NFL • NFL owners likely will consider expanding the playoffs by two teams, starting in 2015, when they hold spring meetings next week in Orlando, but a vote is uncertain. A groundswell for raising the number of playoff qualifiers to seven in each conference figures to get plenty of support from the 32 owners. The format of four division winners and two wild-card teams has existed since 2002.
• The Panthers say Cam Newton had successful surgery Wednesday on his left ankle and that the two-time Pro Bowl QB will be sidelined for four months.
• The Tennessee Titans have released Rob Bironas, the franchise's second-leading career scorer and the fourth-most-accurate kicker in NFL history. The 36-year-old Bironas had 1,032 career points in his nine-year career with Tennessee.