New York — FOOTBALL
Detroit and Atlanta are in, Philadelphia and Chicago are out, Cincinnati is closing in on a playoff berth, and the New York Jets and Oakland need some help.
With one game remaining — Atlanta at New Orleans on Monday night — before teams hunker down for their finales next week, the most notable news was made by Detroit.
The last time the Lions were a force, Barry Sanders was in their backfield. Sanders retired after the 1998 season, and Detroit made the postseason the next year then plummeted to the bottom of the league. In 2008, the Lions posted the only 0-16 record in NFL history. Now, they're in the chase for the championship. Their 38-10 rout of San Diego on Saturday secured an NFC wild card.
At 10-5, the Lions join North champion Green Bay, West winner San Francisco, South leader New Orleans, and the Atlanta in the postseason parade. Either Dallas or the New York Giants also will get there — they meet Sunday night at the Meadowlands in a winner-take-all matchup for the NFC East title.
So if the Cowboys and Giants, both 8-7, are battling for the NFC East crown, where does that leave the Eagles (7-8)? Dreaming of the playoffs.
The Bengals (9-6) are in control in the AFC wild-card race, but if they lose to Baltimore (11-4), which needs a victory to clinch the AFC North over Pittsburgh (also 11-4), it brings three other teams into play for the final berth: Tennessee, Oakland and the New York Jets.
LANDOVER, Md. (AP) — Minnesota running back Adrian Peterson tore a ligament in his left knee Saturday after taking a direct hit in the Vikings' 33-26 victory over Washington.
The torn ACL would likely sideline Peterson for some nine months and make it difficult for him to return for the start of next season.
On the play after Peterson was hurt, Minnesota's Christian Ponder sustained a head injury when sacked by Adam Carriker and London Fletcher. Ponder remained in the game for one more play — a third-down incomplete pass — before heading to the locker room. Coach Leslie Frazier said Ponder had "concussion-like symptoms."
WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. (AP) — A federal judge has temporarily banned the public release of any documents or video related to civil rights lawsuits brought over the fatal shooting of a college football player by police.
The Journal News in White Plains reported Saturday that U.S. District Judge Kenneth Karas signed the order requested by parties in the civil cases stemming from Danroy Henry Jr.'s death.
Police shot the Pace student in October 2010 as the 20-year-old drove away from a ruckus outside a bar in Thornwood. A federal grand jury cleared a Pleasantville police officer of wrongdoing.BASKETBALL
DALLAS (AP) — NBA Commissioner David Stern was boosed by Dallas fans before the defending champion Mavericks opened the lockout-delayed season Sunday in a finals rematch with the Miami Heat.
Stern was on the court for the start of the Mavs' banner-raising ceremony honoring their first championship. The jeers came as soon as he spoke, but he quickly turned them into cheers by offering his congratulations to team owner Mark Cuban.
Cuban's often contentious relationship with Stern could've been as much of a reason for the boos as the lockout, which pushed the opener from Nov. 1 to Christmas and cut the season by 16 games.
Cuban and Miami's Micky Arison were among five owners who voted against the labor deal.
NEW YORK (AP) — New York Knicks rookie guard Iman Shumpert is expected to miss two to four weeks because of a sprained right knee ligament. The first-round pick from Georgia Tech was hurt in the second half of New York's 106-104 victory over Boston on Sunday when Celtics reserve Chris Wilcox appeared to bang into his leg.
MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) — The Memphis Grizzlies traded guard Greivis Vasquez to the New Orleans Hornets on Saturday for guard/forward Quincy Pondexter. The Grizzlies also signed Dante Cunningham after Charlotte failed to match an offer.
TORONTO (AP) — Toronto Maple Leafs coach Ron Wilson got his Christmas wish.
Two days after hinting on Twitter of his desire for a new contract, Wilson said the team gave him an extension. "'He came! He came!' Remember saying that as a little kid? Well he did: I got a new Red Ryder BB gun and a contract extension!" Wilson tweeted Sunday morning.
The team didn't immediately respond to an email seeking confirmation.