Packers Lock Up Top Seed in the NFC

Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images(GREEN BAY, Wis.) -- The Green Bay Packers beat the Chicago Bears 35-21 on Sunday, giving them home-field advantage throughout the NFC playoffs.

"We wanted the path to go through Lambeau," Packers coach Mike McCarthy said.

This is quite the opposite from when the Packers entered the playoffs last year, when they backed into the playoffs as a six seed.

The Packers play their final game of the regular season Sunday against the Lions.

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Scoreboard Roundup - 12/25/11

Thomas Northcut/Digital Vision(NEW YORK) -- NBA: The New York Knicks (1-0) hung on to beat the Boston Celtics (0-1), 106-104.

The Miami Heat (1-0) topped the Dallas Mavericks (0-1), 105-94.

The Chicago Bulls (1-0) rallied past the Los Angeles Lakers (0-1), 88-87.

The Oklahoma City Thunder (1-0) outmaneuvered the Orlando Magic (0-1), 97-89.

The Los Angeles Clippers (1-0) popped the Golden State Warriors (0-1), 105-86.

NFL: The Green Bay Packers (14-1) clinched home-field throughout the playoffs after beating the Chicago Bears (7-8), 35-21.

NCAA Basketball: (14) Xavier (9-3) stomped Southern Illinois (3-9), 87-77.

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Adrian Peterson Has Torn ACL, MCL

Patrick Smith/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- The Minnesota Vikings are in the midst of a disappointing 3-12 season, but to add insult to inury, the team found out that star running back Adrian Peterson suffered a devastating knee injury. An MRI revealed that Peterson tore his ACL and sources have told ESPN's Josina Anderson that Peterson also tore his MCL.

Peterson was hurt during the team's 33-26 win over the Washington Redskins. He suffered the injury when he was tackled by Redskins safety DeJon Gomes after Peterson had a three-yard run on the team's first offensive play of the second half.

The injury will likely sideline Peterson for at least nine months and a return to the field by mid-season would be the Vikings best-case scenario.

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49ers' David Akers New Field Goal King

Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images(SEATTLE) -- Among the free agent signings during the condensed NFL offseason, the San Francisco 49ers' signing of kicker David Akers was one of those that more-or-less flew under the radar. But in retrospect, it may have been one of the best free agent moves of the summer.

Akers kicked four field goals during the team's 19-17 win over the Seattle Seahawks, giving him 42 on the season. He now holds the NFL record for the most field goals in a single season. The previous record was held by Houston Texans kicker Neil Rackers, who kicked 38 field goals back in 2005 when he was a member of the Arizona Cardinals.

"All our players and coaches, everybody is real happy for David's success," 49ers head coach Jim Harbaugh said after the win.

Akers is in his 12th season in the NFL. This is his first season with the 49ers after spending his whole career with the Philadelphia Eagles.

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Maple Leafs Give Coach Ron Wilson Contract Extension

Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images(TORONTO) -- In the spirit of the holiday season, the Toronto Maple Leafs have given head coach Ron Wilson a gift to remember. The team has agreed to extend Wilson's contract, despite its struggles in recent seasons. Terms of the deal were not immediately released.

"He came. He came!" Wilson tweeted Christmas morning, perhaps referring to Santa Claus. "Remember saying that as a kid? Well he did: I got a new Red Ryder BB gun and a contract extension!"

The 56-year old Wilson was hired by the Maple Leafs in June of 2008 and has gone 119-120-42 over that span. Wilson has the most wins of any other active NHL coach with 637. Despite his success, which spans 18 seasons, he has yet to lead the Maple Leafs to the playoffs.

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Patriots Clinch First-Round Bye 

Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images(FOXBOROUGH, MA) -- The New England Patriots clinched at least the two seed in the AFC, with their 27-24 win over the Miami Dolphins.

The Patriots trailed by 17 at the half before capping the comeback with a one yard Tom Brady touchdown sneak. 

"There's always things that are going to go wrong in a football game and things aren't going to work out the way you want them to all the time," said Patriots receiver Wes Welker,  "The main thing is just playing a full 60 minutes and never giving in and understanding that one drive and one score (can) get things going."

The Patriots finish off their season next Sunday against the Buffalo Bills.

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Detroit Lions Clinch First Playoff Birth Since 1999

Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images(DETROIT) -- The Detroit Lions clinched their first playoff birth since 1999, by beating the San Diego Chargers 38-10.

"There's going to be a time that we don't celebrate getting to the playoffs, but it's not going to be tonight," Schwartz said. "It's been a long time coming."

The win was the Lions' third straight.  They will get a chance to improve their playoff position next week, when they head to Lambeau Field to take on division rival Green Bay. 

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Scoreboard Roundup - 12/24/11

Scott Boehm/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- NFL: The Buffalo Bills (6-9) bucked the Denver Broncos (8-7),40-14.

The Cincinnati Bengals (9-6) turn away the Arizona Cardinals (7-8), 23-16.

The Tennessee Titans (8-7) tame the Jacksonville Jaguars (4-11), 23-17.

The Oakland Raiders (8-7) get by the Kansas City Chiefs (6-9), 16-13.

The New England Patriots (12-3) rally and beat the Miami Dolphins (5-10), 27-24.

The New York Giants (8-7) stop the New York Jets (8-7), 29-14.

The Pittsburgh Steelers (11-4) roll by the St. Louis Rams (2-13), 27-0.

The Minnesota Vikings (3-12) romp the Washington Redskins (5-10), 33-26.

The Carolina Panthers (6-9) destroy the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (4-11), 48-16.

The Baltimore Ravens (11-4) hang on and beat the Cleveland Browns (4-11), 20-14.

The Detroit Lions (10-5) earn their first playoff birth since 1999 by beating the San Diego Chargers (7-8), 38-10.

The Philadelphia Eagles (7-8) buckle down the Dallas Cowboys (8-7), 20-7.

The San Francisco 49ers (12-3) come back and win over the Seattle Seahawks (7-8), 19-17.

NCAAF: In the Sheraton Hawaii Bowl, Southern Mississippi (12-2) closed out Nevada (7-6), 24-17.


Panthers Newton Breaks Rookie Passing Record

Streeter Lecka/Getty Images(CHARLOTTE, N.C.) -- Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton put a stamp on his incredible rookie season. During the team's 48-16 win over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Newton set the rookie record for most passing yards in a season.

Newton needed just 17 yards heading into the game to break Peyton Manning's record of 3,739 yards back in 1998. Newton got those 17 yards during the team's first offensive drive when he threw a seven-yard pass to Brandon LaFell. While Newton was at it, he also threw a franchise record 91-yard touchdown pass to LaFell later in the game.

Newton finished with 171 passing yards with three touchdowns, while he also ran for 65 yards, including a 49-yard touchdown run. For the season, Newton has passed for 3,893 yards and has ran for 674 rushing yards.

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Report: Athletics Will Be Given Permission To Move To San Jose

Major League Baseball(NEW YORK) -- According to Bob Nightengale of USA Today, the Oakland Athletics will be allowed to move the team to San Jose by February.

The team has been trying to get out of Oakland for quite some time, but the team's efforts had been halted by Major League Baseball so that Commissioner Bud Selig's-appointed committee could look into the matter.

The San Francisco Giants own the territorial rights for San Jose and until now, they had been hesitant to let the move happen. Nightengale is also reporting that the move will taken to vote by the other MLB owners.

The Atletics have already purchased land in the San Jose area for a potential new stadium. Co-owner Lew Wolff has suggested that a new ball park could be ready within 30-36 months pending approval from Major League Baseball.

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