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Report: Lurie has already told Reid he’s fired

Philadelphia Eagles v New York Giants Getty Images

As with some other coaching jobs, the Eagles’ has been all but official for weeks.

You can now remove the “all but.”

According to Reuben Frank of CSNPhilly.com, Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie has already told coach Andy Reid he’s fired.

The move ends a 14-year run for Reid, who was the longest-tenured active coach in the league.

The 54-year-old Reid won three NFL coach of the year awards, and made five NFC Championship Games, losing his only trip to the Super Bowl.

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Bills get to 9-7 with win over coasting Patriots

orton AP

In a game that didn’t mean much of anything to either team, the Bills emerged victorious over the Patriots today and can take pride in this: For the first time in a decade, Buffalo has finished a season with a winning record.

The Bills’ 17-9 victory puts them at 9-7 on the season, their first winning record since another 9-7 finish in 2004. The Bills had nine straight losing seasons until this year.

That represents progress, but today’s game didn’t mean much of anything. The Patriots, who had already clinched home-field advantage throughout the AFC playoffs, coasted through the game. Tom Brady exited early after going 8-for-16 for 80 yards. Brady was replaced by rookie Jimmy Garoppolo, who made a few good throws but didn’t do anything special.

The Bills got decent games from quarterback Kyle Orton and receiver Sammy Watkins, but the big question facing Buffalo going forward is whether it has the quarterback who can finally get the Bills back to the playoffs. Buffalo has plenty of talent on defense and some good young skill position players on offense, but it seems unlikely that either the veteran Orton or the 2013 first-round draft pick he replaced, EJ Manuel, is the long-term answer.

For the Patriots, the purpose of this game was to get out of it without any major injuries, and it appears that they succeeded, with one possible exception: Starting left tackle Nate Solder left the game with a knee injury. There was no immediate word on the severity of that injury.

Now the Patriots will get a week off and host a playoff game in two weeks. And the Bills will get to work on trying to put together another winning season next year — and perhaps threaten the Patriots in the AFC East.

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Sheldon Richardson complains on Twitter about being yanked from game

Richardson Getty Images

The Jets have ruled out defensive tackle Sheldon Richardson with a head injury suffered in Sunday’s regular-season finale at Miami.  And Richardson isn’t happy about that.

“Jets nation I’m fine thanks for your concern/support they won’t let me back on the field to support my guys !!!! JET UP!!!!” Richardson tweeted after being yanked from the game.

Richardson also may think the NFL’s social media policy sucks.  It prohibits players from using Twitter during a game.

Maybe Richardson ultimately will blame it on the concussion he doesn’t believe he has.

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Max Unger out for Seahawks

New York Giants v Seattle Seahawks Getty Images

The Seahawks are trying to sew up home field advantage in the NFC playoffs against the Rams on Sunday afternoon, but they won’t have center Max Unger back for the effort.

Unger will miss his sixth straight game with a high ankle sprain. There was some hope that Unger could return this week and he was listed as questionable on Friday’s injury, but it a full return to action will have to wait until the playoffs get underway. It’s the 10th game that Unger has missed overall this season.

Defensive end Demarcus Dobbs, wide receiver Jermaine Kearse, cornerback Tharold Simon, tight end Cooper Helfet and guard Keavon Martin are also inactive for Seattle.

The Rams will play without cornerback E.J. Gaines, tight end Justice Cunningham, offensive lineman Barrett Jones, guard Brandon Washington, tight end Alex Bayer, defensive lineman Ethan Westbrooks and defensive tackle Alex Carrington.

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Ravens have their work cut out for them vs. Browns

DeAngelo Tyson, Connor Shaw AP

Uh-oh.

Terrance West’s two-yard third-quarter TD run has given the underdog Browns a 10-3 lead as the final period begins in Baltimore.

West’s score was set up by rookie quarterback Connor Shaw’s 49-yard pass to first-year wideout Taylor Gabriel. One play later, West, a rookie from Towson, was in the end zone.

The Ravens’ offense has struggled for a second consecutive game, racking up just 181 yards on 44 plays.

Shaw, meanwhile, has acquitted himself well, connecting on 10-of-15 passes for 152 yards with one lost fumble.

UPDATE: The Ravens have drawn to within 10-6 with 8:23 left in regulation.

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NRG Stadium not displaying out-of-town scores

Texans Getty Images

With the Chargers trailing by 12 in Kansas City and the Ravens down by seven at home to the Browns, the Texans could finagle a playoff spot with a win over the Jaguars.

And the Texans may not realize that.  Based on how they’re playing, they apparently don’t.

Via Garrett Heinrich of CBS Houston, NRG Stadium isn’t displaying out-of-town scores during the Jaguars-Texans game.

If the Chargers lose to the Chiefs and the Ravens lose to the Browns, the Texans will make it to the playoffs with a win over the Jaguars.  If the Jaguars win and the Chargers and Ravens lose, the Chiefs get in.

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Drew Brees has three picks, as Saints trail 20-7

Drew Brees, Clinton McDonald AP

When discussing the downfall of the 2014 Saints, it’s easy to point to the defense.

Primarily, because it’s been really bad.

But quarterback Drew Brees isn’t doing them any favors today, saving one of his worst performances of the year for last.

Brees has been picked off three times, and the Saints trail the Buccaneers 20-7 in the third quarter.

Six of his 17 picks this year are against the Bucs.

He’s 17-of-28 passing for 188 yards, for a clean 41.1 passer rating, and this is not exactly a vintage Bucs defense.

The Saints look like they’re ready for this one to be over, but they need to spend some time looking at their offensive issues this offseason as well.

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Titans inching toward No. 1 overall pick

Coby Fleener, Donte Moncrief AP

Titans fans hoping their club garners the No. 1 overall pick don’t have any complaints at the moment.

The Colts have edged to a 17-7 third-quarter lead at Tennessee (2-13). Meanwhile, the 2-13 Buccaneers are up 20-7 against the Saints.

In short, if the results hold, the Titans will have the top selection in the 2015 NFL Draft.

The Colts — who have clinched the No. 4 seed in the AFC — have pulled quarterback Andrew Luck as the third quarter begins in Nashville. Luck threw for 160 yards and two scores, with half of the yardage coming on one second-quarter completion to Reggie Wayne.

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Lamar Miller goes 97 yards for a touchdown

New York Jets v Miami Dolphins Getty Images

Entering Sunday’s action, only four men in NFL history have run the ball for more than 96 yards from scrimmage.

Lamar Miller made it five in the third quarter against the Jets. One play after the Dolphins Defense stoned the Jets on fourth down, Miller took the ball from Ryan Tannehill and eluded a couple of attempted tackles before turning on his own jets for a touchdown. He joins Bob Gage (1949) and Andy Uram (1939) as players with 97-yard runs and they trail only Ahman Green (98 yards in 2003) and Tony Dorsett (99 yards in 1982).

The run also put Miller over 1,000 yards for the season. It’s the first time the third-year player has crossed that milestone and his eight touchdowns are also a career high.

The score extended Miami’s lead to 24-14, but the lead dropped back to three points a short time later as Eric Decker burnt Cortland Finnegan for a 74-yard touchdown. It’s the second time Decker, who was out briefly with a shoulder injury, has burnt Finnegan for a long gain on the afternoon.

The Jets have lost standout defensive tackle Sheldon Richardson for the rest of the day (and season) with a head injury.

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Bears, Vikings quietly finishing out their seasons

Matt Forte AP

Like golfers trying to squeeze in nine holes before work, Sunday’s Bears-Vikings game is moving quickly along, with Chicago edging to a 6-3 early third-quarter lead.

Both clubs traded field goals in the first half, with Minnesota’s Blair Walsh hitting a 37-yarder and Chicago’s Jay Feely connecting from 48 yards.

Three plays ruled touchdowns on the field — catches by Minnesota’s Greg Jennings and Chicago’s Alshon Jeffery and an interception by Chicago’s Kyle Fuller — have been overturned upon review.

Chicago’s Matt Forte (12 carries, 44 yards) has exceeded 1,000 rushing yards for the second consecutive season.

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Eagles lead 17-16 at halftime of Sanchez’s return to MetLife

Philadelphia Eagles v New York Giants Getty Images

Neither the Giants nor the Eagles are going to the playoffs this season and Sunday’s performance by both defenses is making a strong argument for why they’re missing out.

The Eagles and Giants have combined for more than 540 yards of offense through two quarters while trading romps down the field, although the teams have settled for four field goals due to some poor execution near the goal line. Eagles kicker Cody Parkey hit the last of them and his team leads 17-16 at the half.

Mark Sanchez’s return to MetLife Stadium has been a mixed bag. He threw two touchdowns in the first quarter, but threw an interception and has been sacked twice to keep the Eagles from fully capitalizing on the Giants’ defensive deficiencies.

Odell Beckham has six catches for 75 yards, but the offensive star for the Giants has been Rueben Randle. Randle has five catches for 134 yards to end a frustrating season on a high note, but Eli Manning has completed just 14-of-30 passes on a day when the Giants have joined the Eagles in leaving even more points on the field.

It’s been a sloppy day all over, including for the officials. A pass interference call on the Giants before one of Sanchez’s touchdown passes was questionable and a late second quarter play saw Beckham take off his helmet while protesting the lack of a call on Eagles defensive backs. There could have been a flag on the Eagles and probably should have been a flag on Beckham for removing his helmet, but the officiating crew apparently wasn’t in the mood to penalize anyone.

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Texans keep getting hurt, keep hanging around

Arian Foster, Case Keenum AP

Even with Case Kennum under center, and even with Alfred Blue in the backfield, the Texans are alarmingly close to making the playoffs.

They’re up 14-10 over the Jaguars at halftime, with results that are favorable to them.

They could get in the playoffs with a win and losses by the Chargers (who are losing to the Chiefs) and the Ravens (who are tied with the Browns).

Houston’s also doing it without Arian Foster, who left the game with a hamstring injury and won’t return.

They’ve done just enough so far, and go into the third quarter of a finale with a chance. That speaks to the coaching job done by Bill O’Brien this year.

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Dolphins grab lead just before halftime

Lamar Miller, Quinton Coples AP

The Dolphins are 30 minutes away from their first winning season of the Joe Philbin era.

Philbin’s return for 2015 was confirmed by owner Stephen Ross after last week’s win and his team is trying to send him out on a winning streak against the Jets on Sunday. Ryan Tannehill hit Charles Clay for a 25-yard touchdown late in the second quarter to give the Dolphins a 17-14 lead over their AFC East rivals at the half.

Tannehill is 15-of-20 for 161 yards thus far and Lamar Miller has run 11 times for 51 yards as he tries for his first 1,000-yard season. He needs 28 more yards to reach that milestone and Tannehill is 53 yards shy of 4,000 passing yards.

Geno Smith threw an incompletion after opening the game with eight straight completions, but finished the half 9-of-10 for 122 yards and a touchdown. His fumble set the Dolphins up with a short field for their first touchdown, however, and that’s proven to be the difference.

Coming back to send Rex Ryan out a winner will be made more difficult if wide receiver Eric Decker remains out. Decker left after appearing to injure his shoulder while trying to make a catch in the second quarter.

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Browns, Ravens tied at three at halftime

Justin Forsett, Paul Kruger, Billy Winn AP

The short-handed Browns are giving the Ravens a game.

Led by a strong effort by their defense, the Browns have fought to a 3-3 tie after two quarters in Baltimore.

The Ravens got on the board first on a 25-yard second-quarter field goal by Justin Tucker, with Justin Forsett’s 32-yard rush a key play on the drive. However, Baltimore has had a pair of marches inside the Cleveland 10 result in just three total points.

The Browns would counter with a Garrett Hartley 38-yard-field goal with 2:32 left in the half. A 36-yard rush by Terrance West helped spark the march.

The Ravens will clinch a wild-card berth with a victory and a Chargers loss at Kansas City.

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Chiefs take 16-7 lead, Justin Houston has two sacks

chasedaniel AP

The Kansas City Chiefs need to win and get some help to make the playoffs. Whether they get help remains to be seen, but they’re taking care of their own business.

The Chiefs have jumped out to a 16-7 lead just before halftime over the Chargers, who entered today leading the race for the sixth and final AFC playoff spot. If the Chargers win they’re in the playoffs; if the Chiefs win they need the Ravens and Texans to lose.

For the Chiefs, Justin Houston has recorded two sacks in the first half, giving him an NFL-leading 20.0 sacks on the season. Houston’s J.J. Watt also has two sacks today and is at 19.5 sacks on the season.

The Chiefs nearly got their first touchdown of the season by a wide receiver when quarterback Chase Daniel hit Dwayne Bowe near the goal line. The officials on the field initially signaled that Bowe had scored, but on replay the referee ruled that Bowe fumbled into the end zone and it was actually Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce, who recovered the fumble, who had scored the touchdown. The Chiefs could become the first NFL team since 1950 to go an entire season without a wide receiver scoring a touchdown.

But that’s of little importance in Kansas City. What matters is whether they can get the win and get to the playoffs, and on that count they’re at least taking care of their own part of the deal.

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Geno Smith opens 8-of-8 in 2015 audition

New York Jets v Minnesota Vikings Getty Images

The Jets have reportedly already started making moves toward hiring a new coach and general manager, changes that would leave Geno Smith’s future with the organization in different hands.

He’s doing his best to leave them with a positive impression when they watch film of Week 17. Smith has opened the game 8-of-8 for 125 yards as the Jets have grabbed a 14-10 lead in Miami.

Smith hit Eric Decker for a long pass past Cortland Finnegan and then threw a touchdown pass to Chris Ivory to put the Jets back in front in the second quarter. He also hit Chris Owusu for 36 yards to set up an Owusu touchdown run in the first quarter.

Not all the tape will be good. Smith also fumbled while running with the ball in his hand in a pose that could best be described as a person trying to keep something from getting wet while wading through shallow weather. The Dolphins scored a few plays later on a Daniel Thomas touchdown run.

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