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National sports spotlight | The Madisonville Meteor

After an ugly 3-5 start, the Dallas Cowboys have won three straight contests and suddenly sit atop a struggling NFC East division with a mark of 6-5. They were able to tie for the top spot after week 12 with a home victory over battered Washington on Thanksgiving.

The Cowboys ran into Washington’s backup quarterback Colt McCoy after Alex Smith concluded his season with a brutal leg injury the week before. McCoy held his own against the strong Dallas defense for awhile, but eventually gave in and threw three interceptions.

Dak Prescott, meanwhile, showcased his best performance of the season with 289 yards and two touchdowns. Both scores went to recently acquired wide receiver Amari Cooper, who finally offered a downfield threat.

Still, the Cowboys will ride or die with their running back Ezekiel Elliot. Elliot posted over 140 total yards and allowed Prescott to spread the field when he needed to. Dallas won the game by a score of 31-23 and avenged a loss in Washington earlier this season.

Elsewhere in the NFC East, the Philadelphia Eagles kept their season alive with a last-second victory over the Giants at home. After winning the Super Bowl a season ago, the Eagles have struggled mightily and now sit at 5-6. However, they are just one game behind Dallas and Washington and will matchup with the Cowboys on Dec. 9 in Arlington. The Cowboys defeated the Eagles in Philly on Nov. 11.

The East is probably the weakest the division in the NFL and will be up for grabs throughout the remainder of the regular season. The Eagles are the most talented team in the fight, but Dallas appears to have the slight advantage as of now. They certainly have the best defense.

After weeks of the same top-4 teams in the college football playoff race, a spot has finally opened up. The Michigan Wolverines, who were number four in the country, were dismantled on the road by rival Ohio State on Saturday by a score of 62-39.

With the loss, Michigan can forget about any chance they had at qualifying for the playoffs. Meanwhile, the Georgia Bulldogs will replace them as the fourth ranked team. But Georgia will have to matchup up with top-ranked Alabama in the SEC Championship this weekend and will have to win to qualify.

If the Bulldogs lose to the Crimson Tide, which will probably happen, it will once again open a final slot for a team like Oklahoma or Ohio State. Oklahoma is currently ranked higher, but they have a tough rematch with Texas in the Big 12 title game. The Sooners lost to the Longhorns earlier this season for their one blemish of the year. The Buckeyes will battle Northwestern for the Big 10 Championship.

The second and third spots currently belong to the Clemson Tigers and the Notre Dame Fighting Irish. Clemson will look to secure their spot with a victory over Pittsburgh in the ACC Championship this weekend. Meanwhile, Notre Dame clinched their first trip to the playoff with a victory over USC on Saturday. As an independent, they will not have to play a conference championship game.

In other college football news, former Texas coach Mack Brown will return to the University of North Carolina to coach the Tar Heels once again. Mack coached UNC from 1988 to 1997 before joining the Longhorns in 98. He has an overall career record of 244-122 and led Texas to a National Championship over USC in 2005.

In the NBA, Carmelo Anthony is still technically a member of the Houston Rockets as of Monday, but do not let that fool you. The Rockets are still actively looking to shop the 10-time all-star if they can and have made it clear after a brief stint that he will have no role in the 2018 campaign.

The most logical destination for Anthony at this point in time appears to be the Los Angeles Lakers, where he could take some of the pressure off of LeBron James. LA needs another veteran to support James while he is on the bench. Without LeBron on the court, the Lakers just do not have any threats yet.

Regardless of Anthony’s fate, the year has not started off the way Houston would have liked. Entering Monday’s action, the Rockets sat at 9-9, good for just tenth in the Western Conference. This is not to suggest that standings matter much at this point, but they were 14-4 through 18 games in 2017.

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