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Santos takes 1-shot lead in Qatar

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Santos takes 1-shot lead in Qatar

DOHA, Qatar (AP) Ricardo Santos of Portugal made five birdies on his back nine to finish with a 7-under 65 Wednesday in the opening round of the Qatar Masters, taking a one shot lead over Anthony Wall and Peter Whiteford.

Santos, the European Tour's rookie of the year in 2012, finished with eight birdies to go with a lone bogey on his second hole. Coming off a fourth-place finish at the Abu Dhabi Championship on Sunday, the 30-year-old golfer from Portugal is looking for his second win on the European Tour.

``Well, I just played really well, especially my short game,'' the 183rd-ranked Santos said. ``I missed a few shots from the tee, but then recovered very well and just kept it like that.''

Wall of England shot a bogey-free round that included four birdies on the front nine and a final birdie on the par-5, 18th. Whiteford, of Scotland, had six birdies in a bogey-free round.

``You don't often get Qatar with no wind, so took advantage of it and actually hit the driver for the first time better to give myself a few chances,'' Whiteford said. ``It was one of those days it could have been a lot better almost. A lot of positive stuff, hit a lot of good putts.''

Six players including Simon Khan of England were another stroke back in a tie for fifth, and 13 players were another shot back.

Among those were two of the players in the marquee group of the day - former top-ranked Martin Kaymer and fifth-ranked Justin Rose, who just missed out on a playoff Sunday in Abu Dhabi and finished second. Fourth-ranked Louis Oosthuizen, coming off a victory in the Volvo Champions, finished with a 71 after an errant approach shot and some poor putting led to a double bogey on the 18th.

Rose was penalized a shot on 17 when his ball moved on the green just before he was about to putt.

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Hayden Hurst receives a Madden speed rating bump after hitting 20mph in Week 14

Hayden Hurst receives a Madden speed rating bump after hitting 20mph in Week 14

Hayden Hurst wasn’t known as a speedster coming out of college. As an older-than-usual tight end, high-level speed wasn’t one of his bigger selling points as a prospect.

Don’t tell that to him, though.

On a 61-yard catch-and-run touchdown against the Bills in Week 14, Hurst reached a top speed of 20.5 mph, according to Next Gen Stats. That number is the highest reached by any Ravens offensive player this season.

That’s right. It’s not a typo. Faster than Lamar Jackson. Faster than Marquise Brown. 

So, of course, Hurst had to notify Madden, in case they felt the need to make any adjustments to his rating.

They did.

Hurst moved from a 83 speed rating to an 85. He’s still just 16th at his position, and behind many of his teammates. Jackson and Brown are in the mid-90s, and even fellow tight end Mark Andrews is still ahead of Hurst with an 86.

It’s nice to see Madden is willing to make changes when it’s deserved. Maybe a few more 60-yard touchdown receptions will help bump Hurst up to Andrews’ level.

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2019 NFL Playoff Picture: Who to root for in Week 15 if you are a Baltimore Ravens fan

2019 NFL Playoff Picture: Who to root for in Week 15 if you are a Baltimore Ravens fan

Beating the New York Jets in Week 15 put the Ravens in a favorable position for the final stretch of the NFL season. All the Baltimore Ravens need to do is win one of their final two games (at Browns and vs. Steelers) to clinch home field in the AFC. 

After Thursday night's contest to kick off the week, Baltimore remains at the top of the AFC playoff picture at 12-2. The AFC North is locked up, guaranteeing at least one home game. At worst they will finish with the No. 3 seed in the conference. 

Only two other teams can challenge Baltimore for the AFC's top spot: the New England Patriots (10-3) who the Ravens bested in Week 9, and the Kansas City Chiefs (9-4) who own the tiebreaker over Baltimore.

If both those teams happen to lose in Week 15, Baltimore can wrap up the coveted No. 1 seed by Sunday night. 

If one of those teams lose, then Baltimore will clinch a first-round bye. 

So this week is pretty simple for Ravens fans. Root against the Patriots and the Chiefs.

Ravens Week 15 Rooting Guide

Denver Broncos (5-8) vs. Kansas City Chiefs (9-4)
Sunday, Dec. 15 at 1:00 p.m. ET

Kansas City has an unchallenging schedule for the final three weeks of the season. Despite entering this matchup two and a half games back of the Ravens, they still hold the tiebreaker over Baltimore. The Broncos are hot, though, after winning back-to-back games over the Chargers and AFC South-leading Texans.

Ravens fans can hope Drew Lock keeps the Broncos surging. Root for the Broncos. 

A tie by the Chiefs and the Broncos would also ensure that the Ravens will place higher than the Chiefs in the standings. 

New England Patriots (10-3) vs. Cincinnati Bengals (1-12)
Sunday, Dec. 15 at 1:00 p.m. ET

Rooting against the Patriots is never difficult. Given that they filmed the Ravens' divisional brethren to get a leg up over a 1-12 team makes it even easier. A tie doesn't get it done here. Root for the Bengals. 

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