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MIAMI — Just checked the statutes to make sure nothing had been codified in the past couple of weeks and could find nothing at all. So let’s make it official, and legal: You are not required by law to root for the Buffalo Bills in these NFL playoffs solely because one of their players suffered a serious recent medical scare on the field. We tread carefully here through the gravity of this. ...

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CHICAGO — It’s clear TCU was not remotely in the same area code as Georgia in the Horned Frogs’ 65-7 loss Monday in the College Football Playoff national championship game at SoFi Stadium. The matchup between the SEC champion and Big 12 runner-up turned out to be even grislier than most experts predicted. Cinderella stories in sports are cool. But when the biggest game of the year is decided ...

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PHILADELPHIA — Eagles players and coaches usually spend Saturday nights going over the game plan. Eagles executives usually spend Saturday nights at dinners and parties, entertaining all sorts of NFL brass. Not this past Saturday. This Saturday, it was must-see TV. Former Eagles coach Doug Pederson and his ragtag Jacksonville Jaguars had a chance to make the playoffs if they beat the Tennessee ...

LOS ANGELES — The season is over for the Rams, but the hand-wringing is heading into overtime. What will Sean McVay do? Will he continue to coach the team? Will he take a TV job? How about a leave of absence on a beach in St. Somewhere? Whatever McVay decides — and that could come any day — there's a community of former NFL coaches, some of them in the Hall of Fame, who are all too familiar ...

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FAYETTEVILLE, Ark.  — No. 4 Alabama went on a 16-4 run midway through the second half and an 11-0 run late to beat No. 15 Arkansas, 84-69, on …

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These are strange times in the NFC playoffs. Aaron Rodgers isn’t here. The defending champs aren’t, either. The Seahawks are, but Russell Wilson isn’t. Win or lose, Seattle will emerge from the playoffs with the fifth overall pick in the draft. Tom Brady is a home underdog to a team coached by Mike McCarthy. Matthew Stafford would have had a better shot at the postseason if he’d stayed in ...

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MINNEAPOLIS — Kirk Cousins threw more passes this season than any other in his 11-year NFL career, Justin Jefferson solidified himself as a megawatt superstar and the Vikings became the ninth team in league history to have four receivers reach 60 receptions. By now, the team's offensive identity is abundantly clear. The running game has taken a back seat as the Vikings rank near the bottom of ...

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BALTIMORE — Ravens inside linebacker Roquan Smith doesn’t like to brag. Even after signing a five-year contract extension reportedly worth $100 million, Smith didn’t want to draw too much attention to himself. When he stood alongside fellow inside linebacker Patrick Queen in a meeting room after completing the deal Tuesday, the former Georgia standout didn’t tell his teammate that he was ...

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NEW YORK — After a turbulent season, the Jets will have a new offensive coordinator next season. The Jets and offensive coordinator Mike LaFleur parted ways Wednesday, according to a source. Earlier in the day, a report said LaFleur had been fired, but it was said to be inaccurate, according to a source at the time. The reports of LaFleur’s status led teams to inquire about his services for ...

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FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. — After two seasons, Falcons general manager Terry Fontenot and coach Arthur Smith are set to move the franchise into the “next phase” of their rebuilding plan. The Falcons completed a 7-10 season with a 30-17 win over Tampa Bay on Sunday. Former defensive coordinator Dean Pees retired Monday. The biggest issue facing the Falcons is making a decision on whether quarterback ...

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MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. — Here’s the worst part of Wednesday: You know what the Miami Dolphins have to do this offseason. You don’t know if they’ll actually do it, because, well, look at their past 20 years of wrong-way quarterback decisions. It’s tough enough that Tua Tagovailoa will miss Sunday’s playoff game in Buffalo, that he’ll have to deal with his two (or three) concussions from this ...

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TAMPA, Fla. — Linebacker Lavonte David quoted the message written on the grease board in the Bucs locker room this week. “It’s a new season,” he said. Who wrote it? “I did,” David said, smiling. The handwriting may not be on the wall, per se, there is certainly an expectation that the 8-9 Bucs may not be as good as the 12-5 Cowboys team they beat in Week 1 of the regular season in Dallas. Even ...

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