||STREAK|
|DALLAS COWBOYS||10||4||0||.714||0.0||401||293||4-2-0||6-2-0||8-1-0||4-0-0||3 W|
|PHILADELPHIA EAGLES||7||7||0||.500||3.0||364||308||2-4-0||5-3-0||5-4-0||1-2-0||2 W|
|WASHINGTON FOOTBALL TEAM||6||8||0||.429||4.0||283||351||3-4-0||3-4-0||5-4-0||1-2-0||2 L|
|NEW YORK GIANTS||4||10||0||.286||6.0||238||331||3-4-0||1-6-0||3-6-0||1-3-0||3 L|
|W||L||T||PCT||GB||PF||PA||HOME||ROAD||VS. CONF||VS. DIV||STREAK|
|ARIZONA CARDINALS||10||4||0||.714||0.0||378||284||3-3-0||7-1-0||6-4-0||4-1-0||2 L|
|LOS ANGELES RAMS||10||4||0||.714||0.0||386||303||5-2-0||5-2-0||7-3-0||3-2-0||3 W|
|SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS||8||6||0||.571||2.0||360||314||3-4-0||5-2-0||6-5-0||1-4-0||2 W|
|SEATTLE SEAHAWKS||5||9||0||.357||5.0||282||282||2-4-0||3-5-0||2-7-0||2-3-0||1 L|
|W||L||T||PCT||GB||PF||PA||HOME||ROAD||VS. CONF||VS. DIV||STREAK|
|XY-GREEN BAY PACKERS||11||3||0||.786||0.0||359||302||6-0-0||5-3-0||8-2-0||3-1-0||3 W|
|MINNESOTA VIKINGS||7||7||0||.500||4.0||361||342||4-2-0||3-5-0||5-4-0||3-1-0||2 W|
|CHICAGO BEARS||4||10||0||.286||7.0||240||349||2-5-0||2-5-0||2-7-0||2-3-0||3 L|
|DETROIT LIONS||2||11||1||.179||8.5||243||366||2-5-0||0-6-1||2-7-0||1-4-0||1 W|
|W||L||T||PCT||GB||PF||PA||HOME||ROAD||VS. CONF||VS. DIV||STREAK|
|TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS||10||4||0||.714||0.0||410||306||6-1-0||4-3-0||6-4-0||2-2-0||1 L|
|NEW ORLEANS SAINTS||7||7||0||.500||3.0||313||285||2-4-0||5-3-0||5-5-0||2-2-0||2 W|
|ATLANTA FALCONS||6||8||0||.429||4.0||258||384||1-5-0||5-3-0||3-7-0||2-3-0||1 L|
|CAROLINA PANTHERS||5||9||0||.357||5.0||271||313||2-5-0||3-4-0||3-6-0||2-1-0||4 L|
|NBA DIVISION STANDINGS DIVISION STANDINGS | CONFERENCE STANDINGS|
|NEW YORK||14||17||.452||7.5||6-10||8-7||3-4||9-14||3-7||1 W|
|OKLAHOMA CITY||11||19||.367||10.0||6-10||5-9||1-2||9-12||5-5||3 W|
|GOLDEN STATE||25||6||.806||0.5||15-2||10-4||6-1||13-3||7-3||1 W|
|LA CLIPPERS||17||15||.531||9.0||12-8||5-7||3-4||12-13||6-4||1 W|
|LA LAKERS||16||16||.500||10.0||10-8||6-8||1-5||8-11||5-5||3 L|
|SAN ANTONIO||12||18||.400||6.0||6-9||6-9||1-3||7-13||5-5||1 W|
|NEW ORLEANS||11||21||.344||8.0||6-9||5-12||2-4||8-13||6-4||3 W|
|1 TAMPA BAY LIGHTNING||30||20||6||4||44||18||98||80||10-3-2||10-3-2||8-1-1|
|2 CAROLINA HURRICANES||29||21||7||1||43||21||95||62||9-3-0||12-4-1||6-4-0|
|3 WASHINGTON CAPITALS||31||18||6||7||43||16||108||81||9-3-4||9-3-3||5-3-2|
|4 TORONTO MAPLE LEAFS||30||20||8||2||42||20||98||76||12-4-1||8-4-1||7-2-1|
|5 NEW YORK RANGERS||30||19||7||4||42||18||86||77||8-3-2||11-4-2||6-3-1|
|6 FLORIDA PANTHERS||29||18||7||4||40||17||104||87||14-3-0||4-4-4||4-5-1|
|7 PITTSBURGH PENGUINS||30||17||8||5||39||16||91||76||8-5-2||9-3-3||7-2-1|
|8 DETROIT RED WINGS||31||15||13||3||33||14||88||104||11-3-2||4-10-1||6-4-0|
|9 BOSTON BRUINS||26||14||10||2||30||13||71||69||7-5-1||7-5-1||4-4-2|
|10 COLUMBUS BLUE JACKETS||28||14||13||1||29||12||91||95||9-3-1||5-10-0||2-7-1|
|11 PHILADELPHIA FLYERS||29||12||12||5||29||12||77||95||6-6-2||6-6-3||4-5-1|
|12 NEW JERSEY DEVILS||30||10||15||5||25||9||82||105||7-7-3||3-8-2||1-8-1|
|13 BUFFALO SABRES||30||10||15||5||25||8||82||104||6-8-2||4-7-3||2-5-3|
|14 NEW YORK ISLANDERS||26||8||12||6||22||8||57||77||2-5-3||6-7-3||3-3-4|
|15 OTTAWA SENATORS||28||9||17||2||20||8||79||101||5-9-0||4-8-2||5-4-1|
|16 MONTREAL CANADIENS||31||7||21||3||17||6||67||109||5-10-1||2-11-2||2-7-1|
|1 MINNESOTA WILD||30||19||9||2||40||16||112||92||10-2-1||9-7-1||6-3-1|
|2 VEGAS GOLDEN KNIGHTS||32||20||12||0||40||17||114||98||10-7-0||10-5-0||8-2-0|
|3 ANAHEIM DUCKS||32||17||9||6||40||15||103||89||10-4-3||7-5-3||6-1-3|
|4 NASHVILLE PREDATORS||30||19||10||1||39||18||89||79||9-5-0||10-5-1||8-2-0|
|5 ST. LOUIS BLUES||31||17||9||5||39||15||106||85||11-3-2||6-6-3||6-2-2|
|6 CALGARY FLAMES||28||15||7||6||36||13||87||62||4-3-4||11-4-2||5-4-1|
|7 COLORADO AVALANCHE||27||17||8||2||36||16||115||91||10-2-1||7-6-1||7-2-1|
|8 EDMONTON OILERS||29||18||11||0||36||16||101||90||10-6-0||8-5-0||4-6-0|
|9 WINNIPEG JETS||30||14||11||5||33||13||90||87||10-6-1||4-5-4||5-4-1|
|10 LOS ANGELES KINGS||30||14||11||5||33||13||80||79||8-6-2||6-5-3||5-3-2|
|11 DALLAS STARS||29||15||12||2||32||14||82||85||11-3-1||4-9-1||5-5-0|
|12 SAN JOSE SHARKS||30||15||14||1||31||15||78||85||7-7-1||8-7-0||5-5-0|
|13 VANCOUVER CANUCKS||31||14||15||2||30||11||81||90||8-7-1||6-8-1||8-2-0|
|14 CHICAGO BLACKHAWKS||30||11||15||4||26||8||72||97||6-6-2||5-9-2||4-4-2|
|15 SEATTLE KRAKEN||30||10||17||3||23||10||84||108||6-9-1||4-8-2||4-4-2|
|16 ARIZONA COYOTES||29||6||21||2||14||6||56||109||2-10-1||4-11-1||2-8-0|