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Thursday February 27th, 2020 9:11AM

The Latest: Taylor Heinicke gets start with Cam Newton out

By The Associated Press
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The Latest on NFL's Week 16 (All times Eastern).

12:30 p.m.

Some Carolina players are warming up with white T-shirts with a green bottle of Heineken on the front, only the word "Heinicke" replaces "Heineken" in support of quarterback Taylor Heinicke, who makes his NFL starting debut against the Falcons.

Cam Newton had given Heinicke the nickname.

The Panthers sat down Newton, the league's 2015 MVP, because of lingering shoulder problems that have prevented him from throwing balls more than 15 yards downfield.

There is a chance Newton could play in Week 17 against the Saints if the Panthers are somehow still alive in the playoff race.

Carolina needs to beat Atlanta and have Minnesota lose this week to survive until next weekend.

The Panthers host the Falcons in the regular season home finale.

—Steve Reed in Charlotte, North Carolina.

___

11:30 a.m.

It's Week 16 of the NFL schedule, which always means several teams can secure playoff berths.

New Orleans, Kansas City, Chicago and the Los Angeles Chargers already have qualified.

New England wins its 10th successive AFC East title with a victory or tie at home against Buffalo, or Miami losing or drawing with Jacksonville.

Houston takes the AFC South by beating the Eagles in Philadelphia. It earns at least a wild-card spot with a Pittsburgh loss at New Orleans.

The Chiefs earn the AFC West crown with a victory at Seattle now that the Chargers have lost to Baltimore.

In the NFC, a Saints victory gets them home-field advantage throughout the playoffs. If the Bears lose at San Francisco or the Rams fall at Arizona, New Orleans has a first-round bye even with a loss to the Steelers.

A Rams win and Bears loss gives LA a wild-card round bye.

If Dallas beats visiting Tampa Bay, it owns the NFC East. Should the Eagles lose to Houston, the Cowboys also get the division title. They can also earn at least a playoff berth if they tie the Bucs and the Vikings lose at Detroit.

But Minnesota can take a wild-card spot with a win and loss by Philly.

Finally, Seattle also gets a wild card if it beats the Chiefs

___

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