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Reuters U.S. Sports Schedule at 2 PM EDT on Thursday, Dec. 19

Reuters

Dec. 19 (Reuters) - Reuters U.S. sports schedule at 2 PM ET on Thursday:

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The duty editor is Steve Ginsburg, 202-898-8427

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NATIONAL FOOTBALL LEAGUE

Panthers pumped for second shot at Saints

CHARLOTTE, N.C. - The Carolina Panthers admit they were overhyped for their first shot at the New Orleans Saints earlier this month. Dial it down for the rematch? Quite the contrary. (FBN-PANTHERS-NEWS/, expect by 2200 GMT/5 PM ET, The Sports Xchange, 650 words)

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Jaguars could be big spenders in '14

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - A massive rebuilding effort could be easier than first thought for the Jacksonville Jaguars. With a few critical signings and improved work in the draft, there could be more sunshine in coach Gus Bradley's future. One critical question remains: Who is the quarterback? (FBN-JAGUARS-NEWS/, expect by 2130 GMT/4:30 PM ET, The Sports Xchange, 630 words)

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Packers QB Rodgers talks recovery

Aaron Rodgers discusses his health and the looming decision regarding his status for Sunday's matchup with the Pittsburgh Steelers. (FBN-PACKERS-NEWS/, expect by 2200 GMT/5 PM ET, The Sports Xchange, 375 words)

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Seahawks CB Browner contemplating lawsuit

Seattle Seahawks cornerback Brandon Browner plans to continue to fight his indefinite suspension for violating the NFL's substance-abuse policy. (FBN-SEAHAWKS-NEWS/, moved, The Sports Xchange, 350 words)

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McFadden likely in last days with Raiders

As a top-five draft pick, running back Darren McFadden entered in the NFL carrying the burden of heavy expectations. Injuries and a poor supporting cast combined to cause McFadden to tumble, likely right out of Oakland. (FBN-RAIDERS-NEWS/, expect by 2100 GMT/4 PM ET, The Sports Xchange, 650 words)

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Lovie Smith interviews with Texans

Former Chicago Bears coach Lovie Smith is the first candidate to be interviewed to replace Gary Kubiak as the Houston Texans' head coach. (FBN-TEXANS-NEWS/, moved, The Sports Xchange, 225 words)

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Giants DT Hankins one of team's bright spots

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. - Positives are few and far between for the New York Giants in 2013, but the play of second-round pick Johnathan Hankins can be classified as a bright spot. (FBN-GIANTS-NEWS/, expect by 2030 GMT/3:30 PM ET, The Sports Xchange, by Patti Traina, 325 words)

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NFL notebook

The latest news and notes from around the league. (FBN-NOTEBOOK/, expect by 0000 GMT/7 PM ET, The Sports Xchange, 500 words)

See also: The Kansas City Chiefs sign defensive tackle Jerrell Powe and released wide receiver/returner Chad Hall. (FBN-CHIEFS-NEWS/)

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COLLEGE FOOTBALL

See you in Vegas: USC, Fresno could roll up big points

LAS VEGAS - Southern Cal will have its fourth head coach affiliated with the program when the Trojans play the Bulldogs in the Royal Purple Las Vegas Bowl on Saturday. (FBC-USC-FRESNOSTATE-NEWS/, moved, The Sports Xchange, 850 words)

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New Mexico Bowl: Rams, Cougars thrilled to be bowling again

Washington State and Colorado State pay no mind to those not willing to give the New Mexico Bowl a passing glance as the opener on the 35-bowl game schedule. (FBC-WASHINGTONSTATE-COLORADOSTATE/NEWS, moved, The Sports Xchange, 625 words)

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Florida, Michigan schedule 2017 Cowboys Classic

The Florida Gators and Michigan Wolverines will meet in the 2017 season-opening Cowboys Classic to continue the tradition of high profile matchups in AT&T Stadium on the first weekend of the season. (FBC-FLORIDA-MICHIGAN/NEWS, moved, 300 words)

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NATIONAL BASKETBALL ASSOCIATION

*The Sports Xchange covers all NBA games. Key matchups outlined below

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Bulls at Thunder

OKLAHOMA CITY - The Oklahoma City Thunder (20-4), the NBA's lone remaining undefeated team at home, engage the Chicago Bulls in a battle of tempo. The Bulls have lost the past three meetings by an average of 18 points. (BKN-THUNDER-BULLS-FIRSTLEDE/WRITETHRU (PIX), expect first lede ASAP after the 0100 GMT/8 PM ET game, The Sports Xchange, 400-word first lede, 700-word writethru)

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Spurs at Warriors

OAKLAND - With Andre Iguodala back in the lineup, the Golden State Warriors look to continue their positive play against 2013 postseason nemesis Tim Duncan and the San Antonio Spurs. (BKN-WARRIORS-SPURS-FIRSTLEDE/WRITETHRU (PIX), expect ASAP after the 0330 GMT/10:30 PM ET game, The Sports Xchange, by David Del Grande, 400-word first lede, 700-word writethru)

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NBA Wrap: Thunder put win streak on the line vs. Bulls

The red-hot Oklahoma City Thunder shoot for an eighth consecutive win when they host the Chicago Bulls, while the San Antonio Spurs visit the Golden State Warriors in the night's other game on the NBA hardwood. (NBA-HIGHLIGHTS/ (PIX), expect by 0430 GMT/11:30 PM ET, by The Sports Xchange, 350 words)

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COLLEGE BASKETBALL

UCLA vs. Duke

NEW YORK - Duke is back in the familiar setting of Madison Square Garden to take on Steve Alford's UCLA Bruins. (BKC-DUKE-UCLA-FIRSTLEDE/WRITETHRU (PIX), expect ASAP after the 0030 GMT/7:30 PM ET, The Sports Xchange, by Everett Merrill, 400-word first lede, 700-word writethru)

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MAJOR LEAGUE BASEBALL

Yanks ink Beltran through 2016

The New York Yankees add some much-needed punch to their line-up by signing eight-time All-Star and three-time Gold Glove-winning outfielder Carlos Beltran to a three-year contract. (BASEBALL-YANKEES/BELTRAN, expect by 2000 GMT/3 PM ET, 350 words)

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NATIONAL HOCKEY LEAGUE

*The Sports Xchange covers all NHL games. Key matchups outlined below

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Bruins at Sabres

BUFFALO - In the first of a home-and-home set, the Boston Bruins go for their second win this season against the Buffalo Sabres. (HKN-SABRES-BRUINS-FIRSTLEDE/WRITETHRU (PIX), expect ASAP after the 0000 GMT/7 PM ET, The Sports Xchange, 400-word first lede, 700-word writethru)

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Flames at Red Wings

DETROIT - The sliding Red Wings host Calgary looking to end a six-game losing streak with some concern about 41-year-old Daniel Alfredsson's availability. (HKN-REDWINGS-FLAMES-FIRSTLEDE/WRITETHRU (PIX), expect ASAP after the 0200 GMT/9 PM ET game, The Sports Xchange, 400-word first lede, 700-word writethru)

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NHL Wrap: Bruins try to catch Pens; Wings out to snap skid

The Boston Bruins, battling with the Pittsburgh Penguins for top spot in the Eastern Conference, visit the struggling Buffalo Sabres while the Detroit Red Wings try to snap a six-game skid versus the visiting Calgary Flames in two of the 11 games on the NHL schedule. (NHL-HIGHLIGHTS/ (PIX), expect by 0430 GMT/11:30 PM ET, by The Sports Xchange, 800 words)

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AUTO RACING

Franchitti looks to shift gears after career-ending crash

Three-time Indy 500 winner Dario Franchitti spent two days trying to convince himself there was a way back from a serious head injury but discovers all roads led to a dead end and that his racing days are over after a career-ending crash at the Houston Grand Prix. (MOTOR RACING-INDYCAR/FRANCHITTI, expect by 2000 GMT/4 PM ET, by Steve Keating, 500 words)

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OLYMPICS

Groenewoud on course for Sochi after knee surgery

Canadian halfpipe skier Roz Groenewoud undergoes surgery on both knees but is expected to recover in time to compete at the Sochi Olympics. (FREESTYLE SKIING/OLYMPICS-GROENEWOUD, moved, 200 words)

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Alcott set to reach Sochi the hard way

LONDON - British skier Chemmy Alcott trains so hard that she can barely crawl out of the gym - a sacrifice the 31-year-old makes as she faces a race against time to make the Sochi Olympics after re-breaking her right leg in August. (ALPINE SKIING-BRITAIN/ALCOTT (INTERVIEW), moved, by Martyn Herman, 650 words)

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NORTH AMERICAN SPORTS

Roundups of off-field developments in the major North American professional sports leagues. (Expect by 0100 GMT/8 PM ET, by The Sports Xchange, 400 words)

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