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NFL playoff picture: Who
NFL playoff picture: Who's booked a ticket, who's scraping in and match-ups we want to see

The NFL playoff picture is brewing like a cup of steaming hot tea. Not the pond water they serve up over there, a proper mug of builder's, left on the side for four minutes, splash of milk, no sugar. Perfect. Yes we're talking American football, but some things have to be done the British way

WTA offer more protection to players returning from maternity leave and give Serena Williams catsuit green light
WTA offer more protection to players returning from maternity leave and give Serena Williams catsuit green light

The Women's Tennis Association have put in place further advantages for players returning from maternity leave in future but have stopped short of granting protected seedings. The issue became a talking point last year following Serena Williams' return six months after giving birth to daughter

Discovery
Discovery's GOLFTV continues to expand its footprint in deal with European Tour

Discovery's GOLFTV continues to expand its footprint in the sport. The network, which recently signed Tiger Woods to an exclusive deal, announced on Thursday an agreement with the European Tour which will include 40 live tournaments in 2019 and the rights to future Ryder Cups. Discovery will be responsible for developing and optimizing key aspects of the European Tour digital operation, such as technology, monetization and advertising.

Thursday morning one-liners
Thursday morning one-liners

Looking at some potential Bills targets in free agency. Dolphins RB Frank Gore is still motivated. Run defense has been a major issue for the Patriots all season. The Jets and Giants will have neutral end zones this week (they may not recognize them for other reasons). Ravens S Tony Jefferson is close

Golf: Catlin, Lee share early lead at Indonesian Masters

American John Catlin fired a six-under-par 66 to share a one-shot lead with qualifying school graduate Lee Sung-ho of South Korea in the opening round of the Indonesian Masters on Thursday. Unfazed by playing alongside seasoned professionals like Swede Henrik Stenson and India's Anirban Lahiri, Catlin showed the sparkling form that led him to three Asian Tour titles this season. The 28-year-old carded seven birdies and a bogey to set the pace in the morning session at the Royale Jakarta Golf Club.

Holding calls increased for a week, then went back down
Holding calls increased for a week, then went back down

The NFL told its officials to call holding more strictly. For one week, they did. And then they stopped. As former NFL head of officiating Mike Pereira revealed on FOX during a game, the league sent its officials a video before Week 13 showing several plays on which the NFL said the officials missed

Andrew Luck, Deshaun Watson Leading the NFL Comeback Player of the Year Race
Andrew Luck, Deshaun Watson Leading the NFL Comeback Player of the Year Race

Luck didn't play the entire 2017 season with an injured shoulder, and now his Colts are back in the playoff mix. Watson tore an ACL in 2017, and now his Texans are atop the AFC South. Both are prime candidates for the NFL's comeback award.

Report: Mets sign Jeurys Familia to three-year, $30 million contract
Report: Mets sign Jeurys Familia to three-year, $30 million contract

The Mets have reportedly inked reliever Jeurys Familia to a three-year, $30 million contract.

Week 15 Start
Week 15 Start 'Em or Sit 'Em

Nick Mensio dives into the matchups and advises who to start and sit for Week 15.

12/12/18: MLB.com FastCast
12/12/18: MLB.com FastCast

The Nationals trade starting pitcher Tanner Roark to the Reds, plus the Yankees close in on a deal with left-hander J.A. Happ

Bol, Oregon get past San Diego 65-55

Ehab Amin let his Oregon teammates know that sleepwalking through another first half was no longer acceptable. After the Ducks fell behind by nine points, the graduate transfer cut loose during a timeout, and the message hit home. ''It really started with Ehab yelling at us that we've got

Craig Breslow talking to teams about non-playing role

Craig Breslow, a key member of the 2013 world champion Red Sox and a pitcher who has long appeared a strong candidate for a second life in baseball when his playing days are over, is about to make the jump.

No. 16 Wisconsin looks to bounce back against Savannah State

Savannah State established some records that the Tigers would rather forget in their 139-72 road setback against South Dakota State on Tuesday. The Tigers gave up 90 first-half points, 23 made 3-pointers, 53 made field goals and 87 field-goal attempts -- all single-game record highs for South Dakota

Steph Curry says Warriors would beat Shaq
Steph Curry says Warriors would beat Shaq's Lakers that had three-peat

He was most likely being sarcastic, but Steph Curry's timing couldn't have been worse right here.

Winter Meetings: Day Three
Winter Meetings: Day Three

D.J. Short goes over the biggest headlines from the third day of baseball's Winter Meetings in Las Vegas.

Mavericks seek atonement against Clippers

The Suns shone. The Mavericks non-conformed. Since then, Dallas has regained its equilibrium while joining the group of contenders for the last few playoff spots in the rugged Western Conference about one-third of the way through the season.

Robinson, Brooks rally No. 24 Houston past LSU, 82-76
Robinson, Brooks rally No. 24 Houston past LSU, 82-76

Galen Robinson Jr. heard the ''LSU! LSU!'' chants with Houston down 15 points in the second half. Robinson scored 18 points, Armoni Brooks added 13 - all in the second half - and No. 24 Houston overcame the big deficit to beat LSU 82-76 on Wednesday night. Robinson was 7 of 15 from

Haws scores 30 points, leads BYU over Portland State 85-66

PROVO, Utah (AP) -- TJ Haws made five 3-pointers and scored a career-high 30 points to lead BYU to an 85-66 victory over Portland State on Wednesday night.

Oakland Sues NFL, Claims it Violated Own Rules in Approving Raiders
Oakland Sues NFL, Claims it Violated Own Rules in Approving Raiders' Move to Vegas

The Raiders have been surrounded by a series of unfortunate events this year, and a recent lawsuit by the city of Oakland could hasten the team's exodus as it prepares to move to Las Vegas in 2020.

MLB free agency: Yusei Kikuchi could be Giants' perfect fit for rotation

Japanese left-hander Yusei Kikuchi could be just who the Giants need the most this offseason, and he might be interested in San Francisco.

Wednesday
Wednesday's Things to Know: No. 24 Houston stays unbeaten, Louisville escapes, DePaul and Chicago State get testy

No. 24 Houston stayed unbeaten, Louisville squeaked out a win and things got testy between DePaul and Chicago State.

Pro football fan index: Who
Pro football fan index: Who's the best fantasy player in the league?

SportsPulse: Who won this week's pro football fan index for best fantasy player of 2018. The winner will not shock you but where was drafted in the preseason will.

Incentives Aligning for Haves, Have-Nots in Quest for Eight-Team College Football Playoff
Incentives Aligning for Haves, Have-Nots in Quest for Eight-Team College Football Playoff

Three members of the Power Five and all five leagues in the Group of Five have strong incentives to push for an eight-team playoff.

Wichita State holds Jacksonville St. at bay with 69-65 win

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) -- Samajae Haynes-Jones scored 17 points and Markis McDuffie made the go-ahead jumper with 4:31 left and Wichita State beat Jacksonville State 69-65 on Wednesday night.

No. 7 Oregon women hold off South Dakota State 87-79

Oregon coach Kelly Graves figured the Ducks would have to fight for a win at mid-major South Dakota State. ''This isn't a place you want to come play, but I think it makes us better,'' Graves said. Satou Sabally scored a season-high 27 points and had six rebounds and No. 7 Oregon

Yeboah scores 24 to lead Stony Brook past LIU Brooklyn 83-79

STONY BROOK, N.Y. (AP) -- Akwasi Yeboah scored 24 points and his 3-pointer with 54 seconds left helped send Stony Brook to an 83-79 win over LIU Brooklyn on Wednesday night.

Ravens stick with Jackson over Flacco against Buccaneers

Joe Flacco is available this week, but rookie quarterback Lamar Jackson will continue to start for the Baltimore Ravens on Sunday when they face the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Baltimore. Since the dual-threat Jackson took over for the injured Flacco, the Ravens have gone 3-1 and played their way back into

No. 11 Texas Tech goes up big at half, beats NW State 79-44
No. 11 Texas Tech goes up big at half, beats NW State 79-44

LUBBOCK, Texas - Jarrett Culver scored 15 points, Tariq Owens had 14 points and eight rebounds and No. 11 Texas Tech ran out to a 43-point halftime lead in a 79-44 victory over Northwestern State on Wednesday night. The Red Raiders (9-0) matched their best start since 2008-09. All of the wins have been

Dave Dombrowski: A 'longshot' Red Sox make significant move by end of Winter Meetings

Judging by what Dave Dombrowski said on Wednesday, the Red Sox probably won't be making any big moves before the conclusion of the Winter Meetings on Thursday.

Rider pulls away in last 5 minutes to beat Norfolk St. 81-71

LAWRENCEVILLE, N.J. (AP) -- Jordan Allen made four 3-pointers and scored 20 points and Rider pulled away in the last five minutes to beat Norfolk State 81-71 on Wednesday night.

Sources say Raiders rescind offer to rent Oakland Coliseum for 2019 season
Sources say Raiders rescind offer to rent Oakland Coliseum for 2019 season

It's not impossible, but it appears increasingly unlikely the Raiders will play in Oakland next year.

AP source: Temple hires Miami d-coordinator Diaz as coach
AP source: Temple hires Miami d-coordinator Diaz as coach

Temple has hired Miami defensive coordinator Manny Diaz as its next head coach, a person familiar with the negotiations told The Associated Press on Wednesday night. The person spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity because the school was planning to make the deal official Thursday, with a news conference

Shizz Alston Jr. scores 31 points to lead Temple over UMass
Shizz Alston Jr. scores 31 points to lead Temple over UMass

Shizz Alston Jr. scored a career-high 31 points to lead Temple to a 65-63 win over UMass on Wednesday night.

Redskins QB Johnson steps in against Jaguars

New Washington Redskins quarterback Josh Johnson threw his first NFL pass since 2011 last week, and on Sunday against the Jaguars in Jacksonville, he will make his first NFL start also since 2011. The Redskins (6-7) have lost four in a row as injuries have ravaged the team, especially at the quarterback

MLB Rumors: Craig Kimbrel reportedly looking for nine-figure contract

No wonder Dave Dombrowski suggested that the Red Sox are most likely not going to bring Craig Kimbrel back next season, considering the closer's incredible asking price.

Simonds scores 24, Georgia State holds off Chattanooga 95-88

ATLANTA (AP) -- D'Marcus Simonds scored 24 points, Kane Williams and Devin Mitchell scored 17 each and Georgia State pulled away in the second half to defeat Chattanooga 95-88 Wednesday night, ending the Mocs three-game win streak.

Seahawks, 49ers meet for the second time this month

Playing twice in a three-week span is unusual, but the Seattle Seahawks and the San Francisco 49ers will go at it again Sunday at Levi's Stadium in Santa Clara, Calif. Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll isn't putting too much stock in what happened in Seattle's 43-16 win in the first meeting

AP source: Free agent first baseman Bour, Angels reach deal
AP source: Free agent first baseman Bour, Angels reach deal

Justin Bour is set to bring the Los Angeles Angels key depth they need until stars Albert Pujols and Shohei Ohtani are fully recovered from surgery. The Angels and the free agent first baseman have reached a deal, a person with knowledge of the negotiations told The Associated Press on Wednesday night

Yanks try to keep Happ, a 'Death Star' ready to pivot

As Brian Cashman tried to close a deal to keep left-hander J.A. Happ, the New York Yankees general manager made clear Wednesday he could shift his focus from pitching to high-priced free agents Bryce Harper and Manny Machado at any moment. ''We are prepared to pivot and react at any moment if

Louisville pulls away late to beat Lipscomb 72-68
Louisville pulls away late to beat Lipscomb 72-68

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) -- Jordan Nwora scored 22 points and Louisville had to fend off Lipscomb in the closing minute for a 72-68 victory Wednesday night.

No. 13 Minnesota women remain undefeated, top Coppin State

Kenisha Bell scored 20 points, Destiny Pitts made four 3-pointers and added 14 points and No. 13 Minnesota remained undefeated with an 84-52 victory over Coppin State on Wednesday night. Minnesota followed up its highest scoring first quarter of the season at 29 with its most halftime points, 50, for

Murray State beats Southern Illinois 80-52

CARBONDALE, Ill. (AP) -- Ja Morant scored 23 points, distributed 13 assists and grabbed five rebounds, Tevin Brown added a career-high 20 poins with 6 of 11 3-pointers, and Murray State beat regional rival Southern Illinois 80-52 on Wednesday night to win its third straight.

Alston sinks free throws and UMass in 65-63 Temple win

PHILADELPHIA (AP) -- Shizz Alston Jr. scored a career-high 31 points and made 3 of 4 foul shots in the last nine seconds and Temple rallied then held off UMass 65-63 on Wednesday night.

Shuler, Davis lead Mississippi past SE Louisiana 69-47
Shuler, Davis lead Mississippi past SE Louisiana 69-47

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) -- Devontae Shuler scored 19 points, Terence Davis added 15 points, six rebounds and four assists and Mississippi beat Southeastern Louisiana 69-47 on Wednesday night.

Next Gen Stats: 3 Improbable Catches | Week 14
Next Gen Stats: 3 Improbable Catches | Week 14

Next Gen Stats breaks down the most improbable catches from Week 14, featuring plays from the Kansas City Chiefs, Cleveland Browns and Atlanta Falcons.

Phillies sign McCutchen to three-year deal
Phillies sign McCutchen to three-year deal

Andrew McCutchen joins the Philadelphia Phillies from the New York Yankees on a three-year, $50million contract.

UNCG wins 14th straight at home, beats Coppin State 77-54

GREENSBORO, N.C. (AP) -- Kaleb Hunter and Eric Hamilton each scored 17 points and UNC Greensboro rolled to a 77-54 victory over Coppin State on Wednesday night.

MLB notebook: Lynn reportedly to sign with Rangers
MLB notebook: Lynn reportedly to sign with Rangers

Right-handed pitcher Lance Lynn agreed to a three-year, $30 million deal with the Texas Rangers, multiple media outlets reported Wednesday. Lynn, who has spent most of his seven-year career as a starter for the St. Louis Cardinals, pitched last season for the Minnesota Twins and New York Yankees, combining

Cubs
Cubs 'unlikely' to leave Las Vegas with a new player

It intially appeared as if the Cubs were building momentum toward making a move during the Winter Meetings, but that no longer seems to be likely.

Morton to Rays and a Tanner-for-Tanner trade at meetings
Morton to Rays and a Tanner-for-Tanner trade at meetings

Charlie Morton was the top name to switch teams Wednesday, joining Tampa Bay for a $30 million, two-year deal after going 15-3 with Houston last season. Roark led the National League with 15 losses, but expected he would be part of a prime rotation that recently added All-Star Patrick Corbin to stars

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