First Down: Best of the weekend

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Is it still considered bad form to talk politics during a social gathering?

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THE BEST OF THE WEEKEND IN SPORTS

Ravens at Patriots

Baltimore is looking like one of the most balanced teams in the NFL with its usual great defense and Joe Flacco under center. But the Patriots should be charged up as they look to avoid their second loss.

Southern Cal at California

Cal looked like the team to beat in the Pac-10 until it got throttled by Oregon last week. Southern Cal is still wondering how it lost to Washington two weeks ago. Both teams need to avoid a loss if they want a berth in the Rose Bowl.

Jets at Saints

Everyone is in love with Mark Sanchez, but New York’s defense has made it 3-0. Can the unit stop the undefeated Saints and their explosive passing attack?

AL Central race

The Tigers hold a two-game lead on the Twins heading into the final weekend. But Detroit faces the White Sox, while Minnesota meets the uninspiring Royals.

TWT FIVE OLYMPIC BID UPSETS

1. 2000 Summer Games - Sydney trailed Beijing in the first three rounds of voting by members of the International Olympic Committee, but it eked out a victory in the final round 45-43.

2. 2012 Summer Games - Paris entered the final vote as the favorite, but IOC members were swayed by the last-minute arrival of British Prime Minister Tony Blair and his wife.

3. 1996 Summer Games- Athens put up a strong bid in its effort to host 100 years after putting on the first modern games. Athens led through the first two rounds, but Atlanta gained support later to win.

4. 2010 Winter Games - Pyeongchang had an 11-vote lead after the first round, but the elimination of Salzburg put 18 votes up for grabs, and Vancouver got 16 of them.

5. 2014 Winter Games - Salzburg and Pyeongchang went after the games again but were edged by Sochi. An impassioned speech from Russian President Vladimir Putin reportedly was the difference-maker.

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