The Latest: Falcons owner Blank tests positive for COVID-19

The Latest from Week 18 of the NFL (all times Eastern):

Atlanta Falcons owner Arthur Blank has tested positive for COVID-19 and is not at Mercedes-Benz Stadium for the season finale against the New Orleans Saints.

This is the first regular-season Falcons game, home or away, Blank has not attended since purchasing the team in 2002.

The Falcons say Blank is fully vaccinated and “is doing well and in great spirits.” The team says Blank encourages others to get their vaccinations.

The Falcons say the 79-year-old Blank has mild symptoms. He plans to watch the game from his home.

The Falcons say Blank is still within the CDC’s recommended quarantine period.

Green Bay did not start Aaron Rodgers in the second half against Detroit with the Packers already set as the No. 1 seed in the NFC.

The reigning NFL MVP was 14 of 18 for 138 yards with two touchdowns in the first half. The Lions were leading 17-13 at the break.

Backup quarterback Jordan Love replaced Rodgers in the third quarter.

The Tennessee Titans are closing in on the AFC’s top seed, and the Jacksonville Jaguars have a chance at an upset that could create an intriguing playoff scenario.

Ryan Tannehill had three touchdown passes in the first half to to give the Titans a 21-0 lead over the four-win Houston Texans. Tennessee clinches the No. 1 spot and a first-round bye with a victory.

Trevor Lawrence and the two-win Jaguars have taken a 16-3 lead over Indianapolis in the third quarter. The Colts are in with a victory.

If the Jaguars win and Pittsburgh beats Baltimore in a game that was tied 3-3 at halftime, the Los Angeles Chargers and Las Vegas Raiders would both get into the playoffs if they tied in the night game.

The Chargers and Raiders are playing the final game of the NFL’s first 17-game regular season.

Pittsburgh’s T.J. Watt has tied Pro Football Hall of Famer Michael Strahan’s single-season NFL sacks record.

Watt now has 22½ sacks after bringing down Baltimore’s Tyler Huntley late in the first half.

Strahan had 22½ in 2001 for the New York Giants in a 16-game season. The NFL is finishing its first 17-game season, although Watt missed two of them.

The Steelers and Ravens are tied at 3 at halftime.

The New York Giants got pinned inside their 10-yard late in the first half of last week’s game against Chicago and gave up five points in the final minute on a safety and field goal after the free kick.

This week, coach Joe Judge didn’t take a chance with less than six minutes to go in the first half against Washington after Tress Way punt was downed at the New York 3.

After third-string quarterback Jake Fromm missed an open pass, fullback Eli Penny was called for illegal procedure. That put the Giants at their 2. Fromm then ran two quarterback sneaks and gained 3 yards to give Riley Dixon room to punt.

The Giants have had not offense since Daniel Jones sustained a neck injury against Philadelphia on Nov. 28. They have not scored a touchdown in three of their last five games. They trailed 6-0 at the half.

Detroit has used a little trickery to get even with Green Bay in an NFC North finale with nothing at stake.

The Lions pulled even at 7-7 late in the first quarter. The tricky TD pulled the Lions pulled even at 7-7. They went ahead on Amon-Ra St. Brown’s 2-yard scoring catch from Jared Goff.

Last-place Detroit has long since been eliminated from the playoffs. Green Bay wrapped up the NFC’s top seed last week.

MVP candidate Aaron Rodgers did make the start for the Packers even though the game can’t change anything for the playoffs. Rodgers led a 13-play drive to a touchdown on the game’s first possession.

Cincinnati Bengals rookie Ja’Marr Chase’s record-setting season rolls on.

With a 24-yard reception in the first quarter at Cleveland, Chase passed Chad Johnson’s team record (1,440) for the most yards receiving in a single season. Chase came in 11 yards shy of Johnson’s mark.

He’s also on the verge of setting the NFL rookie record in a single season. Houston’s Bill Groman, who had 1,473 for the Oilers in 1960.

Chase’s record comes in the NFL’s first 17-game season.

The Bengals wrapped up the AFC North title last week and are sitting several regulars, including quarterback Joe Burrow, in the regular-season finale. Cincinnati will host a playoff game next week.

The NFL’s first 17-game regular season is set to wrap up, and the final game will be a playoffs-or-bust meeting between the Los Angeles Chargers and Las Vegas Raiders.

The AFC West rivals are chasing one of the AFC’s two remaining postseason spots in the night game.

Ben Roethlisberger still has playoff hopes in his final season, a week after the star quarterback’s farewell in Pittsburgh. The Steelers have to beat Baltimore and hope Indianapolis loses at two-win Jacksonville. With those two outcomes in the early games, the only thing that could keep Pittsburgh out is a Chargers-Raiders tie.

The Colts are in with a win or tie against the Jaguars. The Ravens need a victory and quite a bit of help.

San Francisco has the inside track to the last of the seven playoff spots in the NFC. It will be decided during the late games.

The 49ers are in with a victory over the Los Angeles Rams, who have already qualified and can clinch the NFC West with a win. New Orleans gets in with a victory over Atlanta and a San Francisco loss.

Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without permission.

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