|Aaron Rodgers and the Packers are rolling.|
The reason the Lions, losers of three straight games to finish the regular season, qualified for the playoffs is because the Washington Redskins (8-7-1) lost at home earlier on Sunday, 19-10 to the New York Giants (11-5), who are the fifth seed in the NFC playoffs.
The defense was the story for the Giants in the win as they held the 'Skins to just 284 total yards of offense, including a meager 38 yards rushing. They also had three turnovers (two interceptions and a fumble recovery) while sacking Washington QB Kirk Cousins four times.
The Atlanta Falcons (11-5) clinched the number-two seed and a first round playoff bye in the NFC race with a resounding 38-32 home win against the New Orleans Saints.
|Falcons QB Matt Ryan had a big year.|
The game was not as close as the final score as the Falcons built a 35-13 halftime lead and coasted the rest of the way.
Over in the AFC playoff race, the Kansas City Chiefs (12-4) leap frogged the Oakland Raiders (12-4) in the final week to capture the AFC West crown by beating the host San Diego Chargers, 37-27 in what might have been the last game played in San Diego as the team's ownership is mulling a move to Los Angeles. Kansas City wins the AFC West by virtue of a two-game sweep of the Raiders this season.
Chiefs kick returner Tyreek Hill took a punt back 95 yards for a score to put the game away late in the third quarter as the Chiefs opened up a 17-point cushion. In addition, Kansas City QB Alex Smith had two TD passes and a rushing TD to pace the win.
Following the game, San Diego fired Head Coach Mike McCoy after four seasons with the team.
While the Chiefs were winning, the Raiders lost 24-6 in Denver as they had to go with third-string QB Connor Cook after backup QB Matt McGloin suffered a shoulder injury in the first half. Oakland's starting QB Derek Carr is out for the season after suffering a broken leg in Week 16.
Broncos Head Coach Gary Kubiak, who led the team to the Super Bowl title last season, announced he is retiring following a 9-7 finish this season.
The Raiders will be the fifth seed wild card team in the post-season and will face the Houston Texans next weekend. The Chiefs are the two-seed and have a first round bye.
Elsewhere Around the NFL . . . . . .
The New England Patriots (14-2) rolled to a 35-14 win at Miami to clinch home field advantage throughout the AFC playoffs as QB Tom Brady had three TD passes. The Dolphins (10-6) will be the sixth seed in the playoffs and will face the Pittsburgh Steelers . . . The Steelers (11-5) wrapped up the regular season with a 27-24 win in overtime against the hapless Cleveland Browns (1-15), who will have the first selection in the NFL Draft. The reserves led the way for the Steelers as QB Landry Jones threw for three scores, including the game winner in OT that gave Pittsburgh a seventh straight win heading into the playoffs . . . The Seattle Seahawks (10-5-1) beat the host San Francisco 49ers, 25-23 behind four field goals by kicker Steven Hauschka and solid defense. The 49ers fired Head Coach Chip Kelly following the game . . . The Tampa Bay Buccaneers (9-7) concluded the regular season with a 17-16 win against Carolina but failed to reach the playoffs as they didn't get the help needed based on tie breakers against Green Bay and Detroit . . . Same thing for the Tennessee Titans as they won their finale over visiting Houston, 24-17 to finish 9-7 but out of the playoffs as they lost in tie breakers for the AFC South. The Texans (also 9-7) won the division and will host the Oakland Raiders next weekend . . . The Philadelphia Eagles beat the Dallas Cowboys (13-3 and top seed in NFC playoffs) at home, 27-13 as QB Carson Wentz had two TD passes. Longtime Cowboys starting QB Tony Romo played for the first time in over a year and had a touchdown pass in the loss . . . The Minnesota Vikings (once upon a time 5-0 this season) finished at 8-8 as they throttled the visiting Chicago Bears, 38-10 as QB Sam Bradford set an NFL record for highest pass completion percentage in a season . . . The Indianapolis Colts salvaged a .500 finish this year as they beat the Jacksonville Jaguars, 24-20. Colts QB Andrew Luck had a pair of second half TD passes, including the game winner with just nine seconds remaining . . . The New York Jets (5-11) concluded a miserable season with a 30-10 blowout win at home against the Buffalo Bills, who finished the season with a 7-9 mark . . . The Cincinnati Bengals (6-9-1) wrapped up the year with a 27-10 win at home against the Baltimore Ravens (8-8) as running back Rex Burkhead (119 yards rushing) had two touchdowns to lead the way. Following the game, Ravens wide receiver Steve Smith announced his retirement from the NFL after 16 seasons with Carolina and Baltimore . . . The Arizona Cardinals (7-8-1) demolished the host Los Angeles Rams, 44-6 as QB Carson Palmer had three TD passes to lead the easy win.
WEEK SEVENTEEN SCORES
Cincinnati 27, Baltimore 10
Minnesota 38, Chicago 10
New England 35, Miami 14
NY Jets 30, Buffalo 10
Philadelphia 27, Dallas 13
Indianapolis 24, Jacksonville 20
Tampa Bay 17, Carolina 16
Pittsburgh 27, Cleveland 24 (OT)
Tennessee 24, Houston 17
NY Giants 19, Washington 10
Seattle 25, San Francisco 23
Denver 24, Oakland 6
Kansas City 37, San Diego 27
Atlanta 38, New Orleans 32
Arizona 44, Los Angeles 6
Green Bay 31, Detroit 24