Topsy-turvy NFC playoff field: 5 newcomers plus Falcons

FILE - In this Dec. 31, 2017, file photo, Philadelphia Eagles' Nick Foles (9) throws a pass over Dallas Cowboys' DeMarcus Lawrence (90) during the first half of an NFL football game in Philadelphia. The Eagles earned the top seed in the NFC playoffs for the first time since 2004. (AP Photo/Chris Szagola, File)

In the topsy-turvy NFC playoffs, only the Falcons return from last year, and they sneaked in as the sixth and final team. They narrowly avoided the same fate as the Cowboys, Seahawks, Packers, Giants and Lions — all sitting this one out.

Brady, Patriots again top the AFC playoff field

FILE - In this Sunday, Dec. 24, 2017, file photo, New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady celebrates a touchdown by running back Dion Lewis during the second half of an NFL football game against the Buffalo Bills,, in Foxborough, Mass. Brady and the Patriots again top the AFC playoff field. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa, File)

In a year when two-thirds of the NFL playoff field is new, the AFC still features fixtures Tom Brady and Ben Roethlisberger , who have seven Super Bowl rings between them, and Alex Smith, who is coming off his best season of his 13-year career.

In copycat NFL, Seattle scheme keeps spreading

FILE - In this Sept. 22, 2013, file photo, Seattle Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll, left, and Jacksonville Jaguars head coach Gus Bradley talk in the rain before an NFL football game in Seattle. The scheme that carried the Seahawks to consecutive Super Bowls (2013-14) has become increasingly popular around the league. It helped Atlanta get to the big game last year and was the catalyst for Jacksonville's stunning turnaround this season. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren, File)

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Seattle didn’t make the playoffs, but its defense essentially did.

More of the same: Bengals stick with Lewis

Cincinnati Bengals NFL football head coach Marvin Lewis smiles as he speaks during a news conference following an announcement that he will remain in his position for an additional two seasons, Wednesday, Jan. 3, 2018, in Cincinnati. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)

CINCINNATI — The assistant head coach is gone, but head coach Marvin Lewis is coming back for a 16th try at a playoff victory.

Woods’ back among top questions in new year in golf

FILE - In this Dec. 3, 2017, file photo, Tiger Woods tees off from the 14th hole during the final round of the Hero World Challenge golf tournament at Albany Golf Club in Nassau, Bahamas. How Woods fares this year is one of the top story lines for 2018. (AP Photo/Dante Carrer, File)

KAPALUA, Hawaii — The PGA Tour rings in the new year at Kapalua for the 20th straight time. After all these years, the one moment that stands above all others was the titanic battle between Tiger Woods and Ernie Els in 2000.

Booker, Chriss lead late rally to boost Suns past Hawks

Phoenix Suns guard Devin Booker (1) drives on Atlanta Hawks guard Marco Belinelli during the second half of an NBA basketball game Tuesday, Jan. 2, 2018, in Phoenix. The Suns defeated the Hawks 104-103. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri)

PHOENIX (AP) — The Phoenix Suns appeared headed for an ugly home loss to the Atlanta Hawks until the frantic final minutes.



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