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BC-AP Sports Digest

December 23, 2018

The supervisor is Rebecca Miller, followed by John Nicholson at 5 p.m. and Bob Lentz at 1 a.m. The New York sports desk can be reached at 800-845-8450, ext. 1630. Sports photos, ext. 1918; graphics, ext. 7636; agate, ext. 1635. For up-to-the-minute information on AP’s coverage, visit Coverage Plan at https://newsroom.ap.org . For access to AP Newsroom and other technical issues, contact AP Customer Support at apcustomersupport@ap.org or 877-836-9477. All times EST.

Broadcaster Ernie Johnson gives a behind-the-scenes look at “Inside the NBA” colleague Charles Barkley in the latest episode of PodcastOne Sports Now co-hosted by the AP’s Jim Litke and Tim Dahlberg. Listen at podcastonesports.com, the podcastone app and apple podcasts. https://www.podcastone.com/ap-sports-weekly-podcast

TOP STORIES

FBN--STEELERS-SAINTS

NEW ORLEANS — The New Orleans Saints can clinch the No. 1 overall playoff seed in the NFC when they host the Pittsburgh Steelers. The Steelers need a victory to stay ahead of Baltimore atop the AFC North. By Brett Martel. UPCOMING: 700 words, photos. Game starts 4:25 p.m.

FBN--CHIEFS-SEAHAWKS

SEATTLE — Patrick Mahomes and Russell Wilson take the stage in prime time as the Kansas City Chiefs face the Seattle Seahawks in a matchup filled with playoff implications. The Chiefs earn the AFC West crown with a victory while the Seahawks get a wild card if they beat Kansas City. By Tim Booth. UPCOMING: 750 words, photos. Game starts 8:20 p.m.

With:

— FBN--WEEK 16-THE LATEST — Real-time updates throughout the day.

— FBN--PLAYOFF PICTURE. Upcoming by 9 p.m., then updated after Chiefs-Seahawks game.

BKC--TOP 25 REWIND

There will be a new No. 1 in the AP Top 25 next week. No. 18 Arizona took down top-ranked Kansas in the desert on Saturday, possibly paving the way for Duke to move back into the No. 1 spot. By Basketball Writer John Marshall. UPCOMING: 700 words, photos by 4 p.m.

YE--ME TOO SPORTS

The powerful victim’s impact statements delivered by dozens of women sexually abused by former USA Gymnastics and Michigan State University team doctor Larry Nassar did more than provide a much-needed release: it signaled a sea change in the #MeToo movement in sports, one that could have a ripple effect for years to come. By Will Graves. SENT: 1,000 words, photos.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL

FBC--CFP--OKLAHOMA-DEFENSIVE REDEMPTION

NORMAN, Okla. — Oklahoma interim defensive coordinator Ruffin McNeill’s unit couldn’t slow some of the nation’s best offenses during Big 12 play. His toughest challenge yet will come in the national semifinal against Alabama. Led by Heisman Trophy runner-up Tua Tagovailoa at quarterback, the Crimson Tide ranks second nationally in points per game and seventh in yards per game. The Sooner defense draws hope from a solid performance in the Big 12 title game win against Texas. By Cliff Brunt. SENT: 720 words, photos.

Also:

— FBC--LSU-SHOOTING INVESTIGATION — Police: LSU player kills man trying to rob him, teammate. By Brett Martel. SENT: 350 words.

NFL

FBN--TEXANS-EAGLES

PHILADELPHIA — Super Bowl MVP Nick Foles tries to keep the Philadelphia Eagles in contention for a playoff spot and the Houston Texans need a win to stay in position to earn a first-round bye. By Pro Football Writer Rob Maaddi. UPCOMING: 700 words, photos. Game started 1 p.m.

FBN--BUCCANEERS-COWBOYS

ARLINGTON, Texas — The Dallas Cowboys try again to clinch the NFC East, this time against a team with nothing on the line. Tampa Bay was eliminated from playoff contention last week. By Pro Football Writer Schuyler Dixon. UPCOMING: 700 words, photos. Game started 1 p.m.

FBN--BILLS-PATRIOTS

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. — The New England Patriots look to clinch their 10th straight AFC East title and stay in the hunt for a first-round playoff bye when they host the Buffalo Bills. By Kyle Hightower. UPCOMING: 700 words, photos. Game started 1 p.m.

Also:

— FBN--NFL TODAY.

— FBN--NFL INJURIES.

FBN--RAIDERS-OAKLAND FAREWELL?

OAKLAND, Calif. — The Raiders might be playing their final game ever at the rundown Oakland Coliseum in the 2018 home finale Monday night against the Denver Broncos. By Pro Football Writer Josh Dubow. SENT: 760 words, photos.

NBA

BKN--CLIPPERS-WARRIORS

OAKLAND, Calif. — The Los Angeles Clippers hope to take another step toward dethroning the Golden State Warriors in the Pacific Division when they meet for the second time this season. The Clippers, who won 121-116 in overtime in Los Angeles last month, enter the rematch just 2½ games behind the defending champion Warriors. UPCOMING: 650 words, photos. Game starts 8:30 p.m.

COLLEGE BASKETBALL

BKC--T25-COPPIN STATE-HOUSTON

HOUSTON — No. 21 Houston looks to improve to 13-0 when the Cougars host Coppin State, which has dropped each of its first 13 games this season. By Jeremy Rakes. UPCOMING: 600 words. Game starts 4 p.m.

NHL

HKN--BRUINS-HURRICANES

RALEIGH, N.C. — The Carolina Hurricanes play host to the Boston Bruins on Whalers Night, with Carolina wearing Hartford Whalers throwbacks for the first time since leaving Connecticut in 1997. By Joedy McCreary. UPCOMING: 600 words, photos. Game starts 5 p.m.

Also:

— HKN--SABRES-JEANNERET — Sabres broadcaster “doing well” after being hospitalized. By Hockey Writer John Wawrow. SENT: 500 words, photo.

SOCCER

SOC--ITALY-WEEKEND WATCH

Cristiano Ronaldo is helping Juventus break records but it could be taking a toll on the Portugal star. Ronaldo has started all but one of Juve’s 23 games this season, having missed only the first Champions League match against Young Boys through suspension following his first-ever red card in the competition. By Daniella Matar. SENT: 630 words, photos.

SOC--EVERTON-TOTTENHAM

LIVERPOOL, England — Tottenham crushes Everton 6-2 to move within two points of second-placed Manchester City in the English Premier League. UPCOMING: 500 words, photos by 3 p.m.

Also:

— SOC--ATLANTA UNITED-DE BOER — Dutch player, coach Frank de Boer takes over Atlanta United. UPCOMING: 300 words, photos by 3 p.m.

— SOC--INTER-NAINGGOLAN — Inter Milan suspends Radja Nainggolan “for disciplinary reasons” SENT: 170 words, photo.

— SOC--LEVERKUSEN-COACH — Bayer Leverkusen fires Heiko Herrlich, signs Peter Bosz as coach. SENT: 170 words, photos.

CAPSULES

— FBN--NFL CAPSULES

— BKN--NBA CAPSULES

— HKN--NHL CAPSULES

___

Sunday Time Schedule (EST)

NFL

Atlanta at Carolina, 1 p.m.

Houston at Philadelphia, 1 p.m.

N.Y. Giants at Indianapolis, 1 p.m.

Green Bay at N.Y. Jets, 1 p.m.

Minnesota at Detroit, 1 p.m.

Buffalo at New England, 1 p.m.

Cincinnati at Cleveland, 1 p.m.

Jacksonville at Miami, 1 p.m.

Tampa Bay at Dallas, 1 p.m.

L.A. Rams at Arizona, 4:05 p.m.

Chicago at San Francisco, 4:05 p.m.

Pittsburgh at New Orleans, 4:25 p.m.

Kansas City at Seattle, 8:20 p.m.

NBA

Atlanta at Detroit, 4 p.m.

Washington at Indiana, 5 p.m.

Charlotte at Boston, 6 p.m.

Phoenix at Brooklyn, 6 p.m.

Chicago at Cleveland, 6 p.m.

Miami at Orlando, 6 p.m.

New Orleans at Sacramento, 6 p.m.

Minnesota at Oklahoma City, 8 p.m.

L.A. Clippers at Golden State, 8:30 p.m.

Dallas at Portland, 9 p.m.

Memphis at L.A. Lakers, 9:30 p.m.

NHL

Columbus at New Jersey, 12:30 p.m.

Boston at Carolina, 5 p.m.

Florida at Chicago, 7 p.m.

Philadelphia at N.Y. Rangers, 7 p.m.

Detroit at Toronto, 7:30 p.m.

Los Angeles at Vegas, 8 p.m.

Arizona at San Jose, 8 p.m.

N.Y. Islanders at Dallas, 8 p.m.

College Basketball (Top 25)

Men

No. 21 Houston vs. Coppin State, 4 p.m.

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