New York

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HOUSTON (AP) Texans defensive coordinator Wade Phillips said Thursday the block by New York Jets guard Matt Slauson that ended the season of Houston linebacker Brian Cushing was ``unnecessary.''

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ATLANTA (AP) During their dismal first season, the Atlanta Falcons' mascot - a real bird - apparently decided he had seen enough bad football.

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SANTA CLARA, Calif. (AP) It wasn't very difficult for Mario Manningham to leave the New York Giants after winning a Super Bowl with them.

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NEW YORK (AP) Slumping Alex Rodriguez has been dropped to fifth in the New York Yankees' batting order and ailing Derek Jeter has been shifted to designated hitter for Game 4 of the AL division s

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OAKLAND (1-3) At ATLANTA (5-0)

Sunday, 1 p.m., CBS

OPENING LINE - Falcons by 9 1/2

RECORD VS. SPREAD - Oakland 1-3; Atlanta 4-1

SERIES RECORD - Raiders lead 7-5

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