The dirty little secret the bosses don't want the players to know -- and they're too dumb to figure it out on their own -- is: In all probability, in the real world, the Denver Broncos will make the playoffs without winning either of their last two games. \nFurthermore, the Broncos will be better off in the postseason if they lose to the Indianapolis Colts on Sunday night. But don't tell the players. Nevertheless, under no circumstances must Clinton Portis play this weekend. The Broncos can Michael Jackson moonwalk into the playoffs with a 9-7 record. \nThe other filthy piece of information realized by only a few football intellectuals is that if everything falls into place as it should, the Broncos will open the playoffs on Jan. 3 or 4 in Kansas City. \nThe Chiefs' Worst Nightmare and the Broncos' Best Dream. \nEven before the Broncos take the field Sunday evening and after the afternoon's games, they will have an unambiguous understanding of their standing. \nTo explain: \nNew England (12-2) and Kansas City (12-2) have clinched their division titles. Indianapolis (11-3) has clinched a playoff berth and is leading Tennessee in the AFC South. Cincinnati and Baltimore are tied in the AFC North at 8-6. \nThe wild-card possibilities are Tennessee, Denver, Miami and the runner-up in the AFC North. \nThe two division champions with fewer victories will be the hosts of the first weekend's games against the two wild-card teams. The other division champions receive byes. \nThe Patriots play in New Jersey against the Jets on Saturday and close with Buffalo at home. A split and New England gets a first-round bye. \nThe Colts have Denver and finish at Houston. Two more victories and Indianapolis, by virtue of the tiebreaker, gets a first-round pass if Kansas City splits its games at Minnesota on Saturday and at home against Chicago. \nThen, the Chiefs, as the No. 3 seed with a 13-3 mark, would play the No. 6 seed (lowest wild card) at Arrowhead Stadium in the first round of the playoffs. \nThe AFC North champion -- with a 10-6, 9-7 or even 8-8 record -- would play at home against the No. 5 seed, likely Tennessee. (A wild-card team cannot play at home even if it has a superior record to the division champion.) \nKeeping up? If not, reread the previous six paragraphs. We'll wait for you before moving on. \nOK. If Cincinnati wins the North and the Broncos, the Ravens and the Dolphins have the same record, the Broncos are the No. 6 seed by virtue of a better conference record. If Cincinnati wins and the Broncos and the Ravens tie, the Ravens get the wild-card berth because of a victory over the Broncos. If Cincinnati wins and the Broncos and the Dolphins tie, the Broncos are in the playoffs because of a better conference record. If Baltimore wins the North and Cincinnati and the Broncos tie, the Broncos are in because they beat the Bengals in the season opener. \nHere are the meaningful games (to the Broncos) on Saturday and Sunday: New England at Jets, Kansas City at Minnesota, Baltimore at Cleveland, Cincinnati at St. Louis, Miami at Buffalo and Tennessee at Houston. \nHere are the meaningful games the final weekend of the regular season: Buffalo at New England, Cleveland at Cincinnati, Indianapolis at Houston, Chicago at Kansas City, New York Jets at Miami, Tampa Bay at Tennessee, Pittsburgh at Baltimore and, of course, Denver at Green Bay. \nFor Denver fans, here's the rundown. \nMiami: Hope that the Dolphins, who choked against Philly on Monday night, gag at Buffalo, and they're done like dinner no matter the outcome of the finale. If they win Sunday, pull for the Jets at the Fish. \nCincinnati: Go Rams and Ravens. If St. Louis whips the Bengals, and Baltimore can win at Cleveland, then the Ravens have a major advantage. If Cincinnati somehow wins at St. Louis, cheer for the Ravens to lose both their games. \nBaltimore: You really, really want the Ravens to finish first in the AFC North. \nKansas City: Vikings, you da men. Vikes over Chiefs. Could the Chiefs lose the last home game to the Bears? Don't count on it. \nNew England: Two losses would be nice, but are unexpected and wouldn't matter to the Broncos unless Indy and KC win out. (Only then would it be conceivable for the Broncos to go to New England for the first playoff game.) \nTennessee: You'd like for the Titans to lose a couple just in case the Broncos win twice. \nIndianapolis: A Colts loss or victory Sunday night could be just fine for the Broncos.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Friday said that he had called in the “third umpire” as he announced that recreational cricket would be allowed to resume next weekend. In a radio interview earlier on Friday, Johnson angered thousands of club cricketers by saying that the amateur game was still not safe to play amid the COVID-19 pandemic because of issues surrounding communal teas and dressing rooms. “It’s the teas, it’s the changing rooms and so on and so forth. There are other factors involved that generate proximity which you might not get in a game of tennis,” he said. Johnson had already
Hong Kong media reported that police briefly detained a man in a Liverpool team jersey who shouted “long live Liverpool” during anti-government protests on Wednesday, over suspicion that he was inciting independence. In-Media reported that the man was across the street from police officers who were conducting stop-and-searches on a group of protesters, when he shouted: “Long live Liverpool.” Others reportedly cheered and joined in the chant, before officers detained him. The man told In-Media that police had accused him of inciting Hong Kong independence, which now is a punishable crime. He said that he has been a fan of the English soccer
Raptors guard Fred VanVleet is already in Florida with the rest of his Toronto teammates, and he knows the time to take a stand and counter the NBA plan to restart the season has passed, but his opinion on the matter has not changed. “It sucks,” VanVleet said on Monday in a videoconference of his choice to return to the court during the COVID-19 pandemic and Black Lives Matter campaign. “It’s terrible timing, but that’s been 2020 for us. We all know the right thing to do is to not play, to take a stand. Morally, yes, that makes sense, but
Legendary batsman Everton Weekes, the last of the famed West Indies “Three Ws,” died on Wednesday at the age of 95 and was hailed as “a founding father” of the sport in the Caribbean. “Our hearts are heavy as we mourn the loss of an icon. A legend, our hero, Sir Everton Weekes,” Cricket West Indies (CWI) wrote on Twitter. “Our condolences go out to his family, friends and many fans around the world. May he rest in peace.” Barbadian Weekes was part of a feared post-World War II West Indies team who also featured Clyde Walcott and Frank Worrell. Walcott died in