All that build-up has the world more than ready for kickoff time on Super Bowl Sunday.

By the time the 2018 Super Bowl starts with kickoff at 6:30 p.m. ET on NBC, TV networks will have stuffed pregame shows with the final offerings of analysis for Eagles vs. Patriots in Super Bowl 52 at U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis.

New England, a 4 1/2-point favorite over Philadelphia, is hoping to win its second consecutive Super Bowl and sixth in franchise history. The Eagles, of course, are searching for their first Super Bowl victory. But you know all the storylines by now.

As for the Westwood One radio broadcast, Kevin Harlan and Boomer Esiason will call the action from the booth with help from Mike Holmgren, Tony Boseli and Ed Werder.

Sirius XM radio listeners can find the Super Bowl on channel 88 (83 for Eagles call; 82 for Patriots call).

Given the teams that were in contention for Super Bowl 52 as late as the conference championship round of the playoffs, NBC should be happy it ended up with Eagles vs. Patriots.

“The best matchup is Boston vs. Philadelphia,” media expert Brad Adgate told Sporting News. “You’ve got two top-10 markets. They’ve met in the Super Bowl before.

“Your first love’s your first love,’’ Brady says in the episode. “And I want to keep doing it because I think I can. …

“When the day comes when I feel like I can’t do it anymore, whether even physically, which I doubt, or more mentally that I won’t be able to, you know, give what I need to to the other parts of my life, I’ll say it’s enough. But it’s not going to be for a while, though.”

That’s where he’s most prolific — his steadiness in standing out no matter who’s in the New England offense with him.

“He understands what we wants to do and where to put his teammates. That’s what makes him so great,” Steelers linebacker Ryan Shazier told SN’s Alex Marvez last year on Sirius XM NFL Radio. “They have a great understanding of their scheme and what they want to do each and every week. He’s a accurate quarterback and super efficient. He’s not going to beat himself — he’s going to make you beat yourself. You can’t beat that.”

Zach Ertz’s controversial touchdown catch gave the Eagles the push they needed to get ahead of the Patriots in Super Bowl 52.

With less than two and a half minutes left, Ertz caught the ball at the 6-yard line, took two steps toward the end zone and leaped in. But as he fell to the ground he appeared to lose control and the ball popped out.

New England’s success under Belichick and Brady created this irreversible phenomenon. And it’s not like Duke or the Yankees — it’s much worse. Fans aren’t rooting against the Patriots. They’re too busy looking for flags. They’re looking for controversy. They’re looking for clues, like a ref patting Brady on the back; anything that allows a trip down the wormhole of the Spygate or Deflategate controversies, the asterisks that smear the NFL’s greatest dynasty.

If you want to put asterisks on the Patriots before Spygate, that’s fine. Spygate and Deflategate will always be taglines for Belichick and Brady. All of that has been addressed. Brady served a four-game suspension. That’s not coming off his bio. Yet it’s the same story.

New England being back in the Super Bowl is also a product of a league that doesn’t have another dominant team. Other than Philadelphia with Carson Wentz, there wasn’t a team this year that stood out as a hands-down contender. The Patriots have exposed that more than anything, and it’s a reality few want to accept.

Conspiracy theories aren’t going to end this dynasty. Super Bowl 52 might not end it, either. After all, if there’s a hot take that burns brighter than the rest, it’s the one that proclaims the Patriots’ dynasty dead after each monumental defeat. Remember Week 1 against Kansas City?

It’s no different than Alabama football, which comes with a lesson. Belichick has preached the same thing over and over again to his team, and he said as much at the Ohio State coaches clinic last spring.

If Tom Brady had it his way, he’d play football until dentures served as his mouthpiece. The term ageless fails to define the Patriots quarterback, who at age 40 and in his 18th year put together yet another MVP-caliber season.bills_007

Trump has poured fuel on the flame of a simmering culture war and has further pushed sports deep into the political arena

“Standing with locked arms is good, kneeling is not acceptable. Bad ratings!” Trump said.

The tweets continue a three-day crusade by the president to pressure the league to fire players who have taken a knee to protest police violence against minorities.

Among players, coaches and team owners, the public reaction has been sharply negative of his comments.

While the NFL continues to look into whether the Seahawks violated the concussion protocol in their treatment of Russell Wilson on Nov. 9, the quarterback was focused on the pain in his jaw, telling reporters it was nearly broken by a Karlos Dansby hit that kept him on liquids through last weekend.

“It was pretty close,” Wilson said of the near-fracture Friday. “The doctor was like, ‘Man, any harder, we probably [would have] had to wire your mouth shut,’ so that was a good thing that didn’t happen.”

It’s too early to say that the Seahawks have found their new bell cow back, but Chris Carson staked a strong claim Sunday, rushing for 93 yards on 20 carries in Seattle’s 12-9 win over San Francisco. Thomas Rawls, coming back from an ankle injury that sidelined him in Week 1, got the start but gained just four yards on five carries, while Eddie Lacy wasn’t even activated for the game.

The 5-foot-11, 218-pound Carson, a seventh-round pick out of Oklahoma State, got stronger as he went along. On the Seahawks’ final drive, as they were trying to ice the game, he had carries of nine, 12 and 16 yards.

In Kansas City, Chiefs running back Kareem Hunt has emerged as a full-fledged fantasy darling. The rookie, who rushed for 148 yards in the opener against New England, carved up Philadelphia on Sunday, scoring on two touchdown runs and rushing for 81 yards. One went for 53 yards and the other, well, it generated the best TD celebration of the day.jaguars_085

Who has two thumbs and pushed his team up to the No. 2 spot? This guy.

Do that, get ahead on them and you can force their offense to become one dimensional in a way they don’t want to be. The defense has actually been playing a lot better over the last few weeks — they haven’t given up more than 30 points since their blowout loss to the Steelers in Week 11. Maybe they have more upside than I think, but I could see 10 other teams strangleholding the Titans in a first round matchup.

The Bills are the best STORY in the playoffs, but not the best team. In fact, with LeSean McCoy nursing an injured ankle, it would be hard to imagine the Bills getting out of the first round. It’s awesome that Andy Dalton threw a miracle touchdown pass and is now generating over $250,000 in donations from Bills fans who are throwing $17 increments his way.

But it’s also not a team that feels like a sustainable playoff contender because of the limitations on offense. They are well coached and will be emotionally fueled for whoever they play (in this case Jacksonville) but the Bills are probably out in the first round regardless.

This is on the way the rebuilding process has been conducted and the unnecessarily roundabout route being taken at the quarterback position. The QB of this team right now should be Carson Wentz or Deshaun Watson, not DeShone Kizer. The Browns basically went out of their way not to get Wentz or Watson in the past two NFL drafts and they are paying the price for it.

Darnold wasn’t great in 2017, unable to build upon the excitement from his Rose Bowl performance a year ago. But he flashes comparable play to that of Jameis Winston, Carson Wentz and a young Eli Manning. It would be a surprise if the Browns opted for anyone else.

Rosen is expected to be the No. 2 overall pick, but it is still to be determined whether the Giants will be the team making this selection. Drafting Rosen gives the Giants (and their new regime) a quarterback with which to build after Eli Manning. But a few teams, most notably the Cardinals and Bills, might aggressively try to trade up to draft Rosen if the Giants want to give Manning another Super Bowl run.jaguars_045

By the time Ramsey reached Jacksonville in 2016, the transition was complete.

He feuded with Baltimore receiver Steve Smith Sr., later calling Smith an “old man” and that he didn’t respect him as a man. Later that season he was ejected for fighting with an Oakland wideout and last spring he called out Houston star receiver DeAndre Hopkins.

Then came the confrontation with Cincinnati’s A.J. Green this season. Lamont Ramsey, watching from the stands in early November as his son burrowed his way into the receiver’s head, loved it.

“He’s got A.J.,” the elder Ramsey told someone that day when he knew the battle had been won, and a short time later, Ramsey shoved Green and Green put the cornerback in a chokehold before suplexing him to the ground. Ramsey, after all, always did identify with wrestling’s bad guys.

Kraft went with “Elton John,” but Blank may actually have hit the bull’s-eye. The Patriots owner has spoken about his close relationship with Trump, who praised Kraft, plus New England quarterback Tom Brady and Coach Bill Belichick, in remarks at a dinner the night before his inauguration.

“I will always be grateful to him for his thoughtfulness and his continued friendship,” Kraft said of Trump in March of last year, noting that he had attended the 2005 wedding of the then-businessman to Melania Trump. Brady has also spoken of his friendship with Trump, although he has tried to downplay that relationship in recent months, as the president emerged as a highly polarizing figure.

But as great as the Patriots are, their win doesn’t come in such a dominant fashion if they’re not as prepared.

“Tennessee’s a good team,” Belichick said after the game. “We saw what happened last week in Kansas City when Kansas City had a lead at the half similar to the one that we had. Our guys did a real good job of kind of keeping their foot on the gas and keep pressing it.”

Part of the Patriots’ preparation for the Titans game was the recognition of Tennessee’s stout run defense. That helps explain why Brady threw 53 passes Saturday, a big jump from his average of 36.3 attempts per game in the regular season. New England running backs, on the other hand, carried the ball just 23 times combined.

Orleans Darkwa, RB, Giants: Following three consecutive games with 70 yards or more, Darkwa was a dud in Week 12, tallying just 39 yards from scrimmage. New York has benched Eli Manning and the offense is not very good. The Giants visit Oakland this weekend and while the Raiders have improved their run defense significantly in recent weeks, it would seem doable that Darkwa could produce 60-70 yards again, and perhaps a touchdown. Darkwa is owned in 72 percent of ESPN leagues, but has only been started in 40 percent of lineups.

Jimmy Garoppolo sprained his AC joint in his throwing shoulder according to NFL Media’s Mike Garafolo.

All eyes will be on quarterbacks Josh Allen and Baker Mayfield at the Senior Bowl in Mobile, Alabama, this week. It’s a chance for the two most intriguing quarterbacks in this class to get in front of NFL scouts, coaches and front-office executives to show why they should be high first-round picks. Apart from the on-field aspect, they will both be able to do interviews and classroom sessions to prove themselves off the field. This is a huge week for both in the battle of who’s going to be the top pick in the 2018 NFL draft -and Allen and Mayfield will be coached up by the staff of the Denver Broncos, who have the No. 5 overall pick.

Bottom line: After his huge Week 1, Riddick is long gone from waivers in competitive leagues. Washington is 100 percent worth a look and should be claimed off wires ahead of whatever backs are available in Miami or Carolina.

Other news and notes: Thomas Rawls got kicked in the leg Sunday versus the Rams and suffered a leg contusion, but should be fine moving forward. Doug Baldwin and Tyler Lockett both left that game as well but both returned and should be relatively fine.

Rashad Jennings will be limited in practice this week, according to the team, and was seen with a wrap around his left hand and wrist.

This response to the kneeling controversy tells us something about the state of American civil religion and the way it accommodates — and then deforms — traditional religious communities.

The tropes of “God and country” or “faith and the flag” are almost always instances where country and flag domesticate faith in God. Or, to put this in terms that religious folk should understand: These liturgies of civil religion are covert modes of idolatry. The rank and priority are reversed; our political identities trump all others.

O’Hara: Coughlin’s general mindset is more about the physicality of the game than the X’s and O’s. There are a lot of similarities in personnel between this year’s Jaguars and the 2007 Giants, who reaped the benefits of Justin Tuck, Michael Strahan and Osi Umenyiora, among others. The success of the 2017 Jaguars stems from the defense, with a ferocious front that features a bevy of beasts, including Defensive Player of the Year candidate Calais Campbell, Yannick Ngakoue, Malik Jackson, Marcell Dareus and Dante Fowler. jaguars_005

I think he realized he wasn’t done yet. He’s got a story that he’s still writing

It all confirmed what Nill already knew. Seven years ago, between jobs after getting fired by Columbus, Hitchcock had attended Red Wings training camp at the invitation of Mike Babcock. Then with Detroit’s front office, Nill saw similarities in how Hitchcock approached their airport interview, which stretched from early afternoon into evening. He hadn’t lost his passion at all, Nill says. That’s what makes Hitch special. He still had that same fire in his eyes.

The Saints (12-5) did lose starting guard Andrus Peat in the first half with a broken fibula. He was replaced by versatile veteran Senio Kelemete, who appeared in every game this season and made eight starts. Kelemete will likely start next Sunday’s divisional round game at Minnesota.

Pick your poison against the Saints The Saints had a pair of Pro Bowlers in the backfield with running backs Mark Ingram and Alvin Kamara. The Panthers came in with the NFL’s third-ranked rush defense and held the Saints to 41 rushing yards. But that just put the ball in the hands of Saints quarterback Drew Brees, who was nearly flawless.

Gano’s missed 25-yard attempt was preceded by a drop by Kaelin Clay in the end zone. The miss punctuated a 15-play, 63-yard drive that took 7:37 yet yielded zero points. Two plays later, Brees hit former Panthers receiver Ted Ginn for an 80-yard touchdown with 1:46 remaining in the first quarter.

3. Saints-Vikings winner will likely represent NFC in Super Bowl The Saints and Vikings met in the season opener in Minneapolis and the Vikings (13-3) handed the Saints a 29-19 defeat. With the top-seed Eagles missing Carson Wentz and an underdog to the sixth-seeded Falcons next Saturday, the Saints-Vikings winner would host the NFC championship game if the Falcons win.

Would they try to draw a line between his patio outside Baltimore and his mother’s home New Jersey?You can only renovate much.That’s just what they do.Chandler had 23 points and eight rebounds and Faried had 19 points and 11 rebounds for the Nuggets .

Rodgers has Montgomery move from the backfield to the slot position on the right side.His parents and family were the stands.We remain poised to move quickly as consumers begin to shop for what they want as well as need.We needed a spark, something to get us going and there he is.” Sproles scored two touchdowns, , one on the 89-yard return and another on a one-yard run.patriots_110_474143b5877a2ea6-180x180

All things considered and on and off the field, that’s a lot Newton had a strong bounce-back season.

Heinz Field received a similar threat from the 30-year-old that was uploaded to the facility’s website, and officials were able to get a user name and IP address. KDKA and Heinz Field officials sent the information to the FBI, which was then able to identify the suspect.

If he gets in top shape and avoids substance abuse and legal issues, he’ll play in a league in which the game looks tailor-made for Manziel’s skill set of a strong arm, excellent mobility and playmaking ability when things break down. The league rules also can help him be a dominant player with the wider field (by 12 yards compared to the NFL) and more eligible receivers helping a mobile, creative QB such as Manziel. Also, three downs to pick up 10 yards leads to more of a quarterback-driven passing league than the NFL’s four-down model.

With the defense and the running game doing their things, Bortes can reset himself with a mistake-free game as a caretaker, hurting the Bills’ chances to get key takeaways. It will be a quick afternoon for Jacksonville as it advances to a rematch with Pittsburgh in the divisional playoffs.

94%: The defensive side of the ball. They had zero pass rush in 2017, and they also couldn’t cover anyone. That’s not an ideal mix, and if ageless CB Brent Grimes retires or signs elsewhere this offseason, it becomes an even bigger issue. The easiest way to fix things would be by adding an impact edge rusher—easier said than done even with a lot of cap space and a high draft pick (unless Demarcus Lawrence hits the market it’s a soft free-agent class and an underwhelming draft class for edge rushers). They could also come up with a more creative solution.

Like a more blitz-heavy approach in 2018. It’s not that hard. The Panthers, primarily a four-man pass rush for most of the last decade, went blitz-heavy under new defensive coordinator Steve Wilks this season and didn’t have to blow up the roster or the scheme to do so. Like Carolina, the Bucs have the speed at linebacker to make it work. Or, Tampa could just accept they might be multiple years away from competing in a strong NFC South.

It’s a tough angle for the official to make the call, but the real question is how Marrone watched the play from his vantage point and chose not to challenge?

He didn’t have much time to make the decision with the Bills rushing to the line to run another play, but how much time did he need? It was right in front of him and clearly appeared short.patriots_094_841eeb064ed39b39-180x180

There is no indication in the historical record that the members of that subcommittee then ascended to heaven in golden chariots.

After a hearing on the law, one congressional subcommittee intoned, Sports gambling is a national problem. The harms it inflicts are felt beyond the borders of those States that sanction it.

was ‘one of the best 7th, 8th, 9th-inning hitters with the game on the line I’ve ever encountered,’ Hemond said.As the series shifts to Citizens Bank Park, the results are expected to be much of the same.I can’t say right now, Archer said.

Iverson’s financial empire was collapsing under a mountain of growing debt and a refusal to abandon a lifestyle that, whether he accepted it or not, he could no longer afford.’ message is always yourself and that it isn’t all about what you look like and not about what you have.Offensively, Couturier had a career-high eight shots while the Flyers got goal production from two lines and their struggling power play.Track of development.

Then there’s José Altuve. This year belonged to him, in deed and in meaning, more than any other athlete. The Astros’ second baseman won the American League batting title and its MVP Award and led the 56-year-old franchise to its first World Series championship. Now he shares SI’s Sportsperson of the Year honor with 6′?5″ Texans defensive end J.J. Watt, his Houston brother in charitable spirit. At 5′?6″ and 165 pounds, Altuve is shorter than every male athlete to win the award except a jockey, Steve Cauthen, and a race car driver, Jackie Stewart.

Therein lies Altuve’s greatest accomplishment in 2017. He redefined what it means to be among the most heroic of athletes—a modern twist on Heracles. At 3.7 inches below average height, he does not have the classic physique fit for marble and the sculptor’s chisel. Watt outweighs him by 125 pounds. Indeed, when Altuve was 16 the Astros, the only team interested in signing him, told him not to bother to come back after just one day of tryouts at their Venezuelan academy.

The story written by Seth Wickersham and appearing under the headline For Kraft, Brady and Belichick, is this the beginning of the end? asserts that dysfunction finally has reared its head, after nearly two decades of virtually unparalleled success in New England.

Hunt, a third-round pick (No. 98 overall) out of Toledo, rushed 272 times for a league-leading 1,327 yards and eight touchdowns in the regular season as he was the second Chiefs rookie to rush for over 1,000 yards.

He was third in the NFL in scrimmage yards with 1,782 yards, an average of 111.4 yards per game. He also caught 53 passes for 455 yards and three TDs. Hunt scored 11 overall touchdowns and set a NFL rookie record with 100 or more scrimmage yards in seven consecutive games to begin his career.

Kamara, a third-round pick (No. 67 overall) out of Tennessee, led all rookies with 81 receptions (third-most by a rookie running back in NFL history) and ranked second among NFL rookies with 1,554 scrimmage yards.patriots_052_441c637feb272616-180x180

Marcus Mariota sealed the Titans’ comeback win with an incredible block

Marcus Mariota helped clinch a 22-21 Wild Card Round win for the Titans against the Chiefs by blocking, not long after he caught his own touchdown pass.

On a third-and-10 in the final two minutes, Titans running back Derrick Henry broke off a 22-yard run for a first down. Mariota keyed the play with a block:

On this play, the Titans got the best of both worlds. The outside linebacker stayed somewhat set, prompting Mariota to give the ball to Henry. But this was a counter run, whether by pre-snap intent or not, and Henry quickly darted back toward Mariota once he got the handoff. Mariota had time to get in front of his running back and put his body into Zombo.

Whether or not Ball’s “speak it into existence” approach helped land Lonzo on the Lakers, his willingness to be a heel has unquestionably raised his son’s profile. It seems like he’s just getting started. While Ball’s longer-term impacts remain to be seen, he should not be written off as a clown or a loudmouth, even if some of his recent statements and decisions—like publicly questioning Lakers coach Luke Walton and sending his two younger sons to play in Lithuania—look misguided. By mounting challenges to traditional powerbrokers like the NCAA and the major sneaker companies, Ball could wind up as a trailblazer.

This year, Gregg Popovich directed his harshest words to the president of the United States, but Zaza Pachulia was a not-too-distant second. The triggering event: Kawhi Leonard was forced from Game 1 of the West finals with an ankle injury after Pachulia slid underneath the Spurs forward as he shot a jumper. Popovich pulled no punches in response to the since-outlawed defensive action, which keyed Golden State’s big comeback win and kept Leonard out of the rest of the series, which ended in a 4-0 Warriors sweep. “I’m not a happy camper,” Popovich said. “The two-step lead with your foot closeout is not appropriate. It’s dangerous. It’s unsportsmanlike. … This particular individual has a history with that action. … Who gives a damn about what his intent was? You ever heard of manslaughter?”

So sure, it’s food coloring. But I can’t shake the mental image of Lisa Frank in the kitchen, surrounded by her bright binders and notebooks, as she dumps an entire bottle of Hpnotiq into the batter, stirs it, and kisses her fingertips.

Anyway, I hope none of you eat this thing. If you do, though, please let me know what happens to you. Just not in too much detail.

Davis played in 11 games this season for the Titans and had 34 receptions for 375 yards after being drafted No. 5 overall this past April.

The drive leading up to the touchdown was a wonderfully executed one. The Titans started with the football on their own 5-yard line, and used 11 plays to march down all 95 yards in just over five minutes.

It was tied for the longest drive the Patriots have given up in the postseason under Bill Belichick. It put the Titans up 7-0 as the first quarter was coming to its conclusion.