The NFL playoffs tend to be incredibly exciting, with top teams not remotely guaranteed an easy road to the Super Bowl. That's not going to stop Roger Goodell from considering tweaks to the format -- he's talked about adding two teams to the playoffs around the 2015 season. This would obviously be good for teams like last year's Bears, who missed the playoffs despite a 10-6 record, but there's an obvious concern that it could let in weaker teams. That's not always a bad thing -- considering the level of parity in the NFL, you might get a number of games like the 7-9 Seahawks' upset of the Saints in the 2010 season -- but is it too much of a risk?
Weidman was a two-time All-American wrestler at Hofstra.
Welcome to SportsNation! On Thursday, UFC middleweight champion Chris Weidman stops by to chat about his upcoming title defense against former champion Anderson Silva in UFC 168 on Dec. 28.
Weidman, @ChrisWeidmanUFC, defeated Silva in July with a stunning second-round KO. He improved to 10-0 in MMA and won the title in just his sixth UFC fight.
Silva entered the fight 33-4, with a UFC-record 10 straight title defenses, to go with his undefeated 16-0 record since joining the UFC. Weidman ended Silva's seven-year undefeated mark, and became the first fighter to knock Silva out in an MMA match.
Send your questions now and join Weidman Thursday at 12:40 p.m. ET!
Heat get big win over Pacers
In what was as close to a must-win as one will see in an NBA December, the Miami Heat beat the Indiana Pacers 97-94 on Wednesday night in South Florida. And it was no back-and-forth affair; Indiana opened up a big first-half margin, led by as many as 15 in the third quarter, then watched as LeBron James, Dwyane Wade -- and clutch shot hitters Chris Bosh and Ray Allen -- rallied back.
In the end, a Paul George miss -- or was he fouled? -- gave Miami a one-all tie in the head-to-head series this year. The Heat also moved to within one game of the Pacers in the Eastern Conference standings. The two rivals play each other again on March 26, April 11 and -- barring a big surprise -- in the East finals. What does the future hold?
December 18, 2013Dec18George Bridges/Getty Images
J.J. Watt's 2012 season was one for the ages -- he had 20.5 sacks and an astounding 16 passes defended as opposing quarterbacks quailed at the site of him across the line of scrimmage. His stats this season aren't quite as good, but they still place him in the running for the AP NFL Defensive Player of the Year award. Has he had a better season than the likes of Robert Mathis or Richard Sherman? Submit your rankings!
Defensive Player of the Year
151 tackles, 8 passes defensed, 1 sack, 1 INT, 1 forced fumble
126 tackles, 9 pass defenses, 6 sacks, 5 INTs, 2 forced fumbles
122 tackles, 3 INTs, 2 sacks
49 tackles, 16.5 sacks, 6 forced fumbles
46 tackles, 15 sacks, 7 forced fumbles
34 tackles, 6 INTs
93 tackles, 5 INTs, 2 forced fumbles
69 tackles, 9.5 sacks, 6 pass defenses, 3 forced fumbles
8.AP Photo/Ed Andrieski, File
Peyton Manning is still on top in Dan Graziano's weekly MVP watch list despite a loss to the Chargers on Thursday night (that just happened to place Philip Rivers on the list as well). Manning is still on pace to break Tom Brady's record of 50 touchdowns in a single season, but is he still worthy of the top spot? Submit your rankings!
2013 NFL MVP Watch
4,049 yards, 23 TDs, 10 INTs, 60.9 CMP%
4,500 yards, 34 TDs, 10 INTs, 68.2 CMP%
246 carries, 1,181 yards, 11 TDs
105 tackles, 6.5 sacks, 3 INTs
81 rec., 1,449 yards, 12 TDs
4,811 yards, 47 TDs, 10 INTs, 67.8 CMP%
269 carries, 1,343 yards, 7 TDs
3,049 yards, 21 TDs, 11 INTs, 62.3 CMP%
4,048 yards, 28 TDs, 9 INTs, 69.9 CMP%
3,077 yards, 24 TDs, 8 INTs, 64.7 CMP%
"SportsNation" on ESPN2!
Tickets To SportsNation
SportsNation on Facebook
THIS WEEK'S CHATSFriday, December 13Tuesday, December 17Wednesday, December 18Thursday, December 19
- 11:00 AMFantasy's Eric Karabell
- 12:00 PMNFL with Matt Williamson
- 12:00 PMNCAA FB with Ivan Maisel
- 2:00 PMRavens with Hensley
- 2:00 PMNCAA FB with Kevin Gemmell
- 3:00 PMNHL with Barry Melrose
- 3:00 PMFantasy's Chris Harris
- 4:00 PMNCAA FB with Chatmon
- 4:00 PMNFL columnist Ashley Fox
- 5:00 PMWeAreSC's Garry Paskwietz
- 11:00 AMFantasy Sports' AJ Mass
- 11:00 AMPatriots with Mike Reiss
- 12:00 PMNHL with Scott Burnside
- 12:00 PMNCAA FB with Rittenberg
- 12:45 PMUFC's Chris Weidman
- 1:00 PMNFL Insider Mike Sando
- 1:00 PMMLB Insider Keith Law
- 1:00 PMNCAA FB with Chris Low
- 2:00 PMNHL with Pierre LeBrun
- 2:00 PM49ers with Bill Williamson
- 2:00 PMMechelle Voepel on WNBA
- 2:00 PMFootball Insider Mel Kiper
- 2:30 PM'Hawks with Scott Powers
- 3:00 PMDolphins with Walker
- 3:00 PMNBA Insider Amin Elhassan
- 4:00 PMNCAA FB with Adelson
- 4:00 PMTitans with Paul Kuharsky
- 4:00 PMKC Joyner on Fantasy FB