Odds for NFL wild-card games

It was a race that lasted through the final game of the regular season, but the field of 12 for the NFL playoffs is set.

Eight teams will be in action on the first weekend, and here’s how Vegas handicapped those games.

Opening odds for the NFL wildc-card games are from the Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook, as of Sunday night.


Total: 47

Saturday, 4:35 p.m. ET (ESPN/ABC)


Total: 42

Saturday, 8:15 p.m. ET (FOX)


Total: 42

Sunday, 1:05 p.m. ET (CBS)


Total: (no line)

Sunday, 4:40 p.m. ET (NBC)

College football bowl games 2018: Six Pack of picks, predictions for Rose Bowl, Sugar Bowl and more

Bowl season has been a roller coaster for The Six Pack. In the first edition, I dug myself quite the hole with an 0-4 start, and I followed that up with a 3-3 performance the following week. Last week, I went 5-1, so I’m 8-8 overall, but it’s been up-and-down campaign.

What’s that mean for this week? Well, if I were able to predict the future, I’d have a much better record on the season than 51-47-2. It’s been the worst season in the history of this column, but to me, that means I’m due for a great week to finish up and head into the new year.

So let’s end 2018 and start 2019 with some money in our pockets.

Games of the Week

Sugar Bowl — No. 5 Georgia (-12.5) vs. No. 15 Texas: There’s a voice in the back of my head currently screaming, “TOM HERMAN AS AN UNDERDOG! TOM HERMAN AS AN UNDERDOG!” I hear it, but I’m going to ignore it. After all, it was only a month ago when Texas was an underdog against Oklahoma in the Big 12 Championship Game, a team it beat earlier in the season, and I picked against the Longhorns. It worked out fine. And while there’s a part of me that is still worried about Herman’s ability to get his teams fired up for these games playing the “nobody believes in us card,” I happen to be one of those people that doesn’t believe in Texas here.

Georgia is just better than Texas at nearly every area on the field. Furthermore, Georgia is 4-0 ATS following a loss, 7-0 ATS in its last seven neutral site games and 5-1 ATS in its previous six games overall. We’ve seen a lot of blowouts this bowl season, and among the games on New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day, this one strikes me as the one most likely to be the next. Georgia 38, Texas 17

Rose Bowl — No. 6 Ohio State (-6.5) vs. No. 9 Washington: There are two conflicting forces at play here. On the one hand, you have a team coached by Chris Petersen in a bowl game, and history has shown Petersen teams are capable of pulling off upsets. That hasn’t so much been the case lately, however. Since coming to Washington, the Huskies have gone bowling every season under Petersen but they’re only 1-3 in those games both straight up and against the spread.

Then there’s Ohio State, which is playing its final game under Urban Meyer. We all saw how fired up and ready this team was to play against Michigan, and if it brings that same kind of approach to Meyer’s final game, Ohio State could blow Washington out of the water just like it did Michigan. Oh, and Meyer has gone 9-3 ATS in bowl games as a coach. While he’s only 5-3 ATS as a favorite in those games, if we look closer, we find that Meyer’s teams are 5-1 ATS when they’re favored by more than 3.5 points. I expect that record will improve in Pasadena, and the Buckeyes will send Meyer out with a win. Ohio State 31, Washington 21

Lock of the Week

Hyundai Sun Bowl — Stanford (-4.5) vs. Pittsburgh: Stanford and Pitt will square off in the Sun Bowl on CBS this Monday afternoon, and you will definitely want to tune in to see Stanford cover this spread against the Panthers. Yes, Stanford will be without running back Bryce Love, but you want to know a secret? Stanford wasn’t much of a running team this season, even with Love. Oh, sure, it tried to run the ball, but it wasn’t nearly as effective at it as you’d expect a Stanford team to be. What the Cardinal are this season is a passing team. Stanford ranks 7th in passing S&P+ thanks to K.J. Costello and his cadre of giant receivers like JJ Arcega-Whiteside, Kaden Smith and Colby Parkinson.

Stanford will be facing a Pitt team that’s been run-of-the-mill against the pass defensively, and while it won its division, Pitt played five games against teams ranked in S&P’s top 30 this season. It lost all five of those games by an average of 26.8 points per game. Stanford is ranked No. 27. Lay the points. Stanford 28, Pitt 17

Rock Fight of the Week

Holiday Bowl — No. 17 Utah vs. No. 22 Northwestern (Under 46): This is one of the lowest totals available this bowl season, and it’s this low for a reason. Now, maybe you think it’s too low, so you should take the over. A lot of people felt that way about the Cheez-It Bowl between TCU and California when they saw a total of 38.5. That game finished 10-7. In overtime. Now, I think this game will feature more than 17 points, but probably not too much more than that. Northwestern’s had one of the least efficient offenses in the country all season long, and it’s been just as bad on special teams. Utah’s offense was decent most of the year, but then it lost starting QB Tyler Huntley, leading rusher Zack Moss and leading receiver Britain Covey. Huntley will be back in this game but Moss and Covey won’t be. Take the under. Utah 21, Northwestern 17

Underdog of the Week

Liberty Bowl — Oklahoma State (+9) vs. No. 23 Missouri: If you want a bunch of numbers to back up this pick, I’m not using any specific stat to support it. I’ve just been successful taking Oklahoma State as an underdog this season when I feel the spread is too large. And that’s happened rather often! Oklahoma State enters this game at 6-6 after what was a very disappointing season for a program accustomed to winning 10 games a season and finishing near the top of the Big 12. The Cowboys were also only 6-6 ATS, but guess what? They were 4-0 ATS as underdogs. They were two-point dogs against Boise State and won by 23. They were 2.5-point dogs against Texas and won by three. They were 21.5-point dogs to Oklahoma and lost by a point. They were six-point dogs against West Virginia and won by four. Now they’re nine-point dogs against a Missouri team that has one very good win against Florida, and seven other wins that are just kind of meh. I don’t know if the Cowboys win another one outright, but I do think this spread is overstated a bit. Missouri 42, Oklahoma State 38

Turkeys of the Week

Military Bowl — Virginia Tech (+6) vs. Cincinnati: I won’t lie and say that a significant reason behind this pick hasn’t been the AAC’s performance in bowl games. So far this season, AAC teams are 1-4 straight up and 1-4 ATS in bowls. This isn’t a recent phenomenon, either. Since the AAC came to existence in 2013, the conference has gone 15-22 ATS in bowl games, with a mark of 7-12 ATS when the AAC team is favored. Cincinnati itself is 0-3 ATS as an AAC team. The Bearcats have had a good season, but it has played two teams ranked in the top 40 of S&P+ rankings, and it lost both of those games. Virginia Tech is not a top-40 team, but it enters this game having won two straight against top 50 teams, and even if I don’t know that the Hokies win outright, I have to think they cover this spread. Virginia Tech 27, Cincinnati 23

Last Week Season

Game(s) of the Week

1-1

18-19-2

Lock of the Week

1-0

8-9

Overall

5-1

51-47-2

32 things we learned heading into the 2018 NFL playoffs

The 32 things we learned heading into the 2018 NFL playoffs:

1. The 2009 Saints are the only Super Bowl-winning team in New Orleans history. They were the NFC’s No. 1 seed that year, and their only losses were to Dallas, Tampa Bay and Carolina.

1a. The 2018 Saints are the NFC’s No. 1 seed … and their only losses have been to Dallas, Tampa Bay and Carolina. Discount New Orleans Voodoo at your peril …

2. Since Drew Brees and Sean Payton came to New Orleans in 2006, the Saints are 5-0 in playoff games at the Superdome.

3. Saints TE Ben Watson announced he will retire at the end of the season. The 15-year vet broke in as a first-round pick of the Patriots in 2004 and won a Lombardi Trophy. He’s been waiting a long time for his second ring but could go out in style.

4. New Orleans backup QB Teddy Bridgewater, who sustained a horrific knee injury days before the 2016 regular season dawned in Minnesota, made his first start Sunday in a meaningful game since the Vikings lost to Seattle in the wild-card round on Jan. 10, 2016. Bridgewater threw his first TD pass since Dec. 27, 2015, but it’s hard to tell if he’s primed for a Foles-esque run if Brees goes down given the Saints weren’t playing with a full arsenal in their loss to the Panthers.

More: Seahawks at Cowboys preview: Can Dak Prescott deliver in playoffs?

More: Eagles at Bears wild-card preview: Another magical run in order for Nick Foles?

5. The AFC’s top-ranked team is Kansas City. But is that a good thing? The Chiefs have lost six consecutive postseason games at Arrowhead Stadium dating to the 1995 playoffs. 

5a. The last quarterback to win a playoff game for K.C. in K.C.? Joe Montana on Jan. 8, 1994.

5b. But the first Chiefs quarterback (and third ever, joining Peyton Manning and Tom Brady) to throw 50 TD passes in a season is MVP front runner Patrick Mahomes. Without Kareem Hunt, Kansas City will likely need all of Mahomes’ magic moving forward. And the team has done a fairly nice job adapting to life without Hunt, who was dismissed Dec. 1. Despite his absence, Kansas City is the first since at least 1940 to score at least 24 points in 21 consecutive games. Good luck slowing down this onslaught.

6. FWIW, the last five Super Bowl champions have been No. 1 seeds. The most recent team to win it all without enjoying home-field advantage? The 2012 Ravens, a No. 4 seed, knocked off Colin Kaepernick and the second-seeded 49ers in Super Bowl XLVII.

7. FWIW, NFC teams are 2-0 (1993 Cowboys, 1999 Rams) in Super Bowls staged in Atlanta, site of Super Bowl LIII. But both Super Bowl XXVIII and XXXIV were played in the Georgia Dome, while this season’s game will occur at resplendent Mercedes-Benz Stadium.

8. As much as this may have felt like a “down” season in New England, the juggernaut is alive and well — extending league records with a 12th consecutive season of at least 400 points scored, 10th straight with a division title and ninth in a row securing a first-round bye.

9. Though the Patriots’ 11 wins are their fewest since 2009, are you betting against their seemingly annual trip to the AFC title game? The last time New England slipped in the divisional round was when they were upset by Mark Sanchez and the Jets in 2010.

10. And maybe 41-year-old Tom Brady is rounding into peak form at just the right time. He’s been battling a knee issue lately but threw a season-high four TD passes Sunday — to four different receivers. With WR Josh Gordon suspended and TE Rob Gronkowski clearly not his dominant self, the Pats will have to rely on their depth moving forward … and, almost certainly, more Herculean efforts from TB12.

11. As if the Nick Foles vs. Carson Wentz debate wasn’t already hitting a new gear for the resurrected Eagles, now both quarterback are hurt. Figure on Foles (and his battered ribs) again being at the helm for the playoffs as Wentz’s back continues to heal.

11a. But shoutout to another “Nate the Great.” Third-string Philadelphia QB Nate Sudfeld tossed his first NFL TD pass Sunday and posted a perfect 158.3 passer rating in relief of Foles. (Sure, Sudfeld threw just one pass, but the facts are the facts.)

12. If you thought the Eagles’ last playoff visit to Chicago was the controversial “Fog Bowl” in 1988, then you clearly forgot about the time Donovan McNabb accounted for three TDs — he, um, “outdueled” the Bears combo of Shane Matthews and Jim Miller — in a 33-19 win in the 2001 divisional round.

13. Foles and Co. better be prepared to come back against an elite 2018 Bears defense, the first in a dozen years with at least 50 sacks and 25 interceptions and the only one in the league staked to a second-half lead in every game this season.

14. And don’t dismiss Chicago’s offense. Jordan Howard and Tarik Cohen are the first pair of Bears backs with 1,000 yards from scrimmage in 28 years. Mitch Trubisky’s 66.6 completion rate is the best ever for a quarterback to make more than five starts in a season for the Monsters.

15. Still, will the Bears rue not “resting” against a Minnesota team they swept with the plucky Eagles now headed to the Windy City?

16. Dallas QB Dak Prescott heads into January on fire on the heels of his first NFL game with four touchdown passes. (Prescott became the first player in league history to throw for at least 20 TDs and rush for at least five in each of his first three seasons).

17. Prescott and RB Ezekiel Elliott will be seeking their first postseason victory next week. Remember, both players performed exceedingly well as rookies in their maiden playoff voyage in 2016, Prescott passing for 302 yards and three TDs while Elliott ran for 125 yards. 

17a. And, fortunately for them, this Dallas defense won’t have to defend Aaron Rodgers and Jared Cook with the game on the line.

18. Did the Cowboys discover a new weapon? Second-year TE Blake Jarwin had three TD receptions Sunday, giving him more career three-TD games (1) than Jason Witten had in 15 seasons.

19. After wrapping up his fourth season with at least 16 sacks, Houston’s J.J. Watt is now averaging 0.88 per game in the regular season during his eight-year career.

19a. In postseason, Watt has five sacks in five games and has only been shut out once. Beware, Andrew Luck.

More: Colts at Texans preview: Who wins third matchup between AFC South foes?

More: Chargers at Ravens playoff preview: Can Lamar Jackson deliver another win?

20. Texans QB Deshaun Watson was sacked a league-worst 62 times this season, the most in the NFL since Detroit’s Jon Kitna was bagged 63 times in 2006. Darius Leonard and the Colts roped Watson five times when they ended Houston’s nine-game winning streak Dec. 9.

21. Houston joined the 1992 San Diego Chargers as the only teams in the Super Bowl era to win their division after an 0-3 start to the season. Those Bolts won on wild-card weekend before bowing out in the divisional round.

22. The Colts, meanwhile, join the 1970 Bengals and 2015 Chiefs as teams that reached the playoffs despite a 1-5 start. Neither of those clubs reached the AFC Championship Game.

23. The Seahawks, who finished 10-6, rushed for 138 yards combined in their first two games, both defeats. They’ve ground out at least 154 yards on the ground in all but two games since, including 182 in Sunday’s win. 

24. Russell Wilson threw for his 35th TD on Sunday, a new career high. He had 34 TD passes in 2015 and 2017.

25. The Seahawks are 2-4 in road playoff games under Pete Carroll but are 6-0 at home over the same period. The only way they’ll play another game at CenturyLink Field this season would be if they were to host the Eagles in the NFC Championship Game.

26. Aaron Donald’s 20½ sacks tied for seventh-best in a single NFL season, but he’s the first defensive tackle to notch at least 20.

27. The Rams certainly welcome a week off, but lack of a depth no longer appears to be such a pressing issue. RB C.J. Anderson rushed for 299 yards in two games while Todd Gurley rested his knee. Gurley averaged 89.4 rushing yards per game this season, about 60 fewer per game than Anderson has as a Ram.

27a. The Rams averaged 212 yards rushing in two games without Gurley, albeit against the lowly Cardinals and 49ers. They averaged 129.1 in 14 games with their star back.

27b. Josh Reynolds, who replaced injured Cooper Kupp as L.A.’s No. 3 receiver, finished the season with five TD catches. Kupp had six in half a season.

27c. However Rams LT Andrew Whitworth, who just turned 37, can definitely use the additional time for rest and recovery after leaving Sunday’s game with a knee injury that isn’t believed to be serious.

28. The Chargers have dropped four of their past six playoff games at home — all in San Diego, of course — with both wins coming against AFC South teams. So maybe it’s just as well they’re going on road for the wild-card round, especially since StubHub Center, er Dignity Health Sports Park, provides virtually no competitive advantage and is typically overrun by opposing fans.

29. The Bolts should be more worried about QB Philip Rivers, who’s thrown two picks in each of the past three games, including a Week 16 loss against his next opponent, the Ravens.

30. Nobody wants to see Baltimore. Rookie Lamar Jackson has averaged 79.4 rushing yards in his seven starts (six of them wins), a record for quarterbacks since the 1970 merger. As a team, the Ravens have averaged a gaudy 229.6 rushing yards since Jackson joined the lineup Nov. 18. 

30a. Combine a new-look Baltimore backfield — it also includes recently integrated RBs Gus Edwards, Kenneth Dixon and Ty Montgomery — a defense ranked No. 1 most of the season, and the game’s best kicker (Justin Tucker), and you could have a championship formula.

30b. And Ravens players could be in an even better mood with Eric Weddle vowing to share his $1 million bonus (for making the Pro Bowl and the playoffs) with his teammates. “I’ve been thinking about it all week that if it happened, I’m going to do something nice for all my teammates and my coaches because I’m nothing without my team,” said Baltimore’s star safety after Sunday’s win.

31. Chin up, @BortlesFacts — after a virtually flawless 2017 postseason run, BB5 is guaranteed to make even fewer mistakes this January.

32. Dearest mother — @CaptAndrewLuck and the Colts added their most distinguished battle streamer yet. But the Men will get nary a respite, marching as they must for the Third Battle of Texan Run on Saturday. Morale is high. Onward.

***

Follow Nate Davis on Twitter @ByNateDavis

MLB Rumors: Carson Smith, Red Sox Agree To Minor League Deal


Apr 5, 2018; Boston, MA, USA; Boston Red Sox relief pitcher Carson Smith (39) throws a pitch against the Tampa Bay Rays in the eighth inning of the home opener at Fenway Park. Mandatory Credit: David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports
© Provided by New England Sports Network L.P. Carson Smith

Carson Smith reportedly will be back with the Boston Red Sox after briefly testing the free-agent market.The relief pitcher, who appeared in just 18 games last season, posted a 3.77 ERA with 18 strikeouts through 14 1/3 innings before having his season cut short due to a shoulder injury.Smith suffered the injury in May when he slammed his glove in the Red Sox’s dugout after he surrendered what would be the game-winning run in the loss to the Oakland Athletics. He underwent surgery, but not before he came out and said Boston had overworked him.The 29-year-old elected to become a free agent in November after being outrighted off the big league roster, but it looks as though the two sides think a reunion could be mutually beneficial.

Smith was traded to Boston from the Seattle Mariners prior to the 2016 season for Wade Miley. The 18 games he pitched in this season were the most since coming over from Seattle.

2018 NFL Week 17 live – playoff scenarios, schedule, scores, wild-card races, draft order

Week 17 was an exciting finale to the regular season, setting the stage for January (and February) football — and April’s draft. For a deeper look at the 12 playoff teams as we emerge from the Week 17 and look ahead to wild-card weekend, click here.

Here’s a tick-tock of everything important as it happens on Sunday. Follow along live with us as we keep you up to date and roll toward the 2018 NFL playoffs.

Go to: Playoff primer | Scoreboard | Standings | Draft order


12 a.m. ET

Draft positions for the NFL’s 12 playoff teams will be determined by playoff performance.

ESPN’s Football Power Index is projecting the following positions based on its overall expectations for the playoffs:

Eagles: 22.6
Colts: 23.8
Seahawks: 24.3
Cowboys: 24.5
Ravens: 25.2
Texans: 25.6
Chargers: 26.3
Bears: 26.5
Patriots: 29.0
Chiefs: 29.8
Rams: 29.9
Saints: 30.4


11:50 p.m. ET

Here are the early FPI projections to win Super Bowl LIII. If you subscribe to the theory that the hottest teams should be big favorite, you might object to the relatively low probabilities assigned to the Indianapolis Colts and Baltimore Ravens.

The numbers are percentage chance:

Saints: 30.5
Chiefs: 24.0
Rams: 16.8
Patriots: 12.8
Chargers: 4.2
Bears: 2.5
Ravens: 2.0
Texans: 2.0
Seahawks: 1.9
Colts: 1.8
Cowboys: 1.2
Eagles: 0.5


11:30 p.m. ET

After 256 games over 17 weeks, the NFL has narrowed its playoff field to 12 teams.

The Colts‘ 33-17 victory over the Tennessee Titans completed a comeback from a 1-5 start to the season and lifted Indianapolis into the No. 6 seed of the AFC playoff bracket. The Titans were eliminated, as were the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Below is the final 2018 playoff picture:


10:55 p.m. ET

Just when it appeared the Tennessee Titans were going to make it a game, they got the full Blaine Gabbert treatment: A brutal interception, with the Colts leading 24-17, raised the Colts’ win probability from 81.1 percent to 92.7 percent.

Following the pick, Adam Vinatieri then hit a 25-yard field goal to move the Colts ahead 27-17 and make it a two-score game with four minutes remaining.


10:45 p.m. ET

OK, so it appears 2018 will offer us one final drip of drama in the NFL regular season. The Indianapolis Colts and Tennessee Titans are headed into the fourth quarter of a one-score game, with the winner to receive the final AFC playoff spot.

And with the Colts holding a 24-17 lead, overtime and an eventual a tie remains in easy mathematical play. And a tie, as you know if you’ve been following along today, means that neither the Colts nor the Titans would make the playoffs. Instead, the Pittsburgh Steelers would elevate into the No. 6 seed.


9:55 p.m. ET

With one half remaining in the 2018 regular season, the Indianapolis Colts hold a 17-7 lead over the Tennessee Titans.

If the Titans’ deficit holds, the Colts will clinch the No. 6 seed in the AFC playoff race. ESPN’s Football Power Index (FPI) gives that a 79 percent chance of happening.

Should the teams tie, the Pittsburgh Steelers will leapfrog into the No. 6 spot. Stay tuned!


9:35 p.m. ET

Even if you (or I) have forgotten, the Pittsburgh Steelers haven’t. A tie, as unlikely as it might be, in Sunday night’s game between the Indianapolis Colts and Tennessee Titans would elevate the Steelers into the AFC playoffs as the No. 6 seed. Otherwise, the No. 6 seed will be the winner of Colts-Titans.


9:20 p.m. ET

Are you ready for some wild-card football? Here is the NFL’s schedule for the first weekend of the playoffs:

SATURDAY
Indianapolis Colts OR Tennessee Titans at Houston Texans (4:35 p.m. ET, ESPN/ABC)
Seattle Seahawks at Dallas Cowboys (8:15 p.m. ET, Fox)

SUNDAY
Los Angeles Chargers at Baltimore Ravens (1:05 p.m. ET, CBS)
Philadelphia Eagles at Chicago Bears (4:40 p.m. ET, NBC)

One early take: West Coast teams don’t like playing early games on the East Coast. The Chargers will kick off at 10:05 a.m. local time. It’s an adjustment.


8:48 p.m. ET

The NFL has doubled its head-coach openings Sunday. The latest: The New York Jets have announced they will part ways with coach Todd Bowles.

Bowles joins the Tampa Bay Buccaneers‘ Dirk Koetter as coaches who learned their fate Sunday. The other openings are with the Cleveland Browns and Green Bay Packers.

Interim coaches Gregg Williams (Browns) and Joe Philbin (Packers) will get consideration as replacements, but both teams will conduct multiple outside interviews. The Packers already have spoken to former NFL head coaches Jim Caldwell and Chuck Pagano and are expected to request permission to interview Northwestern coach Pat Fitzgerald, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter.

One other coach whose future is very much in doubt: the Arizona Cardinals‘ Steve Wilks. Other coaches whose job status is less than certain include: the Cincinnati Bengals‘ Marvin Lewis, the Denver Broncos‘ Vance Joseph, the Miami Dolphins‘ Adam Gase and the Washington Redskins‘ Jay Gruden.

Where will the replacements come from? Here is an extensive list of possibilities ESPN.com compiled last month, headed by New England Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels. Yes, multiple NFL teams would jump at the chance to hire him even after he reneged on an agreement last winter to join the Indianapolis Colts.


8:20 p.m. ET

OK. One more game remains in the 2018 regular season. Let’s reset the stakes.

The Indianapolis Colts are playing at the Tennessee Titans. The winner will be the AFC No. 6 seed. The loser’s season will be over. If the teams tie, the Pittsburgh Steelers will be the No. 6 seed. Enjoy the night!


8:15 p.m. ET

When December began, it was pretty clear that one of the NFL’s two Pennsylvania-based teams would make the playoffs. It appeared certain that the other would not. As it turns out, the reverse happened.

The Philadelphia Eagles clinched the NFC’s No. 6 seed on the final day of the season. The Pittsburgh Steelers, meanwhile, will likely miss the postseason altogether (assuming Sunday Night Football does not end in a tie).

When the month began, the Steelers were 7-3-1 and had a 96 percent chance to make the playoffs, according to ESPN’s Football Power Index. The Eagles were 5-6 and had a 16 percent chance.

But we all know what happened thereafter. The Steelers lost four of their final six games to finish 9-6-1, a half-game behind the Baltimore Ravens in the AFC North. The Eagles finished 5-1 to give them a postseason opportunity to defend their Lombardi trophy.


7:50 p.m. ET

The top 18 picks for the 2019 draft are now written in ink.

1. Cardinals
2. 49ers
3. Jets
4. Raiders
5. Buccaneers
6. Giants
7. Jaguars
8. Lions
9. Bills
10. Broncos
11. Bengals
12. Packers
13. Dolphins
14. Falcons
15. Redskins
16. Panthers
17. Browns
18. Vikings

Additionally, the Steelers will pick at No. 20, while the loser of Sunday night’s Colts-Titans game will pick at No. 19 (assuming there is no tie, again). The final 12 spots will of course be determined via the playoffs.


7:43 p.m. ET

Here’s a look at the playoff picture following the 4:25 p.m. ET games:


7:38 p.m. ET

For the second consecutive season, the AFC playoff picture came down to the fourth quarter of a game involving the Baltimore Ravens.

This time, however, the Ravens avoided heartbreak.

In holding off the Cleveland Browns, the Ravens clinched the AFC North and will be the AFC’s No. 4 seed. Had they lost, the Pittsburgh Steelers would have leapfrogged them for the division title and the Ravens would have missed the playoffs.

Thank you to the Ravens for the heart-stopping drama once again. Pardon me while I catch my breath …


7:33 p.m. ET

And now the Steelers wait …


7:28 p.m. ET

The Arizona Cardinals tried as hard as they could to botch the No. 1 overall pick of the 2019 draft. But they clinched it nonetheless Sunday evening after the Seattle Seahawks beat them 27-24 on a field goal on the game’s final play.

The Cardinals already have their quarterback of the future on the roster in Josh Rosen, so their position atop the draft will launch immediate trade speculation.

Ohio State’s Nick Bosa is the top-rated prospect per both Mel Kiper Jr. and Todd McShay at present.


7:23 p.m. ET

And on the final day of the season, the defending Super Bowl champion has clinched a playoff spot.

A 24-0 romp over the Washington Redskins, combined with the Minnesota Vikings’ surprisingly flat 24-10 loss to the Chicago Bears, put the Philadelphia Eagles into the NFC’s No. 6 slot. Entering December, the Eagles had a 16 percent chance according to FPI.

They’ll play in a wild-card game next weekend against the Bears at Soldier Field.


7:20 p.m. ET

The Steelers’ Matt McCrane hit a go-ahead field goal with under two minutes left, but will it matter?

Also, for concerned Eagles fans:

And for those keeping tabs on coaching moves:


7:05 p.m. ET

The road to the Super Bowl in the AFC will go through Kansas City.

The Chiefs’ 35-3 victory over the Oakland Raiders clinched the No. 1 overall seed. The New England Patriots will be the No. 2 seed, the Houston Texans will be No. 3 and the Baltimore Ravens — assuming they hold on to a nine-point lead against the Cleveland Browns — will be No. 4. That would all but eliminate the Pittsburgh Steelers and means the winner of Sunday night’s Indianapolis ColtsTennessee Titans game will be the No. 6 seed. The Los Angeles Chargers, who locked up a playoff berth a few weeks ago, will be the fifth seed.


6:50 p.m. ET

As they enter the fourth quarter at U.S. Bank Stadium, it appears the Minnesota Vikings are going to have to come from behind and defeat the Chicago Bears in order to make the playoffs. The only other way they can get in is if the Philadelphia Eagles lose, and they … aren’t likely to do that. They have a 24-0 lead over the Washington Redskins in the fourth quarter.

One development worth noting, however: Eagles quarterback Nick Foles has left the game.


6:20 p.m. ET

Let’s stop for a moment and record for posterity the amazing accomplishment we just witnessed from Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Nick Foles.

With his team in a do-or-die situation in Week 17, Foles tied an NFL record (Philip Rivers and Ryan Tannehill) by completing 25 consecutive passes against the Washington Redskins. In large part thanks to Foles, the Eagles have built a big lead and are in position to leapfrog the Minnesota Vikings and make the playoffs as the No. 6 seed in the NFC.

Let’s also remember that Foles also owns the record for most touchdown passes in a game. He threw seven against the Oakland Raiders in 2013.


6:05 p.m. ET

The NFL playoff picture is getting clearer as we hit halftime of the 4:25 p.m. ET games. Here is what the bracket would look like if current scores hold:

Of note:

In draft news, the race for the No. 1 pick is alive! The Arizona Cardinals currently trail the Seattle Seahawks by only one point.


5:40 p.m. ET

The Jacksonville Jaguars confirmed Sunday that general manager David Caldwell and coach Doug Marrone would return in 2019. But executive vice president Tom Coughlin sent an ominous message to his roster in a statement released after the game.

Of running backs Leonard Fournette and T.J. Yeldon, Coughlin said: “They were disrespectful, selfish and their behavior was unbecoming that of a professional football player.” Fournette and Yeldon sat at the end of the bench during the Jaguars’ 20-3 loss to the Houston Texans.

Could Coughlin plan a player overhaul after the 5-11 season? He isn’t changing the front office or coaching leadership. The only thing left to shake up is the roster.

play

0:29

Doug Marrone addresses Jaguars VP Tom Coughlin’s criticism of benched RBs T.J. Yeldon and Leonard Fournette.


5:10 p.m. ET

The Pittsburgh Steelers are struggling early with the Cincinnati Bengals, but at the moment, the outcome of their game isn’t looking too relevant.

The Baltimore Ravens have taken a 17-7 lead over the Cleveland Browns. Lamar Jackson has two rushing touchdowns, including this 25-yard sprint as shown by NFL Next Gen Stats animation:

If the Ravens win, they’ll clinch the AFC North and all but eliminate the Steelers from the playoffs. If it plays out that way, the only way the Steelers can advance is if they beat the Bengals and Sunday night’s game between the Indianapolis Colts and Tennessee Titans ends in a tie.


4:50 p.m. ET

It will be interesting to see whether Chicago Bears coach Matt Nagy responds to the early lead the Los Angeles Rams have over the San Francisco 49ers.

The Bears are guaranteed the No. 3 seed in the NFC unless the 49ers beat the Rams. If that happens, the Bears could move up to No. 2 if they in turn defeat the Minnesota Vikings.

But if the Rams maintain a big lead, would Nagy keep pushing to win in Minnesota? Or would he rest some starters and try to avoid showing the Vikings anything they might use in a potential wild-card weekend rematch?


4:40 p.m. ET

The projected draft order via the FPI following the early games:


4:25 p.m. ET

Here’s an updated look at the afternoon slate:

  • Cleveland Browns at Baltimore Ravens: The Ravens can clinch the AFC North title with a win or a Steelers loss.

  • Philadelphia Eagles at Washington Redskins: The Eagles need a victory and a Vikings loss to clinch a playoff spot.

  • Oakland Raiders at Kansas City Chiefs: A victory will give Kansas City the AFC West title and home-field advantage throughout the playoffs. The Raiders are in the hunt for the top pick in the draft, and it would be the first of three selections for them in the first round in April.

  • Chicago Bears at Minnesota Vikings: The Vikings need a win or an Eagles loss (or tie) to clinch a playoff berth. With a win, they would be the No. 5 seed if the Seahawks lose and the No. 6 seed if the Seahawks win. The Bears, who have already clinched the NFC North, have incentive as well. They can clinch a first-round bye with a victory and a Rams loss.

  • Cincinnati Bengals at Pittsburgh Steelers: The Steelers win the AFC North title with a victory and a Ravens loss. If the Ravens win, the only way the Steelers can make the playoffs is if they win and the Colts and Titans tie.

  • Los Angeles Chargers at Denver Broncos: The Chargers can leap to the top of the AFC playoff race with a win and a Chiefs loss. That would give them the AFC West title and home-field advantage throughout the playoffs. Otherwise, they will be the No. 5 seed.

  • San Francisco 49ers at Los Angeles Rams: The Rams will clinch a first-round bye with a win or a Bears loss.

  • Arizona Cardinals at Seattle Seahawks: The Seahawks have clinched a playoff berth. They’ll be the No. 5 seed if they win, and the No. 6 seed if they lose and the Vikings win. The Cardinals can clinch the No. 1 overall pick in the draft with a loss.

The updated playoff picture following the 1 p.m. ET games has not changed:


4:00 p.m. ET

So what can we take away from the early slate?

play

1:03

Deshaun Watson says the Texans never gave up hope to win the divisional title after they started the season 0-3.


3:25 p.m. ET

All eyes in New Orleans were trained on Teddy Bridgewater, who made his first start since the 2015 playoffs, but another quarterback has stolen the show at the Superdome.

Panthers backup Kyle Allen, starting for the injured Cam Newton and Taylor Heinicke, has run for one touchdown and thrown for two more as the Panthers have taken a 30-0 lead over the Saints.

NFL teams don’t make personnel decisions based on meaningless Week 17 games. Bridgewater will still get interest this offseason. But Allen, an undrafted rookie from Houston, certainly drew some positive attention with throws like this one:


3:15 p.m. ET

As we look ahead to the late afternoon games, there are a couple of important personnel decisions to be aware of.

The Pittsburgh Steelers won’t have receiver Antonio Brown (knee) as they begin an uphill battle to get back into the playoff picture. They will, however, have tailback James Connor (ankle).

Meanwhile, the Minnesota Vikings will be without cornerback Xavier Rhodes (groin) as they try to defeat the Chicago Bears and clinch a playoff spot. The Bears have some injury deactivations as well, including receiver Allen Robinson (ribs), safety Eddie Jackson (ankle) and linebacker Aaron Lynch (elbow) — but they appear set to play the rest of their starters in this game.


3:05 p.m. ET

The NFL is a copycat league, and it appears that a few teams that stole the “Philly Special” from the Eagles don’t want to take their own versions into the offseason with them.

Here is the Falcons’ version, which ended in an 5-yard scoring pass from Mohamed Sanu to Matt Ryan:

And here is what the Dolphins put together, ending in a 3-yard touchdown from Kenny Stills to Ryan Tannehill:


2:35 p.m. ET

The Houston Texans have a comfortable 17-3 halftime lead over the Jacksonville Jaguars. If that holds, the Texans will win the AFC South title.

Unless the Patriots collapse and lose to the Jets, the Texans would have to wait until this evening to learn their playoff seeding.

Other than a Patriots loss, here is how the Texans could clinch a first-round bye: Texans win, losses by the Chiefs and Chargers and Texans clinch a tie in strength of victory tiebreaker over the Chiefs. The Texans can’t clinch the No. 1 seed unless the Patriots lose.

Meanwhile, as the early games go to the half, there is some movement in the FPI’s projected draft order:


2:15 p.m. ET

A snooze-fest at Lambeau Field turned both serious and entertaining during the second quarter.

On the serious side: Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers went to the locker room to be examined for a possible concussion. The decision to play Rodgers in a meaningless game behind a number of backup offensive linemen should be scrutinized.

On the entertaining side: Detroit Lions kicker Matt Prater threw a touchdown pass and kicked an extra point on consecutive plays as the Lions took a 14-0 lead. The Lions snuck tight end Levine Toilolo wide left, and the Packers never saw him as they prepared to defend a 26-yard field goal.

Instead, Prater threw this 8-yard touchdown pass:


1:45 p.m. ET

The New England Patriots have taken a 21-3 lead over the New York Jets at Gillette Stadium. A Patriots win would clinch at least the No. 2 seed in the AFC, which would give them a first-round playoff bye.

To get the No. 1 seed, and thus AFC home-field advantage throughout the playoffs, the Patriots need a win along with losses by both the Kansas City Chiefs and the Los Angeles Chargers. Both teams will kick off later this afternoon; the Chiefs host the Oakland Raiders and the Chargers visit the Denver Broncos.


1:30 p.m. ET

Week 17 brings us playoff intensity in some stadiums and preseason lethargy in others. And in a few, we see the personification of worst nightmares and greatest dreams.

The good news for New York Giants fans is that rookie quarterback Kyle Lauletta got on the field.

The bad news is that he was lined up at receiver.

Meanwhile, starting quarterback Eli Manning has thrown two horrendous interceptions, including the one below:


12:30 p.m. ET

This graphic won’t be complete until about 11 p.m. ET. But today’s chaos is all based on this structure. Let’s have some fun!

Entering today, the most likely Super Bowl scenario is Saints-Chiefs:

Entering today’s action, FPI believes there is a 25% chance the Saints and Chiefs will meet in the Super Bowl, by far the most likely Super Bowl matchup. Next-most likely is Saints-Patriots at 14%.

Seth Walder, ESPN Analytics19h ago


11:45 a.m. ET

Some teams will treat today like a playoff game. Others … will not. Check out some of the big names who are inactive today, in some cases because their teams are out of the playoffs and in others because they are already in.


11:35 a.m. ET


10:45 a.m. ET

While most of our attention today will be on the playoff ramifications of each game, it’s worth remembering that the NFL coaching carousel will begin in earnest as early as tonight and certainly by tomorrow. A handful of head coaches could be working their final games with their current franchises. A quick refresher on where it all stands:

  • Two teams have confirmed openings via in-season firings: the Cleveland Browns and Green Bay Packers. Interim coaches Gregg Williams (Browns) and Joe Philbin (Packers) will get consideration as replacements, but both teams will conduct multiple outside interviews. The Packers already have spoken to former NFL head coaches Jim Caldwell and Chuck Pagano and are expected to request an interview with Northwestern’s Pat Fitzgerald.

  • The future of New York Jets coach Todd Bowles is very much in doubt, according to ESPN’s Chris Mortensen. So is that of the Arizona Cardinals‘ Steve Wilks and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers‘ Dirk Koetter.

  • Other coaches to keep an eye on include: the Cincinnati Bengals‘ Marvin Lewis, the Denver Broncos‘ Vance Joseph, the Miami Dolphins‘ Adam Gase and the Washington Redskins‘ Jay Gruden.

  • According to Schefter, at least one team is planning to contact the Baltimore Ravens about coach John Harbaugh, to determine if Harbaugh could be available via trade. The Ravens said last week that they were entering negotiations with Harbaugh on a contract extension.

Where will the replacements come from? Here is an extensive list of possibilities ESPN compiled last month, headed by New England Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels. Yes, multiple NFL teams would jump at the chance to hire him even after he reneged on an agreement last winter to join the Indianapolis Colts.


10 a.m. ET

Rise and shine — it’s Week 17! We explained the full playoff scenarios in this post, but with three hours until the first games of the regular season’s final week kickoff, here’s a quick rundown of today’s important games. Make sure you settle in. Most of the games with playoff impact will be played late this afternoon or tonight.

Early window (1 p.m. ET):

  • Dallas Cowboys at New York Giants: The Cowboys have the NFC East locked up, but the Giants will jockey for draft position in a class light on QBs.

  • Miami Dolphins at Buffalo Bills: Both teams are looking ahead to the draft, and the Dolphins are perhaps taking one last look at Ryan Tannehill before evaluating their quarterback situation in the offseason.

  • Detroit Lions at Green Bay Packers: The Bears are in and the Vikings have a chance to be, but these two NFC North teams will be on the outside looking in over the next month. The Packers have a pair of first-round picks to look forward to in April.

  • Jacksonville Jaguars at Houston Texans: The Texans can clinch the AFC South with a win, or a tie between the Colts and Titans. They would secure a first-round bye with a win and a Patriots loss; or a win combined with losses by the Chiefs and Chargers and a tie in the strength-of-victory tiebreaker over the Chiefs. They also have an outside chance at AFC home-field advantage — they would need a win and losses by the Patriots, Chiefs and Chargers. On the other sideline, the Jags still have a chance to better their draft position as they look for the answer at quarterback.

  • New York Jets at New England Patriots: The Patriots still have a chance at the AFC’s No. 1 overall seed. They would need to win and for the Chiefs and Chargers to lose. Otherwise, they can clinch a first-round bye with a victory or losses by the Ravens, Texans and Titans.

  • Carolina Panthers at New Orleans Saints: The Saints will showcase Teddy Bridgewater, as they already have home-field advantage for the playoffs. The Panthers, meanwhile, are down to their third-string QB.

  • Atlanta Falcons at Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Neither team will see postseason action, but it will be an evaluation day for Jameis Winston. Will the Bucs commit to the FSU product long term?

Late window (4:25 p.m. ET):

  • Cleveland Browns at Baltimore Ravens: The Ravens can clinch the AFC North title with a win or a Steelers loss. In that scenario, there is an outside chance they could clinch a first-round bye. To do it, they would need a win, losses by the Patriots and Texans, and then either one of two results: a Colts-Titans outcome that doesn’t end in a tie, or the Ravens clinching a tie in the strength-of-victory tiebreaker over the Texans.

  • Philadelphia Eagles at Washington Redskins: The Eagles need a victory and a Vikings loss to clinch a playoff spot.

  • Oakland Raiders at Kansas City Chiefs: A victory will give Kansas City the AFC West title and home-field advantage throughout the playoffs. If the Chiefs lose, they would need losses from the Chargers, Patriots and Texans to remain the No. 1 seed, and losses by the Chargers and either the Patriots or Texans would secure the No. 2 seed for the Chiefs. The Raiders are in the hunt for the top pick in the draft, and it would be the first of three selections for them in the first round in April.

  • Chicago Bears at Minnesota Vikings: The Vikings need a win or an Eagles loss (or tie) to clinch a playoff berth. With a win, they would be the No. 5 seed if the Seahawks lose and the No. 6 seed if the Seahawks win. The Bears, who have already clinched the NFC North, have incentive as well. They can clinch a first-round bye with a victory and a Rams loss.

  • Cincinnati Bengals at Pittsburgh Steelers: The Steelers win the AFC North title with a victory and a Ravens loss. If the Ravens win, the only way the Steelers can make the playoffs is if they win and the Colts and Titans tie.

  • Los Angeles Chargers at Denver Broncos: The Chargers can leap to the top of the AFC playoff race with a win and a Chiefs loss. That would give them the AFC West title and home-field advantage throughout the playoffs. Otherwise, they will be the No. 5 seed.

  • San Francisco 49ers at Los Angeles Rams: The Rams will clinch a first-round bye with a win or a Bears loss.

  • Arizona Cardinals at Seattle Seahawks: The Seahawks have clinched a playoff berth. They’ll be the No. 5 seed if they win, and the No. 6 seed if they lose and the Vikings win. The Cardinals can clinch the No. 1 overall pick in the draft with a loss.

‘Sunday Night Football’ (8:20 p.m. ET):

NFL games today, Week 17 scores, highlights, updates, schedule: Mosley’s interception seals division title for Ravens

NFL Week 17 is here. To keep tabs on some of the choicest highlights and other big news throughout Sunday, keep it locked here for updates. 

Schedule, scores

Sunday 

(Stream all of Sunday’s games on fuboTV, try it for free, and stream the CBS games on CBS All Access.)  

Ravens clinch division with win

One year after having their hearts stomped on by the Cincinnati Bengals in Week 17, the Ravens found a better fate on Sunday. Baltimore managed to clinch the AFC North (and a playoff spot) with a win over the Browns, but it came down to the wire. It was a dramatic game-sealing interception by C.J. Mosley that got the job done.

Baker hits a rookie milestone

Peyton Manning. Russell Wilson. Baker Mayfield.

Those are the three guys who have now thrown for 26 touchdown passes in their rookie season. The Browns quarterback reached the mark on Sunday with this touchdown toss to Jarvis Landry.

Then, Baker took the record all for his own with his 27th touchdown pass, caught by Antonio Callaway. Not bad for a guy who spent the first few games of the season on the bench.

Mahomes gets No. 50

Patrick Mahomes hit the 50-touchdown mark on Sunday, putting an incredible exclamation point on what’s been an MVP-worthy season from the Chiefs’ quarterback in his first year as starter. Mahomes’ 50th TD went for 89 yards, because what else did you expect? He now joins Peyton Manning and Tom Brady as the only quarterbacks to hit the single-season mark.

Alshon fights for it

Alshon Jeffery showed great hands, will and strength to come away with this touchdown catch despite great coverage by Josh Norman. 

Flashy Fitz

Larry Fitzgerald is closing out yet another season in Arizona, and he’s doing so in pretty fine fashion. This one-handed catch was pretty smooth.

Lamar Jackson running wild on Browns

The Ravens need a win against the Browns to secure their playoff spot and Lamar Jackson is doing all he can to make sure they get it. The Baltimore quarterback is doing some serious damage on the ground in the first half, running for two early touchdowns against Cleveland.

Mahomes gunning for 50

Patrick Mahomes picked up his 49th touchdown pass of the year early in Sunday’s matchup against the Raiders. Mahomes found Ty Hill for a 67-yard touchdown in the first quarter. 

Clutch Cole

Cole Beasley came up with a massive fourth-down catch for the Cowboys at the end of their contest against the Giants. The grab, which was originally ruled incomplete before being overturned, helped Dallas beat New York for a big win to close out the season. 

Cody Latimer going OFF

The Giants’ Cody Latimer submitted a late candidate for best catch of the year with this touchdown grab in Jersey on Sunday. A one-handed beauty worth appreciating.

But he wasn’t done there. Latimer made ANOTHER insane one-handed grab later in the game, and this one may have been even better than the first.

Saquon capping off incredible season

Saquon Barkley has had an incredible rookie season with the Giants and he’s finishing it off by hitting a couple of impressive milestones. Not only did he surpass 2,000 yards from scrimmage, but he also set a new rookie RB record for most catches in a season with his 89th grab.

Teddy Bridgewater tosses a TD

Things aren’t going so hot for the Saints against the Panthers in Week 17. But, on the bright side, we did get to see the first passing touchdown of the season for Teddy Bridgewater, who got the start behind center against Carolina.

Dak is ballin’

Dak Prescott has three passing touchdowns against the Giants on Sunday, and all three of them have gone to tight end Blake Jarwin

Kyle Allen?

Kyle Allen.

Quarterbacks catching TDs

It’s Week 17 so why not get crazy? We have two quarterbacks with receiving touchdowns already this week — Matt Ryan from Mohamed Sanu, and Ryan Tannehill from Kenny Stills.

Jameis throws a strike

What a pitch and catch to Chris Godwin here. Right on the money.

Kicker TD pass!

It seems only fitting that former punter (and big-time kicker showmanship advocate) Pat McAfee was on the call for this touchdown pass from Lions kicker Matt Prater on Sunday.

Brady off to a hot start

The Patriots need a win to lock up the AFC’s No. 2 seed today and Tom Brady came to play early on. He’s got three passing touchdowns in the first half, including these beauties to Rex Burkhead and Phillip Dorsett.

Saquon on the loose

The Giants’ rookie running back is making the most of his openings early against Dallas.

These were the best games across college sports in 2018

Another year of college sports is in the books. With 2019 just around the corner, let’s take a look back at the top games across the NCAA from 2018 (in no particular order). 

These are the games that stood out to the NCAA.com team. Did we miss something? Email callan.sheridan@turner.com and we’ll add it to the list.

YEAR-IN-REVIEW: Best comebacks in 2018 | Best performances | Best photos

DI men’s basketball | 16-seed UMBC busts brackets with unprecedented first-round win | March 16, 2018: No. 16 seed UMBC made history in the 2018 NCAA tournament when they took down No. 1 seed Virginia 74–54. It marked the first time a 16-seed has beaten a 1-seed in the men’s tournament — in 136 all-time contests.

DI women’s basketball | Arike Ogunbowale plays hero twice in the Final Four |  March 31 & April 1, 2018:  Arike Ogunbowale hit a buzzer-beater against No. 1 UConn to send her team to the 2018 Final Four title game. Then she sunk an almost identical shot to help the Irish defeat Mississippi State in one of the most memorable Women’s Final Fours of all time.

FBS football | Tua comes off bench, leads Alabama to CFP title in OT | Jan. 8, 2018: After entering in the second half to replace Jalen Hurts, Tua Tagovailoa threw three touchdown passes, including a 41-yard pass to DeVonta Smith for the 26-23 OT win over Georgia in the national championship title game in Atlanta.

FBS football | Hurts relieves Tua, rallies Alabama to SEC title | Dec. 1, 2018: In an oddly familiar situation less than a year after Tagovailoa’s title game heroics, Hurts entered the 2018 SEC championship game for an injured Tagovailoa and led Alabama to a 13-point comeback win over Georgia.

DI women’s lacrosse | Michigan finds magic in final seconds | April 28, 2018: Michigan dug out of a 6-0 hole, then scored twice in the game’s final six seconds to stun No. 16 Penn State 12-11 in Happy Valley in the Wolverines’ regular season finale. 

DI men’s lacrosse |Albany wins historic duel between faceoff extraordinaires | May 19, 2018: This game featured two history-making faceoff men in Denver’s Trevor Baptiste and Albany’s TD Ierlan. Baptiste, the NCAA’s all-time winningest specialist, and Ierlan, who set three NCAA single-season records, competed to a 15-15 stalemate as Albany defeated Denver 15-13 to advance to championship weekend for the first time in program history.

DI beach volleyball | Florida State survives five-set semifinal thriller | May 5, 2018 : With the national semifinal dual tied at 2-2, Florida State freshman Madison Fitzpatrick and sophomore Francesca Goncalves closed out the victory to give the fourth-seeded Seminoles a 3-2 win over No. 3 Hawaii to book a trip to the national championship final.

DI men’s volleyball | LBSU regains momentum, wins title in five sets | May 5, 2018: After winning the first set, Long Beach State dropped the next two and looked to be in trouble against UCLA in the national title match. But the 49ers battled back to defeat the Bruins 3-2 [25-19, 23-25, 20-25, 26-24, 15-12] for the program’s second national championship. 

DI women’s volleyball | Nebraska rallies from 2-0 deficit for reverse sweep | Dec. 13, 2018: Although Nebraska didn’t capture the national championship, the Huskers pulled off a memorable come-from-behind win in the semifinals. They went 25-23, 25-20, 15-11 in the last three sets to complete the reverse sweep over Illinois.

RELATED: 10 years later, how Penn State volleyball lost only two sets in 2008 and won a national title

DI softball |Big fourth inning moves UCLA one step closer to WCWS berth |  June 2, 2018: The Bruins came back from a 4-0 deficit, scoring five times in the fourth inning en route to a 6-5 victory over No. 2 Florida. That win punched a ticket to the national semifinals. The Bruins would eventually move on to the WCWS finals, where they fell to Florida State in two games.

DI men’s hockey | UMD wins tight battle in Frozen Four championship | April 7, 2018:  Minnesota Duluth jumped out to a 2-0 lead and held off a late game surge from the Irish for a tense 2-1 victory. It marked the Bulldogs’ second national title in program history.

DI men’s hockey | Northeastern wins first Beanpot in three decades | Feb. 12, 2018: With an emphatic 5-2 win over BU, the Huskies won their first Beanpot championship in 30 years — and the team’s fifth overall in tournament history. 

DI women’s hockey | Colgate wins double overtime marathon in national semifinals | March 16, 2018: Colgate earned its first-ever ticket to the national championship after a 4-3 victory in double overtime over No. 2 Wisconsin. The Badgers outscored Colgate 2-1 in the third period to force the extra time, but Bre Wilson-Bennett’s 17th minute goal in double overtime sent the Raiders home with a victory. That game-winner also gave Wilson-Bennett a hat trick.
 
DI men’s basketball | Seton Hall, Kentucky trade trio of insane clutch shots in OT thriller | Dec. 8, 2018: Seton Hall and Kentucky answered back and forth with last-second 3s to force overtime at MSG (with Kentucky’s coming at the buzzer from half-court). The Pirates’ Myles Powell had the last laugh, though, as he nailed an off-balanced 3-pointer with 1.5 seconds to go in a 70-67 Seton Hall upset win.

DI men’s basketball | Kansas tops Duke in Elite Eight battle of bluebloods | March 25, 2018: It took overtime to decide which iconic program would reach the 2018 Final Four. Kansas outlasted Duke 85-81 behind 32 points from Malik Newman, who also scored all 13 of the Jayhawks’ points in the extra period. The game featured 18 lead changes and 11 ties.

DI men’s basketball | Penn ends Nova’s Big Five dominance | Dec. 11, 2018:  Penn stunned Villanova 78-75 to snap the Wildcats’ 25-game Big Five winning streak. The win was the Quakers’ first over Villanova since 2002.

DI women’s soccer | Florida State wins all-ACC battle for national title | Dec. 2, 2018: Florida State defeated 21-time NCAA champion Tar Heels in the Women’s College Cup finals as Dallas Dorosy found the back of the net in the 60th minute in a 1-0 victory.

DI baseball | Oregon State keeps title hopes alive in epic Game 2 win | June 26, 2018: Oregon State trailed 3-2 heading into the ninth inning of Game 2 of the CWS and was down to their final out before elimination. Then Cadyn Grenier hit an RBI single and Trevor Larnach crushed a two-run homer to keep Oregon State alive. Oregon State then won Game 3 the following day for the national title.
 

DII men’s basketball | Ferris State closes its history-making season with thrilling title win | March 24, 2018: Ferris State won its first national title in a 71-69 win decided in the final seconds of regulation. The two teams played to a 32-32 tie in the second half. Northern State had a chance for the win as time expired but missed the long 3 attempt. 

DII football | Valdosta State wins record-setting shootout for national title| Dec. 20, 2018: Valdosta State defeated Ferris State 49-47 in a game that filled up the stat sheet and shattered multiple offensive records. Despite losing, Ferris State had the play of the night on an incredible deflection touchdown catch.

DII women’s basketball | Central Mo. ends No. 1 Ashland’s incredible win streak | March 24, 2018: In a major upset, No. 6 Central Missouri ended No. 1 Ashland’s 73-game winning streak — the longest in DII history — to win the 2018 Division II Women’s Basketball Championship. 

RELATED: The 13 best photos from college sports in 2018

DIII football | Mary Hardin-Baylor gets revenge, rallies for championship | Dec. 14, 2018: In a battle of undefeated teams playing for a national title, Mary Hardin-Baylor overcame an early 10-0 deficit to claim its second NCAA Division III national championship with a 24-16 victory over Mount Union in Stagg Bowl XLVI.

DIII men’s lacrosse | Wesleyan takes home program’s first national title | May 27, 2018: Wesleyan men’s lacrosse earned its first-ever national championship — in its first-ever appearance —  by defeating two-time defending champion and No. 3 ranked Salisbury 8-6.

DIII men’s basketball | Grinnell catches fire from 3-point range| Nov. 15, 2018: Grinnell men’s basketball shattered the NCAA Division III record for 3-pointers in a game, netting 42 shots from long range in a 164-107 victory over Emmaus Bible.

DIII women’s basketball | Amherst finishes off perfect season (again) | March 17, 2018: Amherst women’s basketball capped off its second consecutive undefeated season with a second straight national championship, improving to an astounding 66-0 two-year record.

RELATED: 2019 NCAA championships winter selection show schedule

NFL games today, Week 17 scores, highlights, updates, schedule: Lamar Jackson running all over Browns

NFL Week 17 is here. To keep tabs on some of the choicest highlights and other big news throughout Sunday, keep it locked here for updates. 

Schedule, scores

Sunday 

(Stream all of Sunday’s games on fuboTV, try it for free, and stream the CBS games on CBS All Access.)  

Ravens clinch division with win

One year after having their hearts stomped on by the Cincinnati Bengals in Week 17, the Ravens found a better fate on Sunday. Baltimore managed to clinch the AFC North (and a playoff spot) with a win over the Browns, but it came down to the wire. It was a dramatic game-sealing interception by C.J. Mosley that got the job done.

Baker hits a rookie milestone

Peyton Manning. Russell Wilson. Baker Mayfield.

Those are the three guys who have now thrown for 26 touchdown passes in their rookie season. The Browns quarterback reached the mark on Sunday with this touchdown toss to Jarvis Landry.

Then, Baker took the record all for his own with his 27th touchdown pass, caught by Antonio Callaway. Not bad for a guy who spent the first few games of the season on the bench.

Mahomes gets No. 50

Patrick Mahomes hit the 50-touchdown mark on Sunday, putting an incredible exclamation point on what’s been an MVP-worthy season from the Chiefs’ quarterback in his first year as starter. Mahomes’ 50th TD went for 89 yards, because what else did you expect? He now joins Peyton Manning and Tom Brady as the only quarterbacks to hit the single-season mark.

Alshon fights for it

Alshon Jeffery showed great hands, will and strength to come away with this touchdown catch despite great coverage by Josh Norman. 

Flashy Fitz

Larry Fitzgerald is closing out yet another season in Arizona, and he’s doing so in pretty fine fashion. This one-handed catch was pretty smooth.

Lamar Jackson running wild on Browns

The Ravens need a win against the Browns to secure their playoff spot and Lamar Jackson is doing all he can to make sure they get it. The Baltimore quarterback is doing some serious damage on the ground in the first half, running for two early touchdowns against Cleveland.

Mahomes gunning for 50

Patrick Mahomes picked up his 49th touchdown pass of the year early in Sunday’s matchup against the Raiders. Mahomes found Ty Hill for a 67-yard touchdown in the first quarter. 

Clutch Cole

Cole Beasley came up with a massive fourth-down catch for the Cowboys at the end of their contest against the Giants. The grab, which was originally ruled incomplete before being overturned, helped Dallas beat New York for a big win to close out the season. 

Cody Latimer going OFF

The Giants’ Cody Latimer submitted a late candidate for best catch of the year with this touchdown grab in Jersey on Sunday. A one-handed beauty worth appreciating.

But he wasn’t done there. Latimer made ANOTHER insane one-handed grab later in the game, and this one may have been even better than the first.

Saquon capping off incredible season

Saquon Barkley has had an incredible rookie season with the Giants and he’s finishing it off by hitting a couple of impressive milestones. Not only did he surpass 2,000 yards from scrimmage, but he also set a new rookie RB record for most catches in a season with his 89th grab.

Teddy Bridgewater tosses a TD

Things aren’t going so hot for the Saints against the Panthers in Week 17. But, on the bright side, we did get to see the first passing touchdown of the season for Teddy Bridgewater, who got the start behind center against Carolina.

Dak is ballin’

Dak Prescott has three passing touchdowns against the Giants on Sunday, and all three of them have gone to tight end Blake Jarwin

Kyle Allen?

Kyle Allen.

Quarterbacks catching TDs

It’s Week 17 so why not get crazy? We have two quarterbacks with receiving touchdowns already this week — Matt Ryan from Mohamed Sanu, and Ryan Tannehill from Kenny Stills.

Jameis throws a strike

What a pitch and catch to Chris Godwin here. Right on the money.

Kicker TD pass!

It seems only fitting that former punter (and big-time kicker showmanship advocate) Pat McAfee was on the call for this touchdown pass from Lions kicker Matt Prater on Sunday.

Brady off to a hot start

The Patriots need a win to lock up the AFC’s No. 2 seed today and Tom Brady came to play early on. He’s got three passing touchdowns in the first half, including these beauties to Rex Burkhead and Phillip Dorsett.

Saquon on the loose

The Giants’ rookie running back is making the most of his openings early against Dallas.

NFL games today, Week 17 scores, highlights, updates, schedule: Matt Ryan, Ryan Tannehill catch TD passes

NFL Week 17 is here. To keep tabs on some of the choicest highlights and other big news throughout Sunday, keep it locked here for updates. 

Schedule, scores

Sunday 

(Stream all of Sunday’s games on fuboTV, try it for free, and stream the CBS games on CBS All Access.)  

Ravens clinch division with win

One year after having their hearts stomped on by the Cincinnati Bengals in Week 17, the Ravens found a better fate on Sunday. Baltimore managed to clinch the AFC North (and a playoff spot) with a win over the Browns, but it came down to the wire. It was a dramatic game-sealing interception by C.J. Mosley that got the job done.

Baker hits a rookie milestone

Peyton Manning. Russell Wilson. Baker Mayfield.

Those are the three guys who have now thrown for 26 touchdown passes in their rookie season. The Browns quarterback reached the mark on Sunday with this touchdown toss to Jarvis Landry.

Then, Baker took the record all for his own with his 27th touchdown pass, caught by Antonio Callaway. Not bad for a guy who spent the first few games of the season on the bench.

Mahomes gets No. 50

Patrick Mahomes hit the 50-touchdown mark on Sunday, putting an incredible exclamation point on what’s been an MVP-worthy season from the Chiefs’ quarterback in his first year as starter. Mahomes’ 50th TD went for 89 yards, because what else did you expect? He now joins Peyton Manning and Tom Brady as the only quarterbacks to hit the single-season mark.

Alshon fights for it

Alshon Jeffery showed great hands, will and strength to come away with this touchdown catch despite great coverage by Josh Norman. 

Flashy Fitz

Larry Fitzgerald is closing out yet another season in Arizona, and he’s doing so in pretty fine fashion. This one-handed catch was pretty smooth.

Lamar Jackson running wild on Browns

The Ravens need a win against the Browns to secure their playoff spot and Lamar Jackson is doing all he can to make sure they get it. The Baltimore quarterback is doing some serious damage on the ground in the first half, running for two early touchdowns against Cleveland.

Mahomes gunning for 50

Patrick Mahomes picked up his 49th touchdown pass of the year early in Sunday’s matchup against the Raiders. Mahomes found Ty Hill for a 67-yard touchdown in the first quarter. 

Clutch Cole

Cole Beasley came up with a massive fourth-down catch for the Cowboys at the end of their contest against the Giants. The grab, which was originally ruled incomplete before being overturned, helped Dallas beat New York for a big win to close out the season. 

Cody Latimer going OFF

The Giants’ Cody Latimer submitted a late candidate for best catch of the year with this touchdown grab in Jersey on Sunday. A one-handed beauty worth appreciating.

But he wasn’t done there. Latimer made ANOTHER insane one-handed grab later in the game, and this one may have been even better than the first.

Saquon capping off incredible season

Saquon Barkley has had an incredible rookie season with the Giants and he’s finishing it off by hitting a couple of impressive milestones. Not only did he surpass 2,000 yards from scrimmage, but he also set a new rookie RB record for most catches in a season with his 89th grab.

Teddy Bridgewater tosses a TD

Things aren’t going so hot for the Saints against the Panthers in Week 17. But, on the bright side, we did get to see the first passing touchdown of the season for Teddy Bridgewater, who got the start behind center against Carolina.

Dak is ballin’

Dak Prescott has three passing touchdowns against the Giants on Sunday, and all three of them have gone to tight end Blake Jarwin

Kyle Allen?

Kyle Allen.

Quarterbacks catching TDs

It’s Week 17 so why not get crazy? We have two quarterbacks with receiving touchdowns already this week — Matt Ryan from Mohamed Sanu, and Ryan Tannehill from Kenny Stills.

Jameis throws a strike

What a pitch and catch to Chris Godwin here. Right on the money.

Kicker TD pass!

It seems only fitting that former punter (and big-time kicker showmanship advocate) Pat McAfee was on the call for this touchdown pass from Lions kicker Matt Prater on Sunday.

Brady off to a hot start

The Patriots need a win to lock up the AFC’s No. 2 seed today and Tom Brady came to play early on. He’s got three passing touchdowns in the first half, including these beauties to Rex Burkhead and Phillip Dorsett.

Saquon on the loose

The Giants’ rookie running back is making the most of his openings early against Dallas.

Spread picks for every NFL game in Week 17

We’re back for Week 17 of the 2018 NFL season, and the end is nigh! The regular season wraps up this weekend with three playoff spots still to be determined. We get a heavy dose of 4:25 p.m. ET games with teams competing for playoff berths and positioning. The day wraps up with a Sunday Night Football contest between the Tennessee Titans and Indianapolis Colts for the final AFC playoff berth.

We’re back for another week of picks against the spread to get you ready for this final weekend of regular season action. There is nothing quite like a little football gambling to make games that much more exciting. This season, I am taking part in the Westgate SuperContest. SB Nation’s partners over at Odds Shark are sponsoring my entry again. The contest requires selecting five games each week and picking them against the spread.

I’ll be offering up all five SuperContest entries each week, along with picks against the spread for every game each week. I went 2-3 with my Week 16 SuperContest picks, and 8-8 for for my total picks. I’m now 38-38-4 for the year in the SuperContest. Here are my SuperContest entries for Week 17.

Lions (+8) over PACKERS
Browns (+6) over RAVENS
Falcons (+1) over BUCCANEERS
VIKINGS (-4.5) over Bears
RAMS (-10) over 49ers

Here are all my picks for Week 17 (home team in caps):

GIANTS vs. Cowboys (+6.5): Giants
CHIEFS vs. Raiders (+13.5): Raiders
SAINTS vs. Panthers (+8.5): Saints
PATRIOTS vs. Jets (+13.5): Patriots
WASHINGTON vs. Eagles (-6.5): Eagles
PACKERS vs. Lions (+8): Lions
TEXANS vs. Jaguars (+6.5): Texans
RAVENS vs. Browns (+6): Browns
BUCCANEERS vs. Falcons (+1): Falcons
BILLS vs. Dolphins (+3.5): Bills
TITANS vs. Colts (-3): Colts
STEELERS vs. Bengals (+14.5): Steelers
VIKINGS vs. Bears (+4.5): Vikings
BRONCOS vs. Chargers (-6.5): Chargers
SEAHAWKS vs. Cardinals (+13.5): Cardinals
RAMS vs. 49ers (+10): Rams