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NFL to give away 500 tickets to February’s Super Bowl

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MINNEAPOLIS (AP) Now that the NFL is providing tickets for an entire youth football team from Minneapolis to attend the Super Bowl, it’s also giving away 500 more free tickets to the game.

The Super Bowl Ticket Giveaway will be a nationwide initiative. Beginning this week and continuing throughout the season, fans will be surprised during tailgates, or at stadiums, and even at their homes.

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More than half of the tickets (256) will be given out by the NFL teams. An additional 64 will be distributed by the Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year nominees.

The remaining 180 tickets will be awarded at league events such as fan forums, youth football clinics, and through social media and other channels, the NFL says.

Already winners: The entire Phelps Falcons team, along with coaches and pastor Jim Halbur, who started the 501c3 Phelps Activities Council in 2008, which supports numerous youth leagues, including a local youth football team made up of seventh and eighth graders.

“We know that Super Bowl tickets are out of reach for most people,” Commissioner Roger Goodell said. “That is why throughout the rest of the season, we’re going to surprise fans with tickets to the big game. In total, we’re going to give away 500 tickets to Super Bowl 52 in Minneapolis.

“Some of these tickets will be given to fans identified by our clubs as exemplifying the heart of their team spirit. Some will go to outstanding youth football coaches and community heroes. And others will recognize our most creative fans – at tailgates, in our stadiums and watching at home – who put on their face paint and jerseys, their Cheeseheads and Viking helmets, and support our teams through thick and thin.”

Watch Denver Broncos vs. Indianapolis Colts live on TNF

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The Indianapolis Colts host the Denver Broncos on Thursday Night Football in a battle of two former contenders whose seasons have gone wrong.

Following a strong start, the Broncos went 1-8, as their typically astute defense has struggled to keep opponents out of the end zone. Denver’s offense has not helped the team’s cause either. The Broncos have failed to find clarity at quarterback with Trevor Siemian, Brock Osweiler, and Paxton Lynch all seeing time.

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The Colts have had their own deficiencies this season without star quarterback Andrew Luck. Jacoby Brissett has provided admirable coverage under center with 11 touchdowns and seven interceptions, but he has not been able to keep up with a Colts defense that has let up the second-most points in the NFL this season.

Football Night in America

Start time: 7:30 p.m. ET

TV channel: NBC

Live stream: NBCSports.com, NBC Sports app

Broncos vs. Colts

Start time: 8:30 p.m. ET

TV channel: NBC

Live stream: NBCSports.com, NBC Sports app

Watch Dallas Cowboys vs. Oakland Raiders live on SNF

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The Oakland Raiders host the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday Night Football as both teams look to keep their playoff hopes alive.

With a win, Dallas will maintain its chances of sneaking into the playoffs as a wild card. After struggling initially, Dak Prescott has been able to adjust to life without Ezekiel Elliott. Prescott threw for three touchdowns and a season-high 332 yards in the Cowboys win last week over the New York Giants.

If the Cowboys can hang around, Elliott can give them a boost when he returns from suspension next week heading into the final stretch of the season.

Road to Super Bowl LII: Stream, start time, highlights and more

The Raiders also find themselves in need of a win as they are in the middle of a contested AFC West battle with the San Diego Chargers and Kansas City Chiefs. Derek Carr and the Raiders’ offense will need to improve after dropping from the league’s sixth-best offense in 2016 to 19th this season.

Football Night in America

Start time: 7:00 p.m. ET

TV channel: NBC

Live stream: NBCSports.com, NBC Sports app

Cowboys vs. Raiders

Start time: 8:30 p.m. ET

TV channel: NBC

Live stream: NBCSports.com, NBC Sports app