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N.F.L. Week 13: What We Learned

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It would be hard to draw up a weirder Sunday than one in which the Miami Dolphins, the Washington Redskins and the Cincinnati Bengals all won, while the New England Patriots and the San Francisco 49ers lost. The surprising victories by the league’s lesser teams provided plenty of entertainment, but Week 13 was all about the potential Super Bowl preview between the Baltimore Ravens and the 49ers, a pair of heavyweight teams that fought their way to a 20-17 classic.

Here’s what we learned:

  • A 49ers-Ravens Super Bowl would be intense. Watching these teams feel each other out was fascinating. It was 17-14 in favor of Baltimore at halftime, with both sides moving the ball consistently. But a series of defensive adjustments led to both offenses disappearing. The second half consisted of just seven drives, which resulted in two punts, two turnovers on downs, a fumble and two field goals. While the game didn’t match the scoring of last year’s 54-51 thriller between the Kansas City Chiefs and the Los Angeles Rams, it had every bit as much intensity, and for much of the second half there was a feeling that whichever team ended up with the ball last would win. Lamar Jackson and the Ravens made that a reality by grinding out the final 6 minutes 28 seconds with a drive that took 12 plays to go just 34 yards before Justin Tucker’s game-winning 49-yard field goal.

    Baltimore and San Francisco are two of the three most likely teams to make the Super Bowl, according to The Upshot, with New England being the third. Getting a chance to see the 49ers and Ravens face off again — after their offenses get a chance to watch the film and see what they were doing wrong — would be an absolute treat.

Aaron Rodgers threw four touchdown passes in the snow, and Ryan Tannehill continued to be ruthlessly efficient, but Watson’s performance, especially in the context of it coming against New England, stood out above the rest. Coming into the game, New England had allowed four passing touchdowns all season. Houston matched that total by itself, with Watson throwing three — one of which was a 35-yard bullet to Kenny Stills in the end zone — before being credited as a receiver on the fourth when DeAndre Hopkins took a handoff, ran the ball to the edge and then flipped the ball back to Watson who dove into the end zone.

Guice, who came into the game with just 74 rushing yards in a two-year career that has been hampered by knee injuries, got nearly double that on just 10 carries in a breakout performance. He and the veteran Adrian Peterson combined for 228 yards on the ground.

Robert Woods of the Rams had more receiving yards, but Parker absolutely dominated Philadelphia, making a pair of terrific touchdown catches in the enormous upset.

*Except when it takes more.

Chiefs 40, Raiders 9 It does not seem particularly fair for Kansas City to run up 40 points in a game in which Patrick Mahomes only threw one touchdown pass.

Texans 28, Patriots 22 New England made up for a slow start some with a push toward the end, but their first seven possessions were brutal: Field goal, interception, four straight punts and a turnover on downs.

Ravens 20, 49ers 17 Even in a loss, San Francisco’s pass defense looked terrific, holding Baltimore to 105 yards through the air — the 10th time in 12 games that the 49ers have held an opponent to 200 passing yards or less.

Packers 31, Giants 13 “I loved the conditions,” Aaron Rodgers told reporters of the snowy day at MetLife Stadium in which he threw for 243 yards and four touchdowns.

Titans 31, Colts 17 “It’s almost looking like a weapon for us,” Coach Mike Vrabel said of his team blocking a third field goal attempt in a span of three weeks.

Steelers 20, Browns 13 After falling behind by 10-0, Pittsburgh outscored Cleveland by 20-3 the rest of the way, getting some revenge for an ugly (and controversy-filled) loss in Week 11.

Rams 34, Cardinals 7 Jared Goff threw for 424 yards, Todd Gurley had 115 yards from scrimmage, Robert Woods had 172 receiving yards, Cooper Kupp and Brandin Cooks both contributed and the Los Angeles defense got a pick-6 from Taylor Rapp. Where has this team been all year?

Buccaneers 28, Jaguars 11 “It’s difficult,” Nick Foles said of a game in which he committed a turnovers on each of his team’s first three possessions. “But you know what, I’m going to look at the bright things and keep my head held high.”

Broncos 23, Chargers 20 If you’re Coach Anthony Lynn of the Chargers, and the Broncos run a last-second play that is fairly obviously designed to draw a pass interference penalty against your team, it had to sting to watch one of your players actually commit the penalty, setting up Denver’s game-winning field goal.

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Knicks Fire Coach David Fizdale

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The Knicks on Friday fired Coach David Fizdale and one of his assistants, Keith Smart, with the team on pace to record the worst season in franchise history.

Mike Miller, also an assistant coach, was named the interim head coach.

Fizdale was doomed by a 4-18 start, which included eight consecutive defeats — the past two at home by a combined 81 points to Milwaukee and Denver. Such margins are often regarded in the N.B.A. as clear signs that the players are no longer responding to the coach.

The reality, though, is that Fizdale had been on the brink of dismissal since Nov. 10, when the Knicks lost by 21 to the lowly Cleveland Cavaliers at Madison Square Garden. That defeat prompted the team president, Steve Mills, and General Manager Scott Perry to meet during the second half with the team owner, James L. Dolan, and then hold an unexpected postgame news conference in which they said that the team was falling short of expectations.

The Knicks are 2-10 since the Cleveland loss and have looked less and less competitive. Yet Fizdale’s departure, with a 21-83 record that sticks him with the lowest winning percentage of any coach in team history at .202, would appear to shift the pressure onto Mills and Perry.

Hours after seeing Durant and Irving land with the Nets, Mills issued a statement to the news media acknowledging that “while we understand that some Knicks fans could be disappointed with tonight’s news, we continue to be upbeat and confident in our plans to rebuild the Knicks to compete for championships in the future, through both the draft and targeted free agents.”

In an October radio interview, Durant shed some light on how much the Knicks’ stature has diminished under Dolan since the franchise’s last trip to the N.B.A. finals in 1999, saying that younger players, unlike fans, don’t remember the Knicks ever being good.

“I remember the Knicks being in the finals, but the kids after me didn’t see that. So the brand of the Knicks isn’t as cool to them as, let’s say, the Golden State Warriors or even the Lakers or the Nets now,” Durant said. “The cool thing right now is not the Knicks.”

A coaching change is bound to lead to better efforts from the Knicks, but their problems run far deeper.

Neither Dennis Smith Jr., the standout player acquired from Dallas in the Porzingis trade, nor Kevin Knox, the Knicks’ top draft pick in 2018, has shown signs of progress this season. The players Mills and Perry did manage to sign in July when they whiffed on Durant and Irving have created a logjam at power forward.

The website fivethirtyeight.com, run by Nate Silver, projected the Knicks to finish 20-62 after the summer signings of Julius Randle, Marcus Morris, Taj Gibson and Bobby Portis.

Fizdale is not even halfway through a four-year, $22 million deal he signed with the Knicks heading into last season. He said after losing 129-92 to the Nuggets on Thursday night that he was not concerned about being fired.

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Eli Manning Is Ready for Another Chance

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EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — For the past 11 weeks, as rookie Daniel Jones has taken over the spotlight as the starting quarterback of the Giants, Eli Manning has been running the scout team at practice. As the backup quarterback, Manning played in the style of opposing quarterbacks to prepare the Giants defense for what they will face on game day.

This week, Manning got to be himself again.

Manning, 38, was benched in Week 3 after the Giants (2-10) lost the first two games of the season. At the time, it seemed likely that Manning’s storied Giants career was coming to an end. But now Jones is sidelined with a high-ankle sprain and Manning will likely get at least one more shot, on Monday night against the Philadelphia Eagles (5-7).

“He’s a legend,” running back Saquon Barkley said. He added: “The way he operated in practice, the way he operated in the building was the same Eli that we know. Good to see him come out this week and get a chance. It’s going to be awesome for him.”

Jones was injured in the second quarter of the Giants’ loss to the Packers on Sunday. He played the entire game, but after a magnetic resonance imaging exam on Monday he was in a walking boot and was on the sidelines at practice during the week, biking and stretching.

“It’s pretty disappointing, especially after thinking I was going to be able to play,” Jones told reporters on Wednesday. “I understand it, I guess, and hopefully it’ll heal up pretty quickly.”

Last spring, the Giants drafted Jones, 22, sixth over all, and the expectation was that he would succeed Manning quickly. Jones made his first start against Tampa Bay on Sept. 22, when he led the Giants to a 32-31 comeback win. Jones has thrown for 18 touchdowns and has averaged 235.7 yards in his 10 starts.

Manning’s legacy with the Giants is already secure, despite his not being on the field for most of the season. He had been the face of the franchise since he was drafted in 2004, and he led the Giants to Super Bowl victories in the 2007 and 2011 seasons.

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Villarreal 0-0 Atletico Madrid – HIGHLIGHTS – 12/6/19

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Villarreal y Atlético Madrid no pudieron romper el cero y se tienen que conformar con el empate.

Atletico Madrid’s spiral continues with 0-0 draw with Villarreal in LaLiga.

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