After a season full of surprises that gave us everything from a near undefeated season in Green Bay as well as a near winless in Indianapolis along with "Tebow Time" in Denver, the 12 teams entering the post-season are ready to get on with things next weekend and beyond.
The New York Giants rocked the Dallas Cowboys, 31-14 in the Sunday Night Football game behind 346 yards passing and three touchdowns by quarterback Eli Manning. The win clinched the NFC East title for the Giants (9-7) and left Dallas out of the playoffs.
|Tim Tebow and the Broncos are struggling heading into the playoffs.|
The Kansas City defense limited Denver QB Tim Tebow to just 60 yards passing and only 16 yards rushing in the win.
Oakland could not stop the Chargers' offense as Philip Rivers passed for 310 yards and three touchdowns and Richard Goodman took a kickoff back 105 yards for a touchdown to lead the way. Raiders' QB Carson Palmer threw for 417 yards and two touchdowns in the loss, which kept them from making the playoffs.
Tennessee QB Matt Hasselbeck passed for 297 yards and a pair of touchdowns as the Titans held off the Houston Texans, 23-22.
However, the Titans will not be in the post-season as a result of the New York Jets losing to Miami and Cincinnati losing to Baltimore. The complicated tie-breaker kept the Titans out of the playoffs, even though they won the game to finish 9-7, the same record as the Cincinnati Bengals.
The Miami Dolphins won at home, 19-17 to send defensive standout Jason Taylor, who's retiring, off in style.
The Dolphins' defense intercepted Jets' QB Mark Sanchez three times to keep the Jets (8-8), who lost their final three games of the season, out of the playoffs.
The New England Patriots sealed home-field advantage throughout the AFC Playoffs with a 49-21 rout of the Buffalo Bills to finish 13-3 for the season.
Patriots' QB Tom Brady joined Drew Brees in shattering the 5,000 yards passing mark for a season as he threw for three TD and 338 yards while the New England defense intercepted four passes, including one for a score to complete the comeback from a 21-0 first quarter deficit.
Pittsburgh struggled but managed to defeat the host Cleveland Browns, 13-9 to finish 12-4, but may be without running back Rashard Mendenhall, who suffered a knee injury in the game, next week at Denver in the Wild Card Playoffs round.
|Drew Brees had a record setting season|
The Green Bay Packers sat Aaron Rodgers for the final regular season game, but still put up huge numbers in a 45-41 win over the Detroit Lions to finish the year at 15-1 and home field advantage throughout the playoffs.
Reserve quarterback Matt Flynn, the Heftyinfo NFL co-Player of the Week, set a team record with 480 yards passing and had SIX touchdown passes in the win.
Detroit QB Matthew Stafford threw for 520 yards and five touchdowns in the loss, but the Lions (10-6) are the sixth seed and will face New Orleans next weekend in the playoffs.
The Atlanta Falcons (10-6) rolled to a 45-24 home win over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to move up to the five seed in the NFC Playoffs, where they will face the New York Giants next week.
Falcons' running back Michael Turner ran for 172 yards and two scores, including an 81-yard TD run to spark a 42-0 second quarter lead for Atlanta.
The Bucs (4-12) finished the season with ten consecutive losses and announced after the game they are firing Head Coach Raheem Morris.
San Francisco clinched a first round playoff bye as they finished 13-3 by topping the host St. Louis Rams, 34-27 as QB Alex Smith ran and threw for a touchdown and kicker David Akers also threw a TD pass on a fake field goal to pace the win.
Following the final game, the Rams announced they have fired Head Coach Steve Spagnuolo after finishing 2-14 this season. In three years, Spaguolo compiled a 10-38 record with the Rams.
Around the rest of the league ... The Chicago Bears snapped a five-game losing streak with a lack luster 17-13 win at Minnesota as Charles Tillman returned an interception for a touchdown ... Philadelphia (8-8) wrapped up a disappointing season with a 34-10 rout of the Washington Redskins as they scored 21 points in the fourth quarter to break open a tight game behind 335 yards and three TD passes from Michael Vick ... Jacksonville bested the Indianapolis Colts, 19-13 as running back Maurice Jones-Drew rumbled for 169 yards to assure the Colts will have the number one pick in the 2012 NFL Draft ... The Arizona Cardinals won 23-20 in overtime against Seattle as kicker Jay Feely drilled a 28-yard field goal to help the Cards finish at 8-8 for the season after a 1-6 start.
The Heftyinfo NFL Player of the Year is Green Bay Packers Quarterback AARON RODGERS.
By the way, Heftyinfo NFL picks finished 12-4 for the final weekend and had a FINAL RECORD of 165-91 for the 2011 season.