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Falcons jump on top early...Sabres win opener

Sunday - 1/20/2013, 4:50pm  ET

ATLANTA (AP) -- The Atlanta Falcons have struck first against the San Francisco 49ers in the NFC championship. On the Falcons' first possession, Matt Ryan connected with Julio Jones on a 46-yard touchdown pass and the Falcons scored a field goal on their second possession for an early 10-0 lead.

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. (AP) -- Later today, the Baltimore Ravens will play Tom Brady and the New England Patriots in a rematch of last year's AFC title game (6:30 p.m. Eastern). The Patriots are rated about a nine-point favorite to go to the Super Bowl for the second straight year.

UNDATED (AP) -- Two people with knowledge of the situation say Oregon has promoted offensive coordinator Mark Helfrich to head football coach, replacing Chip Kelly. Kelly stepped down at Oregon on Wednesday to coach the Philadelphia Eagles.

BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP) -- The Buffalo Sabres have won their season opener. Thomas Vanek scored twice and added three assists in leading the Sabres to a 5-2 victory over the Philadelphia Flyers this afternoon on the second day of the compressed 48-game NHL regular season.

EVANSTON, Ill. (AP) -- Cody Zeller had 21 points and 13 rebounds to help No. 2 Indiana beat Northwestern 67-59. Jordan Hulls added 15 points for the Hoosiers, who are poised to take over the top spot in the AP rankings in wake of top-ranked Louisville's loss to Syracuse on Saturday.

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