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Update on the latest in sports:

December 30, 2018


The final regular season NFL Sunday kicks off with plenty of playoff implications.

Already in the playoffs, the Texans need a win over the Jaguars to clinch the AFC South.

In Kansas City, the Chiefs need a win over Oakland to clinch the AFC West and home-field advantage throughout the AFC playoffs.

The Patriots need a win over the New York Jets to secure a first-round bye and would clinch home-field advantage throughout the AFC playoffs with a win and losses by Kansas City and the Chargers. If Houston wins and the Patriots lose or tie the Texans would receive a first-round bye.

Baltimore would clinch the AFC North with a win over Cleveland and would clinch the division and a first-round bye with a victory and losses by New England and Houston.

The Chargers need a win over Denver and a loss by Kansas City to clinch the AFC West and home-field advantage throughout the AFC playoffs.

The Colts will earn a playoff berth with a win over Tennessee. They would win the AFC South with a victory and a loss by Houston. The Titans would win the AFC South with a win and a loss by Houston. They could secure a first-round bye with a victory and losses by Houston, New England and Baltimore.

The Steelers would clinch the AFC North with a win over Cincinnati and a loss or tie by the Ravens.

In the NFC, the Rams need a win or tie over San Francisco or a loss or tie by Chicago to secure a bye in the first round.

The Bears would get a first-round bye with a win and a loss by the Rams.

The Vikings would clinch a playoff berth with a win or tie against Chicago or a loss or tie by the Eagles at Washington.

The defending Super Bowl champion Eagles need a win and a loss by the Vikings to earn a playoff berth.


Veteran catcher Lucroy finalizes 1-year deal with Angels

ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) — The Los Angeles Angels have secured a veteran backstop.

Catcher Jonathan Lucroy has finalized a one-year contract and Yahoo Sports reported the deal is for $3.35 million.

The team announced the move Saturday. To make room on the roster, right-hander Austin Brice was designated for assignment.

A two-time All-Star, the 32-year-old Lucroy batted .241 with four homers, 51 RBIs and a .617 OPS in 126 games this year during his only season with the Oakland Athletics. Though he struggled at the plate, he received praise for his management of the A’s pitching staff.

Before signing Lucroy, the Angels did not have an accomplished major league catcher on their 40-man roster. Jose Briceno made his debut last season, and the team claimed Kevan Smith off waivers from the Chicago White Sox two months ago.


Florida offensive tackle Taylor leaving school early for NFL

GAINESVILLE, Fla. (AP) — Florida offensive tackle Jawaan Taylor is forgoing his final year of college eligibility and entering the NFL draft.

The 6-foot-5, 330-pound junior announced his decision via social media Saturday night after the Gators beat Michigan 41-15 in the Peach Bowl . Taylor also signed with agent Drew Rosenhaus.

Taylor was a three-year starter at Florida, part of an offensive line that played better as the 2018 season progressed. The Gators (10-3) allowed 18 sacks, including a season-high three against the Wolverines.

Taylor is the second Florida player to decide to turn pro. Defensive back Chauncey Gardner-Johnson declared for the draft in late November but still played in the Peach Bowl and was named the game’s defensive MVP.

Defensive end Jachai Polite, linebacker Vosean Joseph and running back Jordan Scarlett are others considering leaving school early for the NFL.


Light schedules

UNDATED (AP) — Six games are part of the NBA schedule today starting with Detroit at Orlando at 3:30 p.m. Later on it’s Chicago at Toronto, Minnesota at Miami, Oklahoma City at Dallas, Philadelphia at Portland, and Sacramento at the L.A. Lakers, 9:30 p.m.

Only one game is on tap in the NHL, Vegas at Arizona.

And college hoops sees only one Top 25 team in action as No. 2 Michigan visits Binghampton.


A fourth sequel

UNDATED (AP) — The winner of next week’s CFP championship game will be the first FBS winner to go 15-0.

And fans are anticipating part four in the ongoing series: Alabama vs Clemson. Both teams had double-digit wins in their semi-final matchups

Both teams will travel to the opposite side of the country from their schools to play in the January 7 game at the home stadium of the NFL’s San Francisco 49ers in Santa Clara, California.


Sweden beats US 5-4 in OT, spoiling Americans’ comeback

VICTORIA, British Columbia (AP) — A furious comeback by the Americans to force overtime was spoiled when Adam Boqvist scored at 3:51 of overtime to give Sweden a 5-4 victory over the United States on Saturday night in the world junior hockey championship.

Ryan Phoehling scored twice in the final 37 seconds to force the extra period.

Minnesota-Duluth defenseman Mikey Anderson began the U.S. comeback with a power-play goal with 10:26 to go. Phoehling assisted on the goal, and tied it with a natural hat trick in the final 6:35. The St. Cloud State sophomore had a power-play goal, then — with goalie Kyle Keyser off for an extra attacker — scored with 37 and 24 seconds to go.

The teams will complete round-robin play Monday, with the Americans facing Finland, and the Swedes playing Kazakhstan.

Update hourly