NFL moves Preseason game #3 out of Miami and into Orlando

Per Kelsey Conway at, the NFL has announced that in an effort to honor Youth Football Teams from around the State of Florida, the game between the Miami Dolphins and Falcons has been moved to Camping World Stadium in Orlando, (formally the Orlando Citrus Bowl) .

Tickets for the game are still on sale and available now as are ticket for all preseason and regular season games.  Get yours today!

Orlando, FL 32805


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N.F.L. Playoff Races Entering the Final Week

A.F.C. East

WHAT HAPPENED It was a very, very good day for the New England Patriots, who showed resilience in a second-half comeback victory over the Miami Dolphins and saw their archrival, the Jets, pushed to the brink of elimination with a loss to the Giants. The Patriots’ defense and offensive line will be concerns going into the playoffs, but they secured a first-round bye, which will be critical for the health of left tackle Matt Light and safety Patrick Chung.

NOW WHAT? A Patriots victory next week secures the A.F.C.’s top seed and home-field advantage throughout the playoffs. To get the wild card, the Jets need to win, and need losses by Cincinnati and Tennessee combined with a loss by Oakland or Denver.

A.F.C. North

WHAT HAPPENED Big wins for the entire division. The Steelers won without Ben Roethlisberger. The Ravens and the Bengals won with everybody. The division title comes down to the final weekend, and the Bengals, with the victory over the Cardinals, combined with the Jets’ loss, are now in a wild-card spot.

NOW WHAT? Baltimore plays at Cincinnati next week. Pittsburgh plays at Cleveland. If the Steelers and the Ravens wind up with the same record, Baltimore wins the division and Pittsburgh is a wild card, because the Ravens swept the Steelers this season. Baltimore should have the tougher game, because the Bengals will grab a wild-card spot with a victory. Whoever wins the division has a first-round bye.

A.F.C. South

WHAT HAPPENED The Titans’ victory over the Jaguars keeps them in the wild-card race, but the more significant game happened Thursday. The Texans have already clinched the division, but they played their worst game of the season against the Colts.

NOW WHAT? The real intrigue will be at the game between the Jaguars and the Colts. If the Colts win, they could lose their shot at the first overall draft pick and Andrew Luck. There are multiple possibilities for the Titans to get a wild-card spot. The Texans are locked into the third seed even if they lose to the Titans, but after a bad loss to the Colts, they could use a victory to get some momentum going into the playoffs.

A.F.C. West

WHAT HAPPENED The wheels came off the Tim Tebow train. He was awful in Denver’s loss to Buffalo, blowing a chance to win the division. Oakland’s overtime victory over Kansas City eliminated the Chiefs and pulled the Raiders into a tie atop the division. The Chargers’ loss to the eliminated them from contention and probably doomed Norv Turner.

NOW WHAT? If the beat the Chiefs next Sunday, they win the division, no matter what else happens. But if they lose and the Raiders beat the Chargers, the Raiders win the division. If Denver and Oakland both lose, Denver wins the division.

N.F.C. East

WHAT HAPPENED The Giants’ victory over the Jets eliminated the Eagles from the playoff race, but set up a winner-take-all game against the next Sunday. The Eagles may have given the Giants a bit of help anyway. Dallas quarterback Tony Romo hurt his right hand when it smashed against Jason Babin’s helmet. He was ready to return, though, until the Cowboys realized the Giants had won and they did not need him.

NOW WHAT? The game of the year is next Sunday: Cowboys at Giants for the division. An ancillary consideration is whether Tom Coughlin’s job also hangs in the balance.

N.F.C. North

WHAT HAPPENED The Lions completed their renaissance by clinching a wild-card spot, their first playoff trip since 1999.

NOW WHAT If the Packers beat the Bears on Sunday night, they wrap up the top seed in the N.F.C. and have home-field advantage throughout the playoffs.

N.F.C. South

WHAT HAPPENED Buccaneers Coach Raheem Morris took another step toward the unemployment line and Cam Newton served notice he was going to terrorize the league for the next decade in Tampa Bay’s 48-16 loss to the Carolina Panthers. The Falcons play the on Monday night.

NOW WHAT? A Saints victory Monday secures the N.F.C. South, but the Falcons are still in good position for the wild card.

N.F.C. West

WHAT HAPPENED Not a whole lot. San Francisco’s defeat of Seattle puts the 49ers in position to get a first-round bye, but their struggle to score touchdowns will give them a lot to think about heading into the playoffs.

NOW WHAT? If the Saints lose to the Falcons on Monday, San Francisco clinches a first-round bye.

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Falcons Can’t Keep Up With Brees, Saints

Now the gap seems much wider.

Drew Brees set the NFL record for yards passing in a season, breaking a mark that Dan Marino had held for nearly three decades, and New Orleans clinched the NFC South title with a 45-16 victory over the Falcons on Monday night.

Brees threw for 307 yards and four touchdowns, the last a 9-yard strike to Darren Sproles that set the record with 2:51 to go.

Falcons coach Mike Smith was quick to congratulate Brees and also to criticize his own squad, which came in hoping to remain in the hunt to repeat as division champions.

“We didn’t really play well enough in any phase of the game to give ourselves a chance to win,” Smith said. “There were some opportunities early on, and then it kind of got out of hand there at the end. … It’s not the type of effort that you want to have with so much on the line with what the outcome could have meant to our team.”

Matt Ryan had 373 yards passing and one TD, including a 21-yard scoring strike to Julio Jones that gave the Falcons (9-6) a 10-7 lead late in the first quarter. But that turned out to be Atlanta’s only touchdown and the Saints (12-3) took the lead for good on their next drive when Brees hit Marques Colston for an 8-yard score.

“We have to get a lot better in the red zone,” Ryan said. “We needed a lot more touchdowns than the field goals we got out there.”

Atlanta finished with 469 total yards, six more yards than New Orleans, only to lose by more than four touchdowns. However, a lot of the Falcons’ yards came through the air after they were behind and had to abandon the running game, which accounted for only 35 yards.

Jones had eight catches for 128 yards and Roddy White had 11 catches for 127 yards.

Brees broke Marino’s record on his final throw of the game and it gave him 5,087 yards passing — with one game still to play. Marino finished with 5,084 yards for the Miami Dolphins in 1984.

Minutes after Brees broke the record, Marino offered congratulations on his Twitter account.

“Great job by such a special player,” Marino wrote.

As Sproles spiked the ball, Brees thrust his fist triumphantly in the air and started walking toward midfield while the Superdome crowd went wild and his teammates chased him down. Offensive guard Carl Nicks was the first one to get there and tried to lift Brees onto his shoulder, but couldn’t do it as teammates swarmed around.

“If I could have put him on my shoulders and paraded him around the whole stadium I would have done that. He deserves it,” Nicks said. “It’s like a movie, man. Just a movie ending. It’s beautiful. … You could tell by everyone’s reaction after he did it how much people care about that guy. We all love him.”

Brees’ four touchdown passes gave him 276 for his career, moving him ahead of Joe Montana (273) and Vinny Testaverde (275) for ninth all-time. He is the first quarterback in NFL history to pass for more than 5,000 yards twice — he had 5,069 in 2008.

“Honestly, I was really trying not to think about the record or anything,” Brees said. “I knew we were close. A couple guys mentioned stuff to me on the sideline. I didn’t want to hear it. It’s like a pitcher with a no-hitter, I guess.”

Brees’ second scoring pass went for 9 yards to Jimmy Graham. In the third quarter, Brees hit Robert Meachem for a score from 24 yards out, which made it 28-10.

Brees might have broken Marino’s record in the third quarter if not for Sproles’ 92-yard kickoff return, which set up John Kasay’s 29-yard field goal. Brees also was intercepted twice, once in the Falcons end zone, but New Orleans was still dominant enough to take a big lead.

The game became a romp when Jones was stripped by Scott Shanle and Malcolm Jenkins returned it 30 yards for a score to make it 38-16 in the fourth quarter. The Superdome crowd was in full celebration by then, but the play also meant fans would have to wait until later in the fourth quarter before Brees finally got his chance to break the passing record.

Atlanta is headed to the playoffs as a wild card and could potentially be back in New Orleans again in two weeks.

“We don’t care which team we have to play. We are in the playoffs,” running back Michael Turner said.

Both teams scored on all their possessions in the opening quarter, with the Saints briefly pulling in front 7-3 on Pierre Thomas’ 4-yard touchdown run, after which he pulled a bow from his uniform pants, put it on the football and offered it as a gift to a woman with a parasol in the front row behind the end zone.

The referees weren’t cutting Thomas any slack on his Christmas-themed celebration, flagging him for a 15-yard unsportsmanlike conduct penalty.

Notes: Atlanta’s defense allowed the Saints to convert 10 of 13 third downs. … Brees has passed for 300 yards or more an NFL-record 12 times this season. … New England quarterback Tom Brady could also pass Marino next week — and maybe Brees, too. Brady has thrown for 4,897 yards this season. … The Falcons were 0 for 3 on fourth-down attempts.

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