Sport Seattle, led by Russell Wilson, are favourites to win next month's Super Bowl

For devotees of the NFL, this is as good as it gets – the divisional round of the play-offs, four games pitting the regular season’s finest against four challengers already battle-hardened by victory in last weekend’s ever-treacherous wild-card round. And in 2014 there’s an extra twist: the prospect that one of the longest, most painful droughts in US sport might be near an end.

Indianapolis Colts quarterback Andrew Luck (12) dives for a touchdown

American Football: Colts come back from dead to beat Kansas City

Indianapolis pulled off the second biggest comeback in NFL play-off history to stun Kansas City, while New Orleans beat Philadelphia on the last play of the game as the first wild-card games provided a thrilling start to the post-season.

A man walks along a snow covered Cass Avenue in Detroit, Michigan. The first major winter storm of 2014 bore down on the US northeast on Thursday and Friday with heavy snow, Arctic temperatures and strong winds

Arctic blast kills at least 16 across US Northeast

A second storm is set to hit the region over the next few days that could be even worse, just as the clean up begins

Bryce Brown #34 of the Philadelphia Eagles is tackled by Glover Quin #27 of the Detroit Lions

NFL: A blizzard helps blow in the liveliest weekend of the season so far

A round-up of the latest events and talking points from the world of NFL

Carlos Juan Finlay: Physician's 180th birthday marked with Google Doodle

The Cuban physician Carlos J Finlay has been honoured with a Google Doodle on the 180th anniversary of his birth.

How the convicted nephew of a Kennedy could become an unlikely poster boy for reform of the US justice system

He's rich and well-connected. But Michael Skakel's case deserves close examination

Chemring’s profits hit by shutdown in Washington

The grenade and bomb detector maker Chemring has warned that the US political shutdown is likely to hit its profitability this year.

3.5 billion of the new notes have been produced, worth $350bn

US unveils new $100 bill to foil foreign counterfeiters

The US Federal Reserve has begun circulating new $100 notes, introducing new anti-counterfeiting features – including a distinctive splash of colour – that have been more than a decade in the making.

Liberty Island - location for the Statue of Liberty - will be off-limits for the duration of the shutdown

Simon Calder: What effect will the US shutdown have on British tourists travelling to America?

The closure of so many key attractions is likely to put pressure on the museums and galleries which are open

Peyton Manning

NFL: Winless and undefeated - the Manning's are worlds apart

A weekly look at the biggest talking points in the NFL

US rapper Jay-Z performing during a concert

Review: Jay-Z - Made in America is an inspirational tale but we want to know hip-hop legend better

The collaboration between director Ron Howard and hip-hop legend Jay-Z on a music documentary may at first glance seem crazy, but it soon becomes apparent that the director of Frost/Nixon and A Beautiful Mind is perfect for the job.

The Twelve Tribes of Hattie, by Ayana Mathis. Windmill, £7.99

Tough love in hard times  from a mother  of courage

Franklin D'Olier Reeve

F D Reeve: Poet, novelist and Russian translator

In the early stages of his career, the poet F D Reeve found himself best-known as the translator who accompanied Robert Frost on his 1962 visit to the Soviet Union, the man in the middle of Frost's showdown with Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev. Years later, having established himself as a poet, novelist and translator, Reeve would find himself overshadowed again – by his eldest son, Christopher, who achieved fame playing Superman in the smash 1978 movie hit.

Ms Clinton said anyone who believed that racial discrimination was no longer a problem in US elections 'must not be paying attention'

Hillary Clinton attacks US Supreme Court ruling on voters’ rights

Speech is first high-profile engagement since leaving State Department

Passengers exit the plane in Philadelphia

No bomb found on plane from Ireland that made emergency landing in Philadelphia despite threat call

Investigators says the person who placed the call could face serious criminal charges

Fishy Phily? Don’t be dilly: Philadelphia with smoked salmon and dill

It’s been a busy couple of years at Philadelphia HQ. The range of pallid spreadable cheese seems to  be attempting to catch up to Heinz when it comes to varieties of flavour.

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Minoan Crete and Santorini
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Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

China's influence on fashion

At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

Rainbow shades

It's all bright on the night
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
Welcome to the world of Megagames

Welcome to the world of Megagames

300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

Vince Cable exclusive interview

Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

It's time for my close-up

Meet the man who films great whites for a living
Increasing numbers of homeless people in America keep their mobile phones on the streets

Homeless people keep mobile phones

A homeless person with a smartphone is a common sight in the US. And that's creating a network where the 'hobo' community can share information - and fight stigma - like never before