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Saints stifle Panthers, up 1 in NFC race

(AP Photo/Mike McCarn)

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) Drew Brees and the New Orleans Saints still have one of the league's top-scoring offenses, but lately it's the defense that's been carrying the NFL's most complete team.

On a night when Brees and the offense couldn't get much going and made some uncharacteristic mistakes, New Orleans put the clamps on Cam Newton and the Carolina Panthers in a 12-9 victory on Monday night, moving the Saints into position to lock up home-field advantage in the NFC playoffs.

"I believe in us, game in and game out, first quarter to fourth quarter," defensive end Cam Jordan said. "If it comes down to a crucial play, I believe in us."

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Eagles to start Foles again vs. Texans

PHILADELPHIA (AP) Facing a must win with their Super Bowl MVP backup quarterback leading the way, the Philadelphia Eagles responded like champions.

Don't write them off just yet.

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Dolphins RB Gore likely done for season

MIAMI (AP) With another season stumbling toward the finish line, the Miami Dolphins can begin thinking about 2019, and that includes Frank Gore.

The NFL's leading active rusher is expected to miss the rest of the year with a sprained foot, a person familiar with the situation said Monday. The person confirmed Gore's status to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the team hadn't commented on the severity of his injury.

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Chargers TE Henry returns to practice

COSTA MESA, Calif. (AP) Hunter Henry has been optimistic about his chances of playing this season, despite suffering a knee injury during offseason workouts.

The clock started ticking toward his possible return Monday when the Los Angeles Chargers tight end took part in practice.

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Cardinals' Wilks could be on hot seat

TEMPE, Ariz. (AP) Another blowout loss has left Steve Wilks on even shakier ground as first-year coach of the Arizona Cardinals.

The 40-14 defeat in Atlanta to a 4-9 Falcons team left the Cardinals at 3-11.

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Clearly ailing Newton struggles again

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) It's come to the point in the season where the Carolina Panthers must make the difficult decision of whether or not to sit Cam Newton.

With the postseason a longshot at best following a six-game losing streak and the former league MVP seemingly unable to throw the ball more than 20 yards down the field due to a lingering shoulder injury, coach Ron Rivera may weigh the benefits of shutting down Newton for the rest of the season.

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Coaching decision looms for 6-8 Bengals

CINCINNATI (AP) A win over equally downtrodden Oakland ended the Bengals' five-game losing streak, but it couldn't prevent them from being eliminated from the postseason for a third straight year.

Their final two weeks will amount to playing it out before addressing the franchise's overriding question.

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Slumping Jags sticking with QB Kessler

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (AP) Quarterback Cody Kessler has taken the Jacksonville Jaguars to a new low in 2018.

The Jaguars (4-10) have totaled 658 yards in three games since Kessler replaced inconsistent starter Blake Bortles, including a season-low 192 yards in a 16-13 loss to Washington on Sunday. It's the franchise's worst three-game stretch of offense since Blaine Gabbert's second year in 2012.

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RB Smith joins Falcons' long list on IR

FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. (AP) ��� The Atlanta Falcons placed rookie running back Ito Smith on injured reserve with a knee injury on Monday and are moving closer to ruling out a return for starter Devonta Freeman this season.

Coach Dan Quinn said Monday Smith will have surgery this week.

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Titans CB Ryan says he has a broken leg

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) Titans cornerback Logan Ryan says he broke his left leg in Tennessee's victory over the Giants, writing on social media he believes a player should release his own injury news.

Ryan updated his injury Monday morning with a post on Twitter.

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