Update on the latest in sports:


Associated Press

Posted on December 30, 2012 at 3:09 PM

Updated Sunday, Dec 30 at 3:09 PM


Jockeying for NFL playoff seeds.

UNDATED (AP) — The Chicago Bears and New York Giants need some help to make the NFL playoffs. Both teams are holding up their end of the equation by playing well in the first half of their games this afternoon.

Jay Cutler threw a 60-yard touchdown pass to Earl Bennett and Matt Forte (FOHR'-tay) scored on a one-yard run to help the Bears take a 20-10 halftime lead in Detroit. Cutler threw for 155 yards in the first half.

The Bears will reach the postseason with a win and a Minnesota loss or tie. Chicago would also extend its season with a tie against the Lions if the Vikings lose to the Packers,

Eli Manning completed 11 of his 16 passes for 196 yards and four touchdowns as the Giants built a 35-7 halftime lead over the visiting Eagles. Ahmad Bradshaw and David Wilson each scored TDs and combined for over 100 rushing yards. Rueben Randle had four catches for 58 yards and two scores.

Big Blue needs to beat Philadelphia and hope for losses by Dallas, Chicago and Minnesota to make the playoffs.

Also at halftime:

— Ben Roethlisberger's (RAWTH'-lis-bur-gurz) one-yard touchdown pass to Leonard Pope with 47 seconds left in the first half gave Pittsburgh a 10-3 lead over Cleveland at the break.

— Connor Barth hit two field goals and Josh Freeman hit Mike Williams for an eight-yard touchdown pass to put Tampa Bay ahead of Atlanta 13-3. Freeman was 12-of-18 for 138 yards.

— Ryan Fitzpatrick's 66-yard touchdown pass to C.J. Spiller with 3:21 remaining put Buffalo ahead of the New York Jets 14-9. The Bills scored their other touchdown on Bryan Scott's 20-yard interception return in the first quarter.

— Andrew Luck hit Coby Fleener for a one-yard TD and Vick Ballard ran for a one-yard score to give Indianapolis a 14-6 lead over Houston. Colts head coach Chuck Pagano is on the sideline for the first time since he began treatment for leukemia Sept. 26.

— Jonathan Vilma brought back an interception 18 yards for a go-ahead touchdown in the second quarter to help New Orleans build a 17-13 advantage over Carolina. Vilma's TD came 43 seconds after Drew Brees (breez) threw a seven-yard touchdown pass to Marques Colston.

— Baltimore and Cincinnati were tied 7-7 after Marvin Jones' 11-yard scoring reception from Andy Dalton with 39 seconds left. The Bengals had just 94 yards of total offense before Dalton's scoring throw.

— Tennessee scored twice in the last two minutes of the second quarter to head into the locker room leading Jacksonville 21-14. Zach Brown tied it with a 79-yard interception return for a touchdown, 75 seconds before Darius Reynaud brought back a punt 69 yards for a score.

It's quite possible the NFC playoff seedings won't be decided until the very last play of the regular season tonight in Landover, Maryland, where the Washington Redskins host the Dallas Cowboys. Both teams will be vying for the NFC East title, but they could also be playing for postseason survival depending on how things shake out during the afternoon games.

The Cowboys can't win a wild-card berth and will only make the playoffs by defeating the Redskins. Washington could still make the playoffs as a wild-card team with a loss provided Minnesota and Chicago both lose.

The Vikings host Green Bay in a late-afternoon game after the Bears play the Lions in Detroit. The Vikings will claim a wild-card berth with a victory, but they'll also get in with a tie if the Bears don't win. Minnesota could lose and make the playoffs provided the Bears lose and the Cowboys and New York Giants don't win.

Seattle already has wrapped up a playoff berth and can win the NFC West with a victory against the visiting St. Louis Rams and a San Francisco loss at home against Arizona. The Seahawks could also gain a first-round bye with a win over the Rams and losses by the 49ers and Packers.

The Niners will claim the NFC West as long as they don't lose to the Cardinals, or if the Seahawks don't win. A San Francisco victory and a Green Bay loss or tie would give the 49ers a first-round bye.

The AFC picture is clearer than the host of NFC scenarios. Houston, Denver, New England and Baltimore already have won division titles, while Indianapolis and Cincinnati own the wild-card slots.

A win over the Colts will give the Texans home-field advantage throughout the AFC playoffs. The Broncos would have home-field if they beat Kansas City and Houston doesn't win. A tie would also help Denver if the Texans lose to Indianapolis.

Should the Texans and Broncos lose, the Patriots would have home-field advantage if they beat the visiting Dolphins.

Atlanta already has locked up home-field advantage for the NFC playoffs.


Clippers eye 17th straight win

UNDATED (AP) — Just 15 teams in NBA history have had a winning streak as long as 17 games, the last being the Houston Rockets' 22-game run in 2007-08. The Los Angeles Clippers will look to join that group when they complete a home-and-home series with the visiting Utah Jazz later today.

The Clippers stretched their team-record winning streak by turning a 19-point, third-quarter deficit into a 116-114 win over the Jazz in Salt Lake City on Friday. Chris Paul scored L.A.'s final seven points that night and finished with 29 as the Clippers improved to a league-best 24-6.

Today's league slate begins with San Antonio visiting Dallas and Detroit entertaining Milwaukee. The Spurs carry a 23-8 record and a four-game winning streak into their game with the Mavericks, who will try to end a five-game skid.

Sacramento hosts Boston in today's other NBA contest. The Kings come off a wild 106-105 over the Knicks in which Sacramento blew a 27-point lead before beating New York on James Johnson's three-pointer at the buzzer.


Canada beats U.S.

UFA, Russia (AP) — The United States has fallen to 1-2 in the junior ice hockey world championships by falling to unbeaten Canada 2-1.

Edmonton Oilers forward Ryan Nugent Hopkins and New York Islanders prospect Ryan Stome (STROH'-mee) scored for the Canadians, who sit atop Group B a 3-0.

The Americans need to beat Slovakia on Monday in Group B to move on.

Finland beat Switzerland 5-4, the Czech Republic doubled up Latvia 4-2 and Slovakia downed Germany 2-1 in overtime.


Golfer breaks leg while skiing

MADRID (AP) — Spanish golfer Miguel Angel Jimenez has broken his right shinbone and will be sidelined for up to five months.

Jimenez said in a statement today that he had surgery on his leg after injuring it while skiing Saturday.