12.17.18: Five things you should plan for the week ahead based on unscientific evidence of guaranteed importance

1oneThe afterglow of the Chargers’ Thursday night win in Kansas City carries on more than a week before they’re back in prime time again. A Week 16 face off against Baltimore at the soon-to-be-name-changed StubHub Center (Saturday, 5:20 p.m., NFL Net) is important to stay on track for a possible AFC West title and playoff bye (Kansas City goes to Seattle for a 5:20 p.m., Sunday game on NBC). A playoff spot is already guaranteed for the Chargers, as well as the Rams who visit Josh Rosen and Arizona (Sunday, 1:05 p.m., Channel 11). The Rams squashed the Cardinals in Week 2, 34-0, when Sam Bradford was the opposing quarterback (17 of 27 passing, 90 yards, 1 interception). And what do the Cardinals have to lose here? Maybe the No. 1 overall pick in the 2019 draft. According to ESPN’s Football Power Index, the 3-11 Cards have an 82 percent chance of landing the top pick if they play their cards right from here on. The 3-11 Raiders have lower odds based on a 23-21 win over Arizona in Week 11.
The end of Week 15:
* New Orleans at Carolina, Monday at 5:15 p.m., ESPN
The rest of Week 16:
* Washington at Tennessee, Saturday at 1:30 p.m., NFL Network
* Pittsburgh at New Orleans, Sunday at 1:25 p.m., Channel 2
 * Houston at Philadelphia, Sunday at 10 a.m., Channel 2

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1twoThe Lakers and Golden State Warriors play on Christmas Day. But on the eve of Christmas Eve – is that a thing? — the Clippers get a crack at the defending NBA champions in Oakland (Sunday, 5:30 p.m., Prime Ticket).
The rest of the Clippers schedule this week, all at Staples Center:
* Vs. Portland, Monday at 7:30 p.m., Prime Ticket
* Vs. Dallas, Thursday at 7:30 p.m., TNT
* Vs. Denver, Saturday at 2 p.m., Prime Ticket
The Lakers this week:
* At Brooklyn, Tuesday at 4:30 p.m., Spectrum SportsNet
* At Staples Center vs. New Orleans, Friday at 7:30 p.m., SSN, ESPN
 * At Staples Center vs. Memphis, Sunday at 6:30 p.m., SSN

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1threeA 7-3 UCLA team, coming off a somewhat embarrassing home loss to Belmont, may want to get away to Chicago for a meeting with Ohio State (Saturday, noon, Channel 2) as part of the CBS Sports Classic event (followed by Kentucky vs. North Carolina, 2:15 p.m.). This follows a trip to No. 15 Cincinnati (Wednesday, 6 p.m., ESPN2). A stat to ponder: UCLA as a team has made just 61 percent of its free throws this season, 335th in the nation.
Also this week for Southern California teams:
* USC at Santa Clara, Tuesday at 7 p.m.; at Galen Center vs. Southern Utah, Sunday at 6 p.m., Pac-12 Network
* Long Beach State at Pepperdine, Thursday at 7 p.m., and at Walter Pyramid vs. Colorado State, Saturday at 2 p.m.
* Cal State Northridge at New Mexico State, Wednesday at 6 p.m.; At the Las Vegas Classic vs. Southern Illinois Edwardsville, Saturday at 11 a.m. and vs. either Northern Colorado or Rider, Sunday TBA
* Loyola Marymount vs. Boise State at Gersten Pavilion, Wednesday at 7 p.m.; at UC Riverside, Saturday at 2 p.m.
* Pepperdine at Oregon State, Monday at 7 p.m., Pac-12 Network; vs. Long Beach State at Firestone Fieldhouse, Thursday at 7 p.m.
This week nationally:
Tuesday: Princeton at Duke, 3 p.m., ESPN2; Buffalo at Syracuse, 5 p.m., ESPN2
Thursday: Texas Tech vs. Duke at Madison Square Garden in N.Y., 4 p.m., ESPN2
Saturday: Wake Forest at Tennessee, 9 a.m., ESPN2;  Kansas at Arizona State, 6 p.m., ESPN2

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1fourThe next chunk of the 39-game college football bowl schedule to knock out is highlighted by trips to the Bahamas, Honolulu and Mobile, Ala., involving not teams from the Pac-12, one branch of the military service, and the Aztecs of San Diego State, if you’re in search of a rooting interest.
Tuesday:
* Boca Raton Bowl in Boca Raton, Fla.: Alabama-Birmingham vs. Northern Illinois, 4 p.m. ESPN
Wednesday:
* Frisco Bowl in Frisco, Tex.: San Diego State vs. Ohio, 5 p.m., ESPN
Thursday:
* Gasparilla Bowl at Tampa, Fla.: Marshall vs. South Florida, 5 p.m., ESPN
Friday:
* Bahamas Bowl: Florida International vs. Toledo, 9:30 a.m., ESPN
* Famous Idaho Potato Bowl at Boise, Idaho: Western Michigan vs. BYU, 1 p.m., ESPN
Saturday:
* Birmingham Bowl in Birmingham, Ala.: Memphis vs. Wake Forest, 9 a.m., ESPN
* Armed Forces Bowl in Fort Worth, Tex.: Houston vs. Army, 12:30 p.m., ESPN
* Dollar General Bowl at Mobile, Ala.: Buffalo vs. Troy, 4 p.m., ESPN
* Hawaii Bowl at Honolulu: Hawaii vs. Louisiana Tech, 7:30 p.m., ESPN

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1fiveNot sure anyone this season wants to replicate the stylized announcement that incoming Stanford linebacker Aeneas DiCosmo did with his performance on The Players’ Tribun last week. Now it’s official, as Wednesday marks the early signing period for high school football players declaring their college choice. Fox Sports West will have an hour-long show starting at noon with the announcements of some local players, including Mater Dei four-star linebacker Mase Funa (USC, Oregon) and St. John Bosco three-star linebacker Ralen Goforth (UCLA, USC, Oregon, Vanderbilt).

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