The NFC South title is going to go down to the final weekend, but at least the New Orleans Saints and Carolina Panthers now know they are going to the playoffs. The 11-4 Saints will be no worse than a wild-card team after a 23-13 victory over the Falcons Sunday. Drew Brees threw for 239 yards and joined Peyton Manning and Brett Favre as the only NFL quarterbacks to pass for over 70,000 yards in their career.
Cam Newton fumbled a snap and still had time to pick up the ball and score on a two-yard run with 35 seconds remaining to give the Panthers a 22-19 win over the Buccaneers to clinch a postseason berth.
Melvin Gordon scored on a one-yard run in the third quarter to break a 7-7 tie in the Chargers' 14-7 win over the Jets.
The Patriots inched closer to securing home-field advantage throughout the AFC playoffs by scoring three unanswered TDs in the second half of a 37-16 win over the Bills.
And Larry Fitzgerald caught nine passes for 119 yards and a touchdown as the Cardinals shut out the Giants 23-0. Fitzgerald also threw a 21-yard completion to Jaron Brown as the 7-8 Cardinals dropped New York to 2-13. Giants quarterback Eli Manning was intercepted twice.
On the NBA docket on this Christmas Day:
The Knicks host the 76ers at noon.
Cleveland is at Golden State at 3 in the day’s marquee matchup.
Washington is at Boston at 5:30.
OKC hosts Houston at 8. And the T-Wovles are at the Lakers at 10:30.
No. 6 Miami is the only top 25 college basketball team in action, playing Middle Tennessee at 8:30 in Hawaii.
And former Arizona baseball coach Jerry Kindall has died at 82. The school said he died of complications from a stroke suffered Thursday.
Kindall was the first man to win the College World Series as a player and a head coach. He coached Arizona to national titles in 1976, 1980 and 1986 after starring at shortstop on the University of Minnesota's 1956 championship team.