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AFC, NFC playoffs all set…Richt steps down at Miami…Applewhite fired by Houston

UNDATED (AP) – The Baltimore Ravens captured the AFC North title with a 26-24 victory over Cleveland, and the Indianapolis Colts knocked both Pittsburgh and Tennessee out of the postseason by beating the Titans, 33-17. The Kansas City Chiefs clobbered the Raiders, 35-3 to win the AFC West and a first-round bye, New England rolled to a 38-3 win over the New York Jets to take the No. 2 seed, and Houston clinched the AFC South with a 20-3 victory against Jacksonville. The AFC wild-card matchups have the Texans hosting the Colts and the Chargers visiting Baltimore.

UNDATED (AP) – The Philadelphia Eagles grabbed the final NFC playoff berth with a 24-0 shutout and Minnesota’s 24-10 loss to Chicago. The Los Angeles Rams beat San Francisco, 48-32 to take the No. 2 seed in the NFC postseason and a first-round bye. The NFC wild-card round will have the Eagles taking on the Bears in Chicago and the Dallas Cowboys hosting the Seattle Seahawks.

MIAMI (AP) – Mark Richt has stepped down as Miami’s football coach, saying he was not forced out, and that the decision to retire was his. Miami struggled to a 7-6 record this season, falling to Wisconsin in the Pinstripe Bowl on Thursday night. The Hurricanes have lost nine of their last 16 games going back to a 10-0 start last season.

HOUSTON (AP) – Houston has fired coach Major Applewhite after two seasons. The Cougars lost four of their last five games after starting 7-1 and earning a ranking in the AP Top 25 for one week in late October. Houston finished its season with a 70-14 loss to Army in the Armed Forces Bowl. Houston went 7-5 in Applewhite’s first season, capped by a 33-27 loss to Fresno State in the Hawaii Bowl.

TORONTO (AP) – Kawhi Leonard scored 27 points and Pascal Siakam had 20 with 12 rebounds as the Raptors beat the Bulls for the seventh straight time, 95-89. Ahead 68-65 to start the fourth, the Raptors got back-to-back 3-pointers from Delon Wright and Siakam and held a 74-65 lead at 10:10. Toronto is 27-11 and three percentage points behind the Bucks for the NBA’s best record.

AP-WF-12-31-18 1044GMT

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