NFL playoff field set with Packers, Patriots, Steelers streaking

By Omnisport 2 January 2017
NFL playoff field set with Packers, Patriots, Steelers streaking

The NFL's playoff field is set and it was not finalised until Sunday's regular-season finale in Detroit when the Packers clinched the NFC North and the number four seed in the NFC with a 31-24 victory over the Lions.

While the Packers won the division, they joined the Lions in having each clinched a playoff berth before kicking off at Ford Field. 

The New York Giants (11-5) eliminated the Washington Redskins from playoff contention with a 19-10 road win at FedEx Field. Washington (8-7-1) would have clinched a spot by winning and the Packers-Lions loser would have been out of the postseason. 

Green Bay will now host the Giants next Sunday while the Lions will travel to Seattle to play the third-seeded Seahawks (10-5-1) on Saturday. The Seahawks won at the San Francisco 49ers, who fired both head coach Chip Kelly and general manager Trent Baalke following the 25-23 home loss. 

The Atlanta Falcons (11-5) wrapped up the second seed with a 38-32 win over the New Orleans Saints. The Cowboys (13-3) had already sealed up home field advantage in the NFC before Sunday's 27-13 loss to the Philadelphia Eagles as Dallas rested several starters. 

The New England Patriots (14-2) cruised to a 35-14 win over the Dolphins (10-6) to get the top seed in the AFC. Miami are the sixth seed and will play at Pittsburgh next Sunday to face the third-seeded Steelers (11-5), who ensured the Browns (1-15) would have the top pick in the NFL Draft with a 27-24 overtime victory.

The number two seed in the AFC are the Kansas City Chiefs (12-4), who won the AFC West with a 37-27 win over the Chargers in what might have been the final NFL game in San Diego. The Oakland Raiders (12-4) could have won the division but lost 24-6 to the Denver Broncos.

Oakland are the fifth seed and will play Saturday at Houston. The Texans (9-7) lost 24-17 at the Tennessee Titans, but had already clinched the AFC South and the fourth seed. 

Elsewhere, the Minnesota Vikings accounted for the Chicago Bears 38-10, the Arizona Cardinals humbled the Los Angeles Rams 44-6, the Buffalo Bills lost 30-10 to the New York Jets, the Cincinnati Bengals trumped the Baltimore Ravens 27-10, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers beat the Carolina Panthers 17-16 and the Indianapolis Colts defeated the Jacksonville Jaguars 24-20.

 

BUMBLING BILLS

The Bills allowed the Jets to score a touchdown in New York's win by failing to recover a kick-off. Bills running back Mike Gillislee let the ball roll into the end zone and Doug Middleton fell on the live ball for a Jets touchdown. 

Panthers quarterback Cam Newton tossed three interceptions in Sunday's loss to the Buccaneers. Tampa Bay's Brent Grimes returned one of those picks for a score.

Los Angeles Angels centre fielder Mike Trout got a special souvenir following a touchdown pass from Carson Wentz to Zach Ertz to help the Eagles beat the Cowboys. 

 

BRADY SETS EFFICIENCY MARK

Patriots quarterback Tom Brady had a record-setting day in Miami. Brady threw for 276 yards with three touchdowns and zero interceptions to set an NFL record for best single-season touchdown-to-interception ratio. Brady has 28 touchdowns and just two picks this season. He also passed former Dolphins quarterback Dan Marino for fourth place on the NFL's all-time passing yards list. Brady has 3,554 yards in just 12 games this season and 61,582 yards for his career. Marino (61,361) is now fifth behind Brady, Drew Brees (66,111), Brett Favre (71,838) and Peyton Manning (71,940).

Speaking of Brees, his 350 yards against the Falcons give him 5,208 for the season. Of the nine 5,000-yard passing seasons in NFL history, Brees has five of them. Marino (1984), Brady (2011), Matthew Stafford (2011) and Manning (2013) have the others. 

Vikings quarterback Sam Bradford did take a record from Brees. Bradford was 25 of 33 for 250 yards with three touchdowns and an interception in Minnesota's win over the Bears. By completing 75.8 percent of his passes on Sunday, Bradford finishes the season with a 71.6 completion percentage to set a new NFL mark previously held by Brees. 

 

GATES PASSES GONZALEZ

Chargers tight end Antonio Gates caught five passes for 55 yards in the loss to the Chiefs. He also scored on a two-yard pass and tied former Chiefs and Falcons tight end Tony Gonzalez with 111 touchdowns, the most ever by a tight end. 

Bears running back Jordan Howard ran for 135 yards against the Vikings and set a new Bears rookie record with 1,313 yards this season. That breaks the record previously held by Matt Forte.

 

RODGERS FULFILLS PREDICTION

Robert Mathis to team-mates after his final NFL game: "It's on you to protect your dream. If you want to be great, go get it. It can happen."

Aaron Rodgers on Green Bay's six-game winning streak: "They never broke. We could have fractured at some point, but we stuck together. Every game we came with a great focus and when adversity hit in the game, we pushed right through it."

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