More playoff places and seeding ere to be determined in the late games on Sunday, this time the NFC was the main focus but there was still one more place in the AFC to be claimed.
Packers at Bears
Green Bay welcomed back Aaron Rodgers for this winner takes all game in Chicago. He looked a bit rusty to begin with but eventually his class shone through and the game emerged into one of the best of the season. Jay Cutler was finding Brandon Marshall and Alshon Jeffrey with regular ease and the Bears were in the driving seat until Rodgers worked his magic late on and found a wide open Randall Cobb for a 8 yard touchdown for a thrilling 33-28 win to snatch the North title away from Chicago’s grasp
Rams at Seahawks
Seattle at last got their reward for consistent great play, home field advantage. Once again they didn’t have to move out of first gear to get a win but that is the sign of a good football team. The 27-9 win was helped by Marshawn Lynch’s 97 yards on the ground and Golden Tate’s 8 catches for 127 yards. Seahawks finish the year 13-3 and 7-1 at home.
Chiefs at Chargers
After scores earlier in the day San Diego knew that a win would see them wrap up the last playoff spot in the AFC, but that had to face a Kansas City team that despite resting its major starters were a huge hurdle. The game went into overtime after Ryan Succup missed a game winning field goal at the end of regulation. San Diego rode their luck in OT, to win 27-24 on a fake punt, it paid off and Nick Novak sent the home fans wild with his winning effort from 36 yards away.
Broncos at Raiders
Denver sealed the AFC number one seed with a domination of the Oakland Raiders 34-14, the two Raiders scores coming in garbage time. Once again it was the arm of Peyton Manning that wrote the headlines as he beat the single season yards passing record by one yard. He threw for four touchdowns in the first half. The bye week will be most welcome as the Broncos set up for a Super Bowl run.
49ers at Cardinals
Arizona still had hopes of a playoff place but they needed a win and help from Tampa Bay. A huge 407 yard effort by Carson Palmer was not enough for the Cardinals as the game come down to several field goals, three were exchanged in the final two minutes. Jay Feeley kicked a 43 yarder to tie the game with just 39 seconds left, but with two time outs and decent starting field position the Niners soon had Phil Dawson in range and he split the uprights from 40 yards as time expired for a 23-20 win.
Bills at Patriots
New England could have sneaked in as number one seed had the Broncos slipped up, but were more on guard at losing their number two seed to the Bengals. They jumped out to an early lead and withheld a spirited Buffalo comeback to win 34-20. Standout player of the day was LaGarrette Blount who had an amazing 334 all purpose yards. New England finish the season unbeaten at home and will look to get some banged up players as healthy as possible in their bye week.
Buccaneers at Saints
New Orleans just needed a win to see them in and they probably had the easiest out of all the teams in contention this weekend, a visit from Tampa Bay. Just when you needed him most Drew Brees come up big for his team, throwing for 381 yards and four scores as well as scrambling for one himself, lifting the Saints to a 42-17 win. The victory puts the Saints in as number six seed and will have to travel throughout the playoffs – something they are not too great at doing.
Eagles at Cowboys
It was a serious case of deja vu as Dallas got themselves into a seemingly winning position only to turn the ball over late in the game, and this time there was no Tony Romo to blame. Philadelphia beat the Cowboys 24-22 in Texas to win the NFC East but they were run close by a Cowboys defence that played inspired football in the second half which gave their offence a real shot at winning the game. Kyle Orton, making his first start for two years threw an interception on a potential game winning drive to send the Cowboys fans home heartbroken once more.