AP Sports SummaryBrief at 3:55 p.m. EST

Analysis: NFL playoff picture tightens up after Week 16

Minshew Mania is on hold. The Philadelphia Eagles couldn’t wrap up the NFC East and the No. 1 seed with their backup quarterback, tightening the playoff picture in a wide-open conference. The Eagles need only one more win to clinch home-field advantage throughout the playoffs but a 40-34 loss at Dallas kept alive the Cowboys’ slim hopes of securing the top spot. Philadelphia beat Dallas at home with Jalen Hurts in the lineup and backup Cooper Rush starting for the Cowboys. The Cowboys returned the favor with Dak Prescott under center and Minshew in for the injured Hurts. The teams could be headed for a rubber match in the playoffs with Hurts and Prescott facing off for the first time this season.

Mavs unveil Nowitzki statue before Christmas game vs. Lakers

DALLAS (AP) — The Dallas Mavericks have honored retired star Dirk Nowitzki by unveiling his statue outside the arena before a Christmas Day game against the Los Angeles Lakers. The statue depicts the signature one-legged fadeaway jumper that helped Nowitzki become the highest-scoring foreign-born player in NBA history. The ceremony came on the 11th anniversary of the franchise’s only other Christmas game. Nowitzki was the face of the franchise then. The Mavericks opened that lockout-delayed 2011-12 season coming off their only championship. New face of the franchise Luka Doncic watched the ceremony.

Embiid, Harden help 76ers blow by Knicks to win 8th straight

NEW YORK (AP) — Joel Embiid scored 35 points, James Harden had 29 points and 13 assists and the Philadelphia 76ers blew by the New York Knicks in the final quarter, extending their winning streak to eight games with a 119-112 victory. Georges Niang hit four 3-pointers in Philadelphia’s fourth-quarter surge and finished with 16 points, while De’Anthony Melton added 15 as the 76ers got off to a good start on a four-game road trip after sweeping a seven-game homestand. The Sixers never led through three quarters, then outscored the Knicks 24-9 to open the fourth, turning a one-point deficit into a 116-102 lead. Julius Randle scored 35 points for the Knicks.

Pelé’s family gathers at hospital in Sao Paulo

SAO PAULO (AP) — Family members of Brazilian soccer great Pelé are gathering at the Albert Einstein hospital in Sao Paulo where the 82-year-old global icon has been since the end of November. Doctors said earlier this week that Pelé’s cancer had advanced, adding the three-time World Cup winner is under “elevated care” related to “kidney and cardiac dysfunctions.” No other hospital statements have been published since. Pelé led Brazil to victory in the 1958, 1962 and 1970 World Cups and remains one of the team’s all-time leading scorers with 77 goals. Neymar tied Pelé’s record during the latest World Cup.

Harris’ widow on field in Pittsburgh as his No. 32 retired

PITTSBURGH (AP) — The Pittsburgh Steelers retired the No. 32 of Hall of Fame running back Franco Harris during a bittersweet halftime ceremony. The long-planned honor came three days after Harris died at age 72 and one day after the 50th anniversary of “The Immaculate Reception,” his last-second touchdown in a playoff victory over the Raiders. Harris’ widow, Dana Dokmanovich, and their son, Dok, joined Steelers president Art Rooney II on the field as he was honored. The Steelers paid tribute to Harris throughout the night. Players wore replicas of his No. 32 into the stadium. Cam Heyward carried a large black flag with Harris’ number.

The NBA on Christmas: Things to know about the 5 matchups

Christmas comes with traditions. Like the New York Knicks playing at Madison Square Garden. Or LeBron James lacing up his sneakers and going to work. And the defending NBA champions in action. All those things are happening this year. And this holiday features a new twist: Memphis, welcome to the Christmas stage. The NBA’s Christmas quintupleheader is Sunday, with the Grizzlies and Ja Morant set to play on Dec. 25 for the first time in that franchise’s history. They get the distinction of going to Golden State and facing the reigning champions in a rematch from last season’s Western Conference semifinals.

Prescott, Cowboys win 40-34, make Eagles wait on top seed

ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) — Dak Prescott threw for 347 yards and three touchdowns, Brett Maher kicked the go-ahead field goal late and the Dallas Cowboys beat the Philadelphia Eagles 40-34. Gardner Minshew threw two scoring passes and had a TD run filling in for the injured Jalen Hurts, but his second interception set up Maher’s go-ahead kick. Minshew had Philadelphia 19 yards from a potential winning touchdown in the final seconds, but his desperation pass into the end zone on fourth-and-10 wasn’t anywhere near a receiver. The NFL-leading Eagles had two turnovers in the final five minutes and missed a chance to clinch the NFC’s top seed.

Steelers honor Franco Harris by rallying past Raiders 13-10

PITTSBURGH (AP) — Kenny Pickett threw a 14-yard touchdown pass to George Pickens with 46 seconds remaining, and the Pittsburgh Steelers capped three days of tributes to the late Franco Harris with a 13-10 victory over the Las Vegas Raiders. Pittsburgh kept its faint playoff hopes alive by delivering another last-second victory over the Raiders, just like it did 50 years and a day ago with Harris’ “Immaculate Reception.” Las Vegas was pushed to the brink of elimination from the postseason. Harris died on Wednesday, and the Steelers went ahead with their plans to retire his No. 32 during the game.

Singletary, Cook lead way as Bills beat Bears for AFC East

CHICAGO (AP) — Devin Singletary and James Cook ran for long touchdowns in the third quarter and the Buffalo Bills clinched the AFC East title by beating the Bears 35-13 on Saturday in one of the coldest games in Chicago. Josh Allen ran for a TD and threw for another in the game’s closing minutes to cap an otherwise subpar outing to help the Bills secure their third straight division title with their sixth win in a row. Buffalo remained on track for the No. 1 seed in the AFC. It’s tied with West leader Kansas City but has the head-to-head tiebreaker. Chicago matched a franchise record with its eighth straight loss.

Vikings edge Giants 27-24 on Joseph’s game-ending 61-yard FG

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Greg Joseph kicked a career-long 61-yard field goal as time expired to give the Minnesota Vikings a 27-24 victory that prevented the New York Giants from clinching a playoff spot. T.J. Hockenson had a career-high 13 catches for 109 yards and two touchdowns and Kirk Cousins threw for a score to Justin Jefferson with 3 minutes left. That was set up by a blocked punt and gave the Vikings an eight-point lead. Saquon Barkley’s 27-yard touchdown run and a 2-point conversion pass by Daniel Jones to Daniel Bellinger tied it before the Vikings rallied again.

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