Highlights of the week ahead in sports, both here and afar:
NFL: New England at N.Y. Jets, 5:30 p.m., ESPN:
“I never realized how similar that I am to Tom Brady,” New York Jets coach Rex Ryan said last week, referring to the New England Patriots quarterback. “I mean, the obvious physical appearance would be the first thing. The fact that he’s married to a supermodel? Hello?” Apparently, no one’s picking up on the other line. Since both the Jets and Pats won on Thanksgiving, they’re 9-2, tied for the league’s best record. A scroll across the bottom of ESPN the other day also pointed out: “Based on computer projections, winner of game has 80-plus percent chance of winning AFC East.” We weren’t aware that the BCS had anything to do with this. What do the computers say now that the Jets are without safety and punt returner Jim Leonhard?
NBA: Clippers vs. Sacramento, Staples Center, 7:30 p.m., Prime:
These Kings – losers of seven in a row, 4-14 overall, 1-9 against the Western Conference, 0-4 against the Pacific Division — were a cure for the Lakers’ woes the other night. Nice of them to come back for more punishment against the only other team challenging them for worst record in the entire league.
Series: “Men of a Certain Age,” 10 p.m., TNT:
The second season of the dramedy starring Ray Romano, Scott Bakula and Andre Braugher continues with the storyline about how Joe (Romano) seems confident enough to work on his golf game and possibly try out for the Champions Tour. Somehow, his friends Terry and Owen will try to help. But not. It’s a longshot, but Joe seems to like to gamble on such odds.
NBA: Lakers vs. Washington, Staples Center, 7:30 p.m., FSW:
After a rumor was floated last week that the Wizards were about to trade Gilbert Arenas to the Orlando Magic, team owner Ted Leonsis told either Woodward or Bernstein at the Washington Post that “Gilbert is not going anywhere.” The former Grant High of Van Nuys High star, whose been coming off the bench, has seen his minutes shrinking. These Wizards are an eclectic collection — with rookie John Wall (averaging a team-best 18 points a game), former USC guard Nick Young averaging 11, and center JaValle McGee, the son of former USC womens’ All-American Pam McGee. But they need something shaken and stirred into their potion. They were 0-9 on the road, a franchise record, going into Sunday’s game at Phoenix.
NHL: Ducks at Edmonton, 6:30 p.m., Prime:
A recent list in Forbes magazine listed the Ducks as the 19th-most valuable team in the NHL, worth $188 million. Edmonton was right below, at $183 million. At least they aren’t Phoenix.
NBA: Lakers vs. Clippers, Staples Center, 7:30 p.m., Prime, Channel 9:
We’ve come to marvel about the play of Kobe Bryant, and Blake Griffin. About how a team with them on it could possibly even lose. It’s happened. Quite a few times more than the Lakers and Clippers would have liked so far this year. With the Lakers, it’s the confidence of having won the last two NBA titles that seems to keep everyone calm. With the Clippers, who haven’t been to the playoffs since 2006, when they were a win away from the conference championship, its taken for granted. The two teams meet four times a season, and it’s only taken 21 games for this first one (they’ll have one meeting in January, February and March). The Clippers have actually won two of the last three meeting against the Lakers. Technically, it’s the first of seven road games in a row for them. They won’t be back until four days before Christmas
NHL: Ducks at Vancouver, 7 p.m, KDOC:
We hear the spots on DirecTV promoting the NHL Center Ice package. In one of them, the announcer says: “If Luongo stands on his head in Vancouver, will you stand on your feet in Los Angeles?” In this case, Kings fans would.
NHL: Kings vs. Calgary, Staples Center, 7:30 p.m., FSW:
A deserved three days off for these rebounding Kings after back-to-back home wins against Florida and Detroit – thanks to two game-winners by Anze Kopitar. The Kings are 6-2 when he scores a goal this season.
NFL: Indianapolis at Tennessee, 5 p.m., NFL Network:
Jeff Fisher’s Titans, 0-5 after a 5-2 start, are 31st in the league in passing yards a game, and 26th in allowing passing yards per game. Peyton Manning’s eyes just got a little bigger.
Movie: “The Fighter,” opens in theatres nationwide:
The story of how Irish” Mickey Ward, played by Mark Walhberg, rose from adversity to become a champion boxer, with his brother, played by Christian Bale, fighting as well to stay out of jail and unite their family. And there’s a scene with Amy Adams in her underwear. Check out the trailer.
High-school football: Oaks Christian vs. Westlake, CIF Southern Section Northern Division championship, 7:30 p.m., FSW:
Westlake (12-1) beat its cross-town rival 31-12 in early October. Will Oaks Christian (11-2) be up to the rematch challenge?
NBA: Lakers at Chicago, 5 p.m., Channel 9, ESPN:
Another opportunity for Phil Jackson to say something and have it run crazy around the rest of the league.
NHL: Ducks vs. Calgary, Honda Center, 7 p.m., Prime:
Before flaming out, the Flames go over to Anaheim to continue their road trip.
College football: Heisman Trophy announcement, 5 p.m., ESPN:
Knowing how things work now, Cam Newton’s dad may have something to say about how the voting is tabulated for this one. And the feeble-minded NCAA has no jurisdiction.
College football: Army vs. Navy in Philadelphia, 11:30 a.m., Channel 2:
The first one was played 120 years ago, when Cadet Dennis Mahan Michie accepted a challenge from the Naval Academy. But from 1894 to 1898, they were forbidden by President Grover Cleveland to play each other, after “a reputed incident” between a Rear Admiral and a Brigadier General that nearly led to a duel after the 1893 Navy victory. Finally, they agreed to a neutral site — Philadelphia. Next year, the game takes a break and goes to Washington, D.C. Navy (8-3), already slated to play San Diego State in the Poinsettia Bowl, leads the series 54-49-4 against Army (6-5), which is going to the Armed Forces Bowl in Dallas — its first bowl game in 14 seasons.
NBA: Clippers vs. Memphis, Staples Center, 12:30 p.m., Prime; NHL: Kings vs. Minnesota, Staples Center, 7:30 p.m., FSW:
Another of those two-games-in-one-day deals at Staples Center, unless there’s an extended encore from Andrea Bocelli (he’ll be in concert there the night before).
College basketball: UCLA vs. Cal Poly, Pauley Pavilion, 5 p.m., Prime:
Ben Howland has instructed all those monitoring the entrances not to allow any Big 12 officials into the building.
College basketball: USC vs. Northern Arizona, Galen Center, 1 p.m., FSW:
James Dunleavy, Mike’s son, has actually appeared in two games so far. Logging a grand total of three minutes. And one point.
Mixed martial arts: UFC 124 in Montreal, 7 p.m.
Georges St. Pierre faces the top welterweight contender, Josh Koscheck. But in an undercard, 6-foot-7 Sean “Big Sexy” McCorkle (10-0) takes on 6-foot-11 Stefan “Skyscraper” Struve (20-4). Both have significant reaches.
High-school football: Servite vs. Mission Viejo, CIF Southern Pac-5 Division championship, Angels Stadium, 7:30 p.m., Prime:
The top-two seeds are both 13-0, and Servite has a 24-game winning streak, including a 19-18 win over Mission Viejo in last year’s division semifinals.
NFL: New England at Chicago, 1 p.m., Channel 2:
The NFC North-leading 9-3 Bears face the Patriots in the game of the year – after the Patriots’ game against the Jets six days earlier.
NFL: Philadelphia at Dallas, 5:15 p.m., Channel 4:
The Cowboys and Eagles will play each other twice in the last four weeks of the season, and this is their first meeting since Dallas topped Philly on Jan. 6 of last season for their first playoff victory since ’96. It was also the third time it topped the Eagles last season. “Can we all together on three say it? The demons are — what? — gone!,” exclaimed exuberant Cowboys owner Jerry Jones afterward.
NBA: Lakers at New Jersey, 10 a.m., Channel 9:
Jordan Farmar’s ears are burning. See if he tries to stow himself aboard the Lakers’ team charter after this one ends. Chew on that.
NBA: Clippers vs. Orlando, Staples Center, 6:30 p.m., Prime:
Remember Jason “White Chocolate” Williams? The Magic still have him on their roster, but in his 11th NBA season, he’s only getting about eight minutes a game, barely enough time to average less than one assist and two points a game. The Clippers remember him. They signed him as a free agent in August of 2008. A month later, Williams announced his retirement. A year later, he came back, with Orlando. And it’s been less than Magic ever since.
Soccer: NCAA Division I men’s final, Louisville or North Carolina vs. Akron or Michigan, at UC Santa Barbara, 1 p.m., ESPN2:
UCLA had a chance to be here, but lost to 19-0-3 Louisville, 5-4, in the quarterfinals under snowy conditions. Early weather forcast for this one in Santa Barbara: No snow.