We have arrived at the final Sunday of the regular season and the Falcons, Super Bowl runners-up last season, are not yet in the playoffs.

The Falcons (9-6) play the Panthers (11-4), who already have secured a playoff berth, though they’re still in the hunt for the division title. A Falcons win and they’re in as the final wild card.

The question for the Falcons, as it has been all season, is whether they can score enough points to beat the Panthers, who defeated them 20-17 earlier this season.

Bennett was flagged but, unlike teammates Sheldon Richardson and Quinton Jefferson, was not ejected.

UNREAL! Michael Bennett didn’t even receive a fine for his major role in the fight at the conclusion of last Sunday’s #Seahawks vs #Jaguars game.

Interesting, that President Trump would claim that national anthem-protesting players are “destroying the NFL.”

Many can recall how by 1986 Trump had destroyed the USFL, breaking ranks to sue the NFL for his New Jersey Generals’ inclusion, though the USFL had been succeeding as a spring-season league — it even had Vegas gambling lines and an ABC national TV contract — leaving hundreds unemployed.

To his last day, Chet Simmons, highly respected USFL commissioner who previously headed NBC Sports then led ESPN to prominence, felt Trump needlessly, selfishly destroyed the league.

Ryan Shazier is leaving the door open for his return. The Steelers linebacker on Wednesday shared a photo on Instagram of himself in a wheelchair at the team’s facility as he provided the latest update in his recovery journey.

“Over the last few weeks, my family and I have tasked Shop 412 with a very important job — to create a design with me that would show our city how much drive and passion I have for it. I wanted to make something that could serve as a representation of my spirit, of my inner fight, and also be a creative way to bring some fire to my squad and to our fans as we head proudly into these playoffs.”

Would the Steelers have gotten past Jacksonville with Shazier on the field? There’s no telling, but Gene Collier of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette wrote this after the 45-42 setback: “With Shazier in the lineup, the Steelers allowed two 100-yard rushers through 12 games. They’ve allowed three in the five games since. With Shazier in the lineup, they allowed 17.75 points per game. Without him, they’ve allowed 28 points per game.”

Saturday’s CBS Sports Classic, a top-flight, student-athletes double-header in New Orleans — Ohio State-North Carolina, UCLA-Kentucky — was played to what appeared to be, at most, a half-empty, 18,000-seat echo chamber.

Scores of vacant expensive courtside seats could not be hidden from constant view. And unless thousands bought tickets in order to watch on big-screen TVs in the luxury restaurant, most lower-level seats went unsold, too.bills_027