Meanwhile, the picture isn't quite so clear in the NFC, where four of six teams are in with the NFC East and West division winners yet to be determined.
The Colts beat the stubborn Kansas City Chiefs, 20-13 thanks to a defensive touchdown off an interception, two Adam Vinatieri field goals and a fourth quarter touchdown pass by quarterback Andrew Luck to Reggie Wayne to help the Colts improve to 10-5 and a wild card playoff berth.
It's a fitting touch for the Colts in a season that has seen Head Coach Chuck Pagano (pictured below right) battle leukemia and has just recently returned to lead the team heading into the post-season.
Meanwhile, the Baltimore Ravens clinched the AFC North with a resounding 33-14 home win against the fading (and defending Super Bowl champion) New York Giants.
The Ravens (10-5) snapped out of a recent funk by exploding on offense for 533 yards, which included 309 yards passing and two TD passes from QB Joe Flacco. Running back Ray Rice ran for 107 yards and scored a touchdown as well.
The Giants slipped to 8-7 and are in serious danger of missing the playoffs, which would be the first time a defending Super Bowl winner would be out of the following season's playoffs since 2009 when the Pittsburgh Steelers missed out.
The Atlanta Falcons (13-2) clinched "home field" advantage throughout the NFC playoffs with a 31-18 road win against the Detroit Lions on Saturday night as QB Matt Ryan threw four touchdown passes to lead the way.
Ryan is the Heftyinfo NFL co-Player of the Week along with the Lions wide receiver Calvin Johnson, who set a new NFL record for most receiving yardage in a season in the loss. Johnson broke the mark of Hall-of-Famer Jerry Rice, who set the record in 1995 while playing with the San Francisco 49ers.
The Denver Broncos continue to be the hottest team in the NFL with their 10th straight win, a 34-12 whipping of the visiting Cleveland Browns. Broncos' QB Peyton Manning threw three touchdown passes and the defense limited the Browns to 233 yards in offense while recording six sacks, giving them a league leading 48 QB sacks this season.
The Broncos (12-3) win keeps the pressure on the Houston Texans (12-3), who lost at home to the Minnesota Vikings 23-6, for the top spot in the AFC playoffs.
The Vikings' defense dominated the game, limiting Houston to only 187 yards on offense while QB Christian Ponder threw a TD pass to pace the offense. The Vikings are now 9-6 and clan clinch a wild card playoff spot next weekend with a win against Green Bay.
The New England Patriots (11-4) kept pace with Denver and Houston for the top overall spot in the AFC with a 23-16 road win at Jacksonville as QB Tom Brady overcame two first half interceptions with a pair of TD passes.
In a wild game in Dallas, the New Orleans Saints beat the Cowboys, 34-31 in overtime as kicker Garrett Hartley hit a 20-yard field goal to decide things.
Dallas QB Tony Romo had 416 passing yards and four TD passes in the loss, which dropped the 'Pokes to 8-7 for the year. Saints' QB Drew Brees was slightly better with 446 yards passing and had three touchdowns to help lead the win.
The Cowboys will face the Washington Redskins (9-6) next week in DC for all the marbles in the NFC East thanks to the Redskins 27-20 road win against the Philadelphia Eagles.
Washington QB Robert Griffin III threw for two scores and running back Alfred Morris had a touchdown run to lead the way to the team's sixth consecutive victory.
The Green Bay Packers dismantled the visiting Tennessee Titans, 55-7 as QB Aaron Rodgers (342 pass yards) had three TD passes and a rushing touchdown as well to help the Packers improve to 11-4. Running back Ryan Grant chipped in the rout with two TD runs and the defense sacked Titans' QB Jake Locker seven times while holding the Titans offense to just 180 total yards.
The Chicago Bears (9-6) kept their playoff hopes alive with a 28-13 road win at Arizona as the defense scored twice and also held the Cardinals to 248 yards of offense. Bears' QB Jay Cutler threw a TD pass to Brandon Marshall and Matt Forte' added a touchdown run in the win, which snapped a three-game losing streak.
The Seattle Seahawks served notice in prime time on the Sunday Night Football game they are FOR REAL with a 42-13 beat down of the visiting San Francisco 49ers.
Russell Wilson, the team's rookie QB, had four touchdown passes and RB Marshawn Lynch rumbled for 111 yards and a touchdown to squash the vaunted San Francisco defense. The win improved the 'Hawks to 10-5 and still with a shot at winning the NFC West.
The 49ers are 10-4-1 and play at home against the Arizona Cardinals next week while the Seahawks will host the St. Louis Rams.
Other games around the NFL . . .
The St. Louis Rams (7-7-1) went on the road to Tampa Bay and came away with a 28-13 win as defensive back Janoris Jenkins took a interception back for a touchdown for the third time this season, which ties an NFL record . . . Carolina Panthers QB Cam Newton ran and threw for touchdowns in a 17-6 home win against the Oakland Raiders . . . The Miami Dolphins (7-8) beat the visiting Buffalo Bills 24-10 behind two TD passes from QB Ryan Tannehill . . . The San Diego Chargers (6-9) got a 27-17 road win against the New York Jets (6-9) as QB Philip Rivers threw for two touchdowns and the defense recorded 11 QB sacks to lead the way.
The Heftyinfo NFL co-Players of the Week
|Atlanta Falcons QB Matt Ryan has led team to NFL's best record.|
|Detroit Lions WR Calvin Johnson (81) set a new NFL receiving yardage record.|