MIAMI'S BIG THREE
This is more like it. After a shaky 9--8 start, the Heat had banked 12 straight wins through Sunday—including a smackdown of the Knicks and a squeaker over the Wizards, both of which included 20-point games by LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh—to put them atop the NBA Southeast.
AVS ARE ON FIRE
Colorado (19-10-4) was a mile high after winning its sixth straight on Sunday, 3--2 over Montreal. The Avs lead the NHL in goals per game (3.6), are second in power play percentage (23.9), and get bonus points for their youth, including 19-year-old center Matt Duchene (34 points; right).
What a finish! Trailing the Giants 31--10 with 8:23 left, Michael Vick and Co. stormed back with 28 straight points, capped by DeSean Jackson's winning 65-yard punt return as time expired, an NFL first. Afterward, Jackson (right) removed and hugged his winning cleats.
JAYHAWKS: ALL HAIL
They partied at The Hawk last Saturday after freshman Josh Selby (right) had 21 points, including the winning trey, to lift No. 3 Kansas over USC 70--68. (It was KU's NCAA-best 65th win in a row at home.) Other good news in Lawrence: No. 6 KSU fell 57--44 at Florida.
TROUBLE IN D.C.
The Capitals may be reality stars (page 24), but through Sunday they had lost eight of nine. The Skins dropped a heartbreaker on Sunday in Dallas and appear to be entertaining the idea of a Rex Grossman era. And the now Gilbert Arenas--less Wizards sit in last place, with rookie sensation John Wall injured.
NFC WEST GOES HAYWIRE
The Niners, Cards, Rams and Seahawks all lost last week, marking only the 14th time in the past seven seasons that a division went 0--4 (and the third time the NFC West has done it this year). The NFL's first playoff team with a losing record in a nonstrike year is looking likely.
Houston may have lost seven of eight, but don't call these Texans punchless: Teammates Antonio Smith and Brian Cushing fought each other on the field in Sunday's 31--17 loss to the Titans, earning an unsportsmanlike-conduct penalty when the latter's helmet flew off.
DOLPHINS: EPIC FAIL
Miami's playoff hopes were officially dashed with kicker Dan Carpenter's fourth field goal miss, with 1:53 left, in a 17--14 home loss to Buffalo. Said Carpenter, the first kicker in nine years to miss four FGs in a three-point loss, "I don't ever expect to have a day like this."
SI PLAYERS NFL POLL
WHICH CITY HAS THE MOST KNOWLEDGEABLE FANS?
Green Bay 26%
New York 9%
All four NFC East cities finished among the top nine vote-getters. That division also leads the NFL in attendance.... Seattle received the largest segment of votes (4%) among West Coast cities.... Six locales received no votes: Carolina, Cincinnati, Houston, St. Louis, San Diego and Tampa Bay.... A recent study of college degrees per square mile placed San Francisco (1%) as the best-educated city in the U.S.
Based on 277 NFL players who responded to SI's survey
KIRBY LEE/US PRESSWIRE (PACKERS FANS)
CHRIS GRAYTHEN/GETTY IMAGES (STEELERS FANS)
GREGORY HEISLER (HEAT)
RON CHENOY/US PRESSWIRE (DUCHENE)
JOHN ANGELILLO/UPI/LANDOV (JACKSON)
JAMIE SQUIRE/GETTY IMAGES (SELBY)