Eagles hosting Falcons to launch 2018 regular season

The Philadelphia Eagles will open their first Super Bowl defense when they host the Atlanta Falcons on Thursday, Sept. 6, to start the 2018 NFL regular season, the NFL announced Thursday night.

The Eagles defeated the Falcons 15-10 in the NFC divisional round last season en route to their Super Bowl LII victory.

The New York Jets will host the Detroit Lions on Sept. 10 in the first Monday Night Football game of the season, followed by the Los Angeles Rams at the Oakland Raiders later that night. Former MNF analyst Jon Gruden makes his regular-season coaching return with the Raiders that night.

Flexible scheduling in which a Sunday afternoon game can be switched to the evening because it is a better matchup than the previously planned game will be in use for Weeks 11-17. But two Sundays in Weeks 5-10 also can have a game flexed to night.

In a new twist, flex scheduling will be used for Saturday games in Weeks 15 and 16. In Week 15, two games will be played on Saturday, Dec. 15: Houston at the Jets and Cleveland at Denver, with game times of 4:30 p.m. ET and 8:20 p.m. ET to be determined. In Week 16, two of four possible matchups will be scheduled for Saturday: Baltimore at the L.A. Chargers, Jacksonville at Miami, the New York Giants at Indianapolis, or Washington at Tennessee. Start times for Saturday games for Week 15 and 16 will be announced no later than following Week 8, with the contests not chosen for Saturday to be played on Sunday on the 16th weekend.

Clint Capela had 26 points and 15 rebounds, Harden added 24 points and the Rockets pulled away in the third quarter to get another lopsided win and eliminate the Minnesota Timberwolves with a 122-104 victory in Game 5 of the first-round series Wednesday night.

The top-seeded Rockets are headed to the second round for the second year in a row after taking care of the eighth-seeded Timberwolves. Minnesota was in the postseason for the first time since 2004.

Houston will await the winner of the Utah-Oklahoma City series, which the Jazz lead 3-2 after the Thunder rallied from a big deficit Wednesday night to avoid elimination.

After scoring 22 points in Houston’s 50-point third quarter in a Game 4 blowout Monday night, Harden poured in half of Houston’s 30 points in the third quarter Wednesday night to put the Rockets up for good. His 15 third-quarter points matched Minnesota’s output in the frame, and he finished with 12 assists.

“I knew that Minnesota wasn’t going to just go away,” he said. “We had to do the right things to put them away.”jets_111

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