Saints stifle Panthers, up 1 in NFC race

(AP Photo/Mike McCarn)

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) Drew Brees and the New Orleans Saints still have one of the league's top-scoring offenses, but lately it's the defense that's been carrying the NFL's most complete team.

On a night when Brees and the offense couldn't get much going and made some uncharacteristic mistakes, New Orleans put the clamps on Cam Newton and the Carolina Panthers in a 12-9 victory on Monday night, moving the Saints into position to lock up home-field advantage in the NFC playoffs.

"I believe in us, game in and game out, first quarter to fourth quarter," defensive end Cam Jordan said. "If it comes down to a crucial play, I believe in us."

Saban: Tagovailoa 'ahead of schedule'

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. (AP) Alabama coach Nick Saban says quarterback Tua Tagovailoa is "probably ahead of schedule" in recovering from ankle surgery.

The Heisman Trophy runner-up has been practicing for the top-ranked Crimson Tide, which began preparations Friday for an Orange Bowl semifinal matchup with Oklahoma. (MORE)

Eagles to start Foles again vs. Texans

PHILADELPHIA (AP) Facing a must win with their Super Bowl MVP backup quarterback leading the way, the Philadelphia Eagles responded like champions.

Don't write them off just yet. (MORE)

Astros, Brantley agree to 2-year deal

HOUSTON (AP) A person familiar with the negotiations tells The Associated Press the Houston Astros have agreed to a two-year deal with free agent outfielder Michael Brantley.

The person spoke on the condition of anonymity Monday night because the club has not yet announced the move. (MORE)

Harden nets 47 as Rockets fend off Jazz

HOUSTON (AP) Rockets coach Mike D'Antoni has witnessed James Harden have the only 60-point triple-double in NBA history, lead Houston to the Western Conference finals and win his first MVP award.

But what Harden has done for the previously underperforming Rockets in the last three games has topped anything the veteran coach has seen from his superstar player. (MORE)

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