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Weeks Ahead
Chris Mannix
December 25, 2006
What to watch and watch for
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December 25, 2006

Weeks Ahead

What to watch and watch for

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FRIDAY 12/22
In Theaters: We Are Marshall
In 1970 a plane crash killed 41 Marshall players and coaches, wiping out a football team and devastating a community. Marshall chronicles the program's comeback under coach Jack Lengyel, played by Matthew McConaughey. Says Lengyel, "It's a movie about hope and faith and perseverance." Those who prefer inspirational tales set in the ring can see Rocky Balboa, which opens two days earlier.

SUNDAY 12/24
Ravens at Steelers
What took Brian Billick so long to start calling the Ravens' plays? Baltimore is 7--1 since the coach took over the offense in October and has a shot at home field advantage for the playoffs. The defending Super Bowl champs, meanwhile, need a victory to keep their slim postseason hopes alive. CBS 1 p.m.

MONDAY 12/25
Lakers at Heat
Christmas just won't be the same this year. For the third straight year L.A. and Miami will spend the holiday together, but with Shaquille O'Neal out with a knee injury, America won't know if Kobe Bryant is on Shaq's nice or naughty list. The Lakers must find a way to stop O'Neal's sidekick, SI Sportsman of the Year Dwyane Wade (below, with Bryant), who averaged 26.0 points against them last season. ABC 2:30 p.m.

On Shelves: Two-a-Days
The first season of MTV's reality show about the Hoover (Ala.) High football team is on DVD, with bonus footage previously available online. The release is just in time for those who want to pick up the plot: The second season premieres Jan. 30.

Pro Lacrosse: Knighthawks at Mammoth
What does John Grant have to do to win an MVP? Last season the Rochester forward (right) scored 54 goals and won the NLL's scoring race, but the award went to Buffalo Bandits goalie Steve Dietrich. Grant leads the Knighthawks against defending champ Colorado in the NLL season opener, the league's debut on its new cable partner. Versus 10 p.m.


Coming to Pass
Notre Dame's Brady Quinn was a Heisman finalist, the Maxwell Award winner and will most likely be the first quarterback taken in the 2007 NFL draft. But when the Fighting Irish face LSU in the Sugar Bowl, Quinn (right) might not be the best QB in New Orleans. Tigers junior JaMarcus Russell (left) had a 168.1 passer rating this season, tops among the 10 BCS quarterbacks and the third-best in the NCAA. Of the two, Russell figures to have an easier time in the Big Easy. Notre Dame will try to stop him with the nation's 50th-ranked pass defense, while Quinn must deal with the country's third-best antipass unit. Fox 8 p.m.