Lions will face Rams in NFC Playoffs, will be without Laporta – Monday Morning Sports Update


NFL – National Football League – Week 18 (Regular Season Finale)
Detroit Lions 30, Minnesota Vikings 20
Green Bay Packers 17, Chicago Bears 9

Lions 30, Vikings 20 – Playoff-bound Lions lose record-breaking rookie Sam LaPorta to knee injury in 30-20 win
Sam LaPorta had a 2-yard touchdown catch midway through the first quarter but later limped off the field with a knee injury in the Detroit Lions’ 30-20 win over the Minnesota Vikings. LaPorta’s injury is an ominous development for the NFC North champion Lions, who will host the Los Angeles Rams in the playoffs next weekend. Detroit could only hope to improve its playoff seeding by one spot, but coach Dan Campbell elected to play his starters anyway. Ultimately, the Lions remained the No. 3 seed in the NFC because Dallas won at Washington. The Lions finished 12-5, matching a franchise record for wins. The Vikings fell to 7-10 and their long-shot playoff hopes ended.  Coach Dan Campbell said after the game the injury wasn’t “as bad as it looked.” But he added, “it’s not good news.”

Packers 17, Bears 9 – Love comes through as Packers beat Bears 17-9 to clinch a playoff berth
Jordan Love threw for 316 yards and connected with Dontayvion Wicks on a pair of touchdowns to send the Green Bay Packers to the playoffs with a 17-9 victory over the Chicago Bears. The Packers needed a win to earn an NFC wild-card berth. Green Bay delivered by winning their third straight overall and beating the Bears for a 10th consecutive time. Love went 27 of 32 as Green Bay never punted all day. Chicago now heads into the offseason facing a major question about its quarterback situation.

Other Week 18 NFL Scores
Pittsburgh 17, Baltimore 10
Houston 23, Indianapolis 19
Cincinnati 31, Cleveland 14
N.Y. Jets 17, New England 3
New Orleans 48, Atlanta 17
Tampa Bay 9, Carolina 0
Tennessee 28, Jacksonville 20
Dallas 38, Washington 10
Kansas City 13, L.A. Chargers 12
L.A. Rams 21, San Francisco 20
Las Vegas 27, Denver 14
N.Y. Giants 27, Philadelphia 10
Seattle 21, Arizona 20
Buffalo 21, Miami 14

NFL Super Wild Card Round

NFC – National Football Conference

AFC – American Football Conference

1-San Francisco (Bye)
7-Green Bay at Dallas, Sunday 4:30 p.m. FOX
6-LA Rams at Detroit, Sunday, 8:15 p.m. NBC 
Game will be on Rock 107 WIRX, time TBA
5-Philadelphia at Tampa Bay, Monday 8:00 p.m. ESPN/ABC

1-Balimore (Bye)
7-Pittsburgh at 2-Buffalo, Sunday 1:00 p.m. CBS
6-Miami at 3-Kansas City, Saturday 8:15 p.m. Peacock
5-Cleveland at 4-Houston, Saturday 4:30 p.m. NBC

NFL – Fields faces offseason of uncertainty as Bears debate No. 1 overall pick
Chicago Bears quarterback Justin Fields has been through all this before. That helps explain why he refuses to spend the offseason dwelling on his uncertain future as the Bears debate whether to keep him as their starter or select his replacement in the upcoming draft. The Bears had the No. 1 overall pick in 2023 but traded it to Carolina. That deal helped Chicago land the top overall pick in 2024. Now the Bears must decide whether they stick with Fields or use the No. 1 overall pick on a quarterback such as Southern California’s Caleb Williams or North Carolina’s Drake Maye.

NFL – Falcons fire coach Arthur Smith hours after completing 3rd straight 7-10 season
Arthur Smith has been fired by the Atlanta Falcons after completing his third straight losing season. Smith inherited a rebuilding project in his first NFL head coaching job and failed to lift the Falcons from their playoff drought. The 41-year-old son of FedEx founder Fred Smith went 7-10 in each of his three seasons. Atlanta closed the season with an ugly 48-17 loss at New Orleans, its second consecutive lopsided defeat. That sealed Smith’s fate. He was hired by the Falcons in 2021 after a decade-long stint as an assistant with the Tennessee Titans in which he moved up to offensive coordinator.

NFL – Bill Belichick loses in possible finale as Patriots coach.
Breece Hall rushed for a career-high 178 yards and a late touchdown and the New York Jets snapped a 15-game losing streak against the Patriots with a 17-3 win in what could have been Bill Belichick’s final game as New England’s coach. Greg Zuerlein kicked three field goals to help the Jets earn their first victory over the Patriots since an overtime win on Dec. 27, 2015. The Patriots’ 4-13 record is the worst finish in Belichick’s 29-year NFL coaching career. Belichick and team owner Robert Kraft are expected to meet Monday to discuss the coach’s future with the franchise after 24 seasons.

NCAAFB – College Football Bowls
CFP National Championship presented by AT&T – NRG Stadium, Houston, TX
(1) Michigan vs. (2) Washington, 7:30 p.m.          News/Talk/Sports 94.9 WSJM 6:30 p.m.

NCAAFB – CFP Title Game caps season of realignment, transfers and Harbaugh
No. 1 Michigan and No. 2 Washington playing for the College Football Playoff national championship on Monday night is just about the perfect way to close the 2023 season. The matchup of unbeatens hits all the major themes of the past five months from conference realignment to the transfer portal — with Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh as the main character. Michael Penix Jr., the sixth-year quarterback who revived his career by transferring to Washington, and the Huskies will try to deliver the Pac-12 its first championship since 2004 in their last football game before joining Michigan in the Big Ten.

NCAAFB – Michigan’s Corum looks to cap record-breaking career with win
Blake Corum could have declared for the NFL draft after last season, but the Michigan running back had unfinished business. Corum followed up a junior season where he ran for a career-high 1,463 yards and 18 touchdowns by running for 1,111 yards and 25 scores this season to become the school’s all-time leader in rushing touchdowns with 56. As he prepared to play his final game Monday night in the College Football Playoff title game against Washington, Corum reflected on his decision.

NBA – National Basketball Association
Last Night
Denver Nuggets 131, Detroit Pistons 114

Nuggets 131, Pistons 114 – Murray scores 37, Jokic has 16 assists as Nuggets cruise to 131-114 win over Pistons
Jamal Murray scored a season-high 37 points, Nikola Jokic had 16 assists and the Denver Nuggets handed the Pistons their 18th straight road loss by routing Detroit 131-114 on Sunday night. Murray followed an off-shooting game against Orlando on Friday with a bounce-back one, hitting 14 of 24 shots from the floor. He also was 6 of 7 from the free throw line. Jokic was more distributor and shot blocker than scorer, taking just three shots and finishing with four points. The two-time NBA MVP tied a career-high with five blocked shots. Jalen Duren led Detroit with 20 points, while Alec Burks added 18.

Chicago Bulls at Charlotte Hornets, 7:00 p.m.
Boston Celtics at Indiana Pacers, 7:00 p.m.

NHL – National Hockey League
Last Night
Chicago Blackhawks 4, Calgary Flames 3
Detroit Red Wings 3, Anaheim Ducks 2

Blackhawks 4, Flames 3 – Blackwell helps the Blackhawks beat the Flames 4-3 in first game without Bedard
Colin Blackwell had two goals and an assist and the Chicago Blackhawks won their first game since Connor Bedard was sidelined by a broken jaw, topping the Calgary Flames 4-3. Nikita Zaitsev added a goal and an assist for last-place Chicago, which had dropped five in a row and seven of eight overall. Philipp Kurashev also scored, and Petr Mrazek made 28 saves. Bedard’s jaw was fractured when the No. 1 overall pick in last year’s draft was hit by New Jersey defenseman Brendan Smith in the first period of Friday night’s 4-2 loss to the Devils. Nazem Kadri had two goals for Calgary, which closed out a 2-2-0 road trip after losing 3-2 at Philadelphia on Saturday.

Red Wings 3, Ducks 2 – Michael Rasmussen’s late goal gets Red Wings past Ducks 3-2
Michael Rasmussen scored the go-ahead goal with 1:07 remaining and the Detroit Red Wings extended their winning streak to three games with a 3-2 victory Sunday over the Anaheim Ducks. Joe Veleno and Dylan Larkin also scored and Alex Lyon made 29 saves as the Red Wings completed a successful three-game California road trip. Trevor Zegras scored two goals for the Ducks and Lukas Dostal made 25 saves.

NCAAMBB – Men’s College Basketball
Penn State 79, Michigan 73
Northwestern 88, Michigan State 74

Penn State 79, Michigan 73 – Baldwin scores 25, big second half helps Penn State overcome Michigan 79-73
Ace Baldwin Jr. scored 25 points and Penn State scored 52 points in the second half to rally past Michigan 79-73 at the historic Palestra on the campus of the University of Pennsylvania. After trailing by as many as 14 points and never taking the lead in the first half, the Nittany Lions outscored Michigan 27-12 over the first 10 minutes of the second half. The Nittany Lions went on to lead by 11 points and Baldwin’s six-point run helped them maintain a nine-point advantage heading to the final two minutes. Michigan got within four points twice in the final minute, but Penn State made 7 of 8 from the line to secure the victory.

Northwestern 88, Michigan State 74 – Berry scores 22, Buie adds 19 as Northwestern beats MSU 88-74
Ty Berry scored 22 points, Boo Buie had his first career double-double and Northwestern beat Michigan State 88-74 to snap the Spartans’ five-game win streak. Berry made 7 of 11 from the field, 4 of 7 from 3-point range and 4 of 4 from the free-throw line. Buie was just 6-of-15 shooting, 1 of 6 from 3-point range, but finished with 19 points and a career-high 10 assists with no turnovers. Berry hit a 3-pointer to give Northwestern the lead for good before Langborg capped a 13-4 spurt with a jumper that made it 31-26 with 6:32 left until halftime. Tyson Walker scored 27 points for Michigan State. Northwestern has won three in a row against the Spartan for the first time in more than 60 years.

NCAAWBB – Women’s College Basketball
North Carolina 61, (14) Notre Dame 57

UNC 61, (14) Notre Dame 57 – Nivar scores 10 of 16 in 4th, UNC women get first win at No. 16 Notre Dame 61-57
Indya Nivar scored 10 of her 16 points in the fourth quarter and finished with five steals, Lexi Donarski added 13 points and North Carolina beat No. 16 Notre Dame 61-57. North Carolina, which is 5-10 all time against the Irish, won for the first time in six tries at Notre Dame. Sonia Citron scored 18 points for Notre Dame and Hannah Hidalgo added 17 and 11 rebounds. The Irish used a 9-1 run to make it 55-all with 3:41 left. Maria Gakdeng made 1-of-2 free throws about a minute later and Nivar kissed a running left-hand layup high off the glass to make it 58-55 with 1:44 to go.

Golf – PGA – Chris Kirk makes late birdie to take PGA Tour season opener at Kapalua
Chris Kirk continues his inspiring comeback. He opened the PGA Tour season with a victory at The Sentry, beating Sahith Theegala by one shot. Kirk was tied for the lead when he hit 5-iron to 2 feet on the 17th for birdie. That allowed him to play it safe down the 18th to get par and a 65 for his sixth career victory. Kirk had to step away from golf in 2019 because of alcoholism and depression. He capped his comeback by winning the Honda Classic last year. And it looks as if he’s just getting started.

MHSAA – Michigan High School Athletic Association
Boys Basketball
Benton Harbor at St. Joseph, 7:00 p.m.

Girls Basketball
St. Joseph at Benton Harbor, 6:00 p.m.
Fennville at Eau Claire, 6:00 p.m.