Beating the practically QB-less Jets was not exactly a major feat, but at least the Saints took care of business.

Now they face the Falcons for the second time in three games and have a chance to make amends for their loss in Atlanta. The late-game mistakes by QB Drew Brees and Coach Sean Payton were costly in that defeat, so they must be more reliable this time around.

Montana’s successor may have thrown for more touchdowns in Super Bowl 29, but no quarterback performance can quite compare to what Montana did to the Broncos in Super Bowl 24. Against Denver’s top-ranked scoring defense (14.1 points per game) Montana set, at the time, a Super Bowl record for touchdowns while also earning a quarterback rating of 147.6 and completing 13 consecutive passes.

Each week, national NFL writer Mark Maske ranks the league’s 32 teams. This week, the New England Patriots take advantage of the rule book and a questionable late-game decision by Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger to move back into the No. 1 spot. Pittsburgh stays in the top five despite the loss but is now looking up at the Panthers and Vikings, who look like the class of the NFC. Speaking of which, the L.A. Rams jump three spots after their destruction of the Seahawks in Seattle. And the Jaguars, now with double-digit wins for the first time since 2007, clock in at No. 5 with a return to the playoffs just a few weeks away.

Their shockingly lopsided victory in Seattle reestablishes the Rams as a top NFC contender. They went 2-2 in their four recent games against the Vikings, Saints, Eagles and Seahawks, and they close the regular season against the faltering Titans and the rebuilding 49ers. A 12-win season is well within reach.

What happened to the defense against the Giants? The secondary was carved up by Eli Manning, and the pass rush was nonexistent. The good news was the play of fill-in QB Nick Foles, who took over for the injured Carson Wentz and threw four TD passes. But the Eagles did not look like a Super Bowl team Sunday, and it had nothing to do with Foles.
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Broncos considering Ben McAdoo for QB coach, report says

The Broncos are interested in him as the quarterbacks coach under current coach Vance Joseph, KUSA reported.

McAdoo and Joseph already have a personal relationship, since they were on the same staff together in San Francisco. Another person the Broncos are considering is Ken Zampese, who most recently worked as the Bengals offensive coordinator.

Zampese was fired in September after a disastrous Week 2 performance.

The Bills are in the playoffs now, despite everything, practically in spite of themselves. Despite Peterman for a barely plausible reason.

After 17 years, they’re not throwing it back.

Still to be determined at ESPN is whether it sticks with a two-person booth or goes back to one play-by-play announcer and two game analysts. The last time it tried it — with Tony Kornheiser, Ron Jaworski and Mike Tirico — it flopped. ESPN dropped Kornheiser and went back to a two-person booth of Jaws and Tirico.

Bill Belichick won’t tolerate tardiness. Not even in a blizzard.

Patriots players know the snow expected from Winter Storm Grayson this week is no excuse to be late for meetings and practice.

“You certainly better leave yourself enough time to get here on time,” Patriots special teams captain Matthew Slater told reporters on Wednesday. “We all know there’s weather. Coach has mentioned that several times to the team. I wouldn’t want to be the guy who’s late (Thursday). But look, I don’t think we’re going to have an issue. Guys understand we need to be here. The expectation is what it is. We live in New England. There’s going to be weather. Give yourself some extra time; as simple as that.”

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Jones has continued to make public comments since then.

James took over from there, delivering another tour de force performance that didn’t seem likely when he was being treated by the medical staff and the Cavs playing sluggishly.

Cleveland built a nine-point lead in the first quarter and seemed ready to build on it when James made a surprising mistake.

Alone in the frontcourt for an uncontested dunk, James tried to showboat and rocketed the ball off the back of the rim, a miss that stunned the three-time champion and the crowd of 20,000-plus fans. James then forced a long 3-pointer on Cleveland’s next possession and before long the Nets were even at 20-all when Zeller made his first 3 of the season.

“I want to go to an environment where I can continue to get better,” Ohtani said during a recent news conference in Tokyo. “I felt the same way when I graduated from high school. And it is my strongest reason for wanting to go now.”

Mayfield, who many believe is the frontrunner to win the Heisman Trophy this season, also has been rising up the boards in many NFL mock drafts for 2018. Antics aside, the GM says, Mayfield’s talent is undeniable.

Owners accused Jones of, among other things, circulating “outdated” information about the talks in a campaign to slow or scuttle agreement on a new pact with Goodell.

The Times and Journal both speculated the letter is another sign Jones’ fellow owners are willing to sanction him, up to attempting to take the Cowboys franchise away from him. Pro Football Talk reported Sunday that owners have discussed the idea of expelling Jones from the league. On Monday they sent Jones a cease-and-desist notice.
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