Denver–The Denver Broncos’ anemic offense could only muster 3 points in yesterday’s embarassing, 7 to 3 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs. Despite closing out the regular season on a three game losing streak, the Broncos 8 and 8 record was enough to clinch the AFC West division thanks to the Oakland Raiders’ loss to the San Diego Chargers. The Broncos will host the 12-4 Pittsburgh Steelers this Sunday afternoon at 2:30 in the wild card game.


Denver–The Denver Nuggets beat the L.A. Lakers at the Pepsi Center 99 to 90. The win earned the Nuggets a split with the Lakers over the weekend. L.A. beat Denver by 3 points in a New Year’s Eve clash at the Staples Center.

Elsewhere in sports…

UNDATED (AP) – College football returns from a day off with the
busiest day on the bowl schedule.
There are six games on the second day of the new year, starting
in Dallas, where 20th-ranked Houston takes on No. 24 Penn State in
the Ticket City Bowl (Noon Eastern).
The Cougars are looking to rebound from their only loss in 13
games. The Nittany Lions have managed to go 9-3 in a season scarred
by the firing of longtime coach Joe Paterno. It’s Penn State’s
first bowl game without Paterno as head coach since the 1962 Gator

Also this afternoon, Nebraska and South Carolina match up in the
Capital One Bowl in Orlando, Georgia is taking on Michigan State in
the Outback Bowl in Tampa, it’s Florida and Ohio State in the Gator
Bowl in Jacksonville, and the Rose Bowl in Pasadena pits Oregon
against Wisconsin.
Tonight’s Fiesta Bowl offers a showdown between Stanford and
Oklahoma State teams that were the runners-up in the race for a
berth in the BCS championship game.

Texans and Bengals first up
UNDATED (AP) – Here’s how things shake out for this weekend’s
opening round of NFL playoff games a day after finishing up
regular-season play.
AFC South champion Houston hosts Cincinnati in Saturday’s
postseason opener. That will be followed by the NFC South champion
Saints at home to the Detroit Lions.
On Sunday, the New York Giants, who beat the Cowboys in last
night’s regular-season finale to capture the NFC East crown, will
entertain the Atlanta Falcons. The wild-card weekend concludes in
Denver, where the AFC West champion Broncos will host Pittsburgh.

So who’s No. 2?
UNDATED (AP) – Undefeated Syracuse would appear to be entrenched
atop the AP poll after a pair of solid Big East wins. The Orange
retained the No. 1 ranking a week ago, when they were mentioned
first on 54 of the 65 ballots cast by a nationwide media panel.
Second-ranked Ohio State is another story. The Buckeyes capped a
1-1 week with a road loss to No. 13 Indiana on Saturday.
Third-ranked Kentucky went 2-0, including Saturday’s home win
over No. 4 Louisville. The Cardinals were coming off their first
loss of the season Wednesday night to No. 12 Georgetown.
No. 5 North Carolina also went 2-0, but neither win was against
a quality opponent.

Old-time hockey
UNDATED (AP) – The NHL’s fifth outdoors game involves a pair of
top Eastern Conference teams. The Flyers and Rangers are getting
ready for today’s Winter Classic in Philadelphia’s Citizen’s Bank
The start time has been pushed back two hours to 3 p.m. local
time due to a more-favorable weather forecast.
The Flyers lead the East with 50 points — just one better than
defending champion Boston and two ahead of their Atlantic Division
rivals from New York.
Western Conference leader Chicago highlight’s this evening’s
four-game schedule with a home outing against Edmonton. The
Blackhawks hold a two-point advantage over a Vancouver team that
will host San Jose.
Also this evening, Pacific Division leader Los Angeles
entertains Colorado and New Jersey skates at Ottawa.

ST. LOUIS (AP) – The St. Louis Rams have fired coach Steve
Spagnuolo and general manager Billy Devaney.
The team made the announcement Monday, a day after the team
wrapped up a 2-14 season that tied for the NFL’s worst.
The Rams made a six-win improvement last season and played for
the NFC West title in the finale, but were just 10-38 overall in
three seasons with Spagnuolo and Devaney calling the shots. Devaney
joined the front office in 2008. In his four years as GM, the Rams
were 12-52.
Owner Stan Kroenke fired both men with one year remaining on
their contracts, and with fan interest dwindling. The Edward Jones
Dome was been about half-filled much of the year.

TAMPA, Fla. (AP) – Tampa Bay Buccaneers fire coach Raheem