The NFL’s top two offenses meet — the undefeated Saints (420.5 yards a game) and the twice-beaten Patriots (416.1 yards a game) — meaning someone’s going to have to play defense. New England ranks No. 7 in the league defensively; New Orleans is No. 17.
The combined record of New Orleans’ foes is also a mere 37-63; the Pats have faced a much stronger schedule. Berman, begin the bellyaching …
NFL: New England at New Orleans, 5:30 p.m., ESPN.
The Kings, est. 1967, hold the edge over the Ducks, est. 1993, by a 39-34-17 count in the regular season meetings. But in the last 10 encounters, they’re even at 4-4-2. Yeah, we know, when these two get together, they throw all the records out. Then go retrieve them, because people want to know what they are.
NHL: Kings at Ducks, Honda Center, 7:30 p.m., Prime Ticket, 1150-AM, 830-AM.
Jeff Bower. He’s the Hornets current head coach, the one they picked after they excused Byron Scott. So how’s that working? Chris Paul remains injured, leaving Darren Collison to pick up the slack. Want to return your tickets now?
NBA: Lakers vs. New Orleans, Staples Center, 7:30 p.m., FSN West, 710-AM.
Trevor Ariza won’t have any championship ring to collect on this trip to L.A.
NBA: Clippers vs. Houston, Staples Center, 7:30 p.m., Prime Ticket, 980-AM.
The winner of this one at Sherwood Country Club gets $1.35 million of the $5.75 million purse. In contention: Paul Casey, Stewart Cink, Jim Furyk, Lucas Glover, Padraig Harrington, Zach Johnson, Martin Kaymer, Anthony Kim, Sean O’Hair, Kenny Perry, Ian Poulter, Vijay Singh, Steve Stricker, Camilo Villegas, Mike Weir, Lee Westwood and Y.E. Yang.
Hmmmm. Might depend on what the state troopers of Florida may have to say about things. Because this all benefits his foundation, Tiger wants to get his story straight with his wife before leaving her behind on another road trip.
Golf: First round of the Chevron World Challenge, Sherwood Country Club, Thousand Oaks, Golf Channel, noon to 3 p.m. (Golf Channel also has the second round Friday; NBC has the third and final rounds Saturday and Sunday at noon)
To the winner of this Civil War, it’s the Rose Bowl. Not the BCS title Rose Bowl, but the other one one New Year’s Day. Oregon started it season with a Thursday night contest on ESPN — and lost to Boise State.
College football: Oregon State at Oregon, 6 p.m., ESPN.
The Longhorns have actually received some first-place voting in the latest AP poll. The Trojans, not so many. Even after that impressive win over Coppin State.
College basketball: USC at Texas, 6 p.m., ESPN2.
The Senators from Ottawa have legislated a trip to Los Angeles.
NHL: Kings vs. Ottawa, Staples Center, 7:30 p.m., FSN West, 1150-AM.
Dwayne Wade update: Still good. Fifth in the league in scoring at more than 27 a game. Seventeenth in assists at more than 5 a click.
NBA: Lakers vs. Miami, Staples Center, 7:30 p.m., ESPN, FSN West, 710-AM.
Winner gets the … let’s see … Little Caesars Bowl? Does the GMAC Bowl need someone of stature? Seems kinda shortchanging everyone here. Loser wonders why it was scheduled following the emotional letdown game against their rival.
College football: USC vs. Arizona, Coliseum, 12:30 p.m., Channel 7, 710-AM.
Winner gets the … BCS title game, right. Loser is sent to the Sugar Bowl, maybe to make sure Boise State pays the price for butting into the party.
College football: SEC Championship: Florida vs. Alabama, 1 p.m., Channel 2.
Winner gets … a BCS title bid. Uh, not so fast, Cornhuskers. That’s only for you, Longhorns.
College football: Big 12 Championship: Texas vs. Nebraska, 5 p.m., Channel 7.
Play this one outside at Dodger Stadium if you’re going to force us to watch hockey in the daytime.
NHL: Kings vs. St. Louis, Staples Center, 1 p.m., FSN West, 1150-AM.
Play this one outside at the Nokia Theatre if you’re going to force anyone to watch the Clippers try to keep pace with the Pacers.
NBA: Clippers vs. Indiana, Staples Center, 7:30 p.m., Prime Ticket, 980-AM.
As long as they’re on a road trip, head over to Atlanta and try not to make it too embarassing.
College basketball: USC at Georgia Tech, 3 p.m., Fox Sports Southwest, 710-AM.
Let’s assess the latest damage: UCLA couldn’t win the seventh place game of something called the 76 Classic in Anaheim, losing their third in a row, by 11 points to Long Beach State. The 49ers had never beaten UCLA — 0-11 going back to 1970. Where does Ben Howland’s 2-4 team go from here? A meeting against the nation’s near unanimous top-ranked team comes visiting to Pauley. Duck n’ cover.
College basketball: UCLA vs. Kansas, Pauley Pavilion, 2:30 p.m., Prime Ticket, 570-AM.
Last meeting, the Lakers collected a 121-102 win over the Suns, playing the second of a back-to-back, on Nov. 12. They’ve been No. 1-2 in the Pacific Division ever since.
NBA: Lakers vs. Phoenix, Staples Center, 6:30 p.m., FSN West, 710-AM.
NBC picked this one from the Fox schedule recently because, well, wouldn’t you want to see Brett Favre against Kurt Warner in prime-time now that “Curb Your Enthusiasm” has ended its season?
NFL: Minnesota at Arizona, 5:15 p.m., Channel 4.