(Reuters) – Blair Walsh booted a 29-yard field goal as time expired to earn the Minnesota Vikings a heart-stopping 37-34 home win over the Green Bay Packers and a playoff berth on a pulsating final Sunday of the National Football League regular season. The Vikings’ victory denied the Packers the second seed in the NFC and a first round bye leaving the stage to East division rivals the Dallas Cowboys and Washington Redskins, who will clash later on Sunday in the last game on the schedule that will decide the final piece of the playoff puzzle with the winner advancing. …
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Vikings reach playoffs, Peterson misses record (Reuters)
* Packers and Vikings to meet in playoffs * Broncos grab top seed and bye in AFC * Super Bowl champs Giants eliminated (Adds later games, quotes) Dec 30 (Reuters) – Blair Walsh booted a 29-yard field goal as time expired to earn the Minnesota Vikings a heart-stopping 37-34 home win over the Green Bay Packers and a playoff berth on a pulsating final Sunday of the National Football League regular season. …
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UPDATE 1-NFL-Vikings reach playoffs, Peterson misses record (Reuters)
FOXBOROUGH, Mass. — The Patriots began Sunday knowing they needed to win and also get some outside help to grab one of the two top AFC seeds and a first-round bye in the playoffs.
Patriots win, get first-round bye (The SportsXchange)
Thanks to Houston’s late-season slump, Denver and New England will have byes when the AFC playoffs begin next week.
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Broncos get top seed in AFC (The Associated Press)
A look at the Denver Broncos’ 38-3 victory over the Kansas City Chiefs in a meaningful AFC West finale: What it means: It was a monumental day for bo…
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Wrap-up: Broncos 38, Chiefs 3
FOXBOROUGH, Mass.- The Patriots began Sunday knowing they needed to win and also get some outside help to grab one of the two top AFC seeds and a first-round bye in the playoffs.
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Patriots 28, Dolphins 0 (The SportsXchange)
DENVER (AP) – If he wants, Peyton Manning can use all that time at home to crank up the DVD player and watch the highlights. What a set he put together for himself and his acrobatic receivers on Sunday. Manning and the Denver Broncos wrapped up home-field advantage through the AFC playoffs with a predictable 38-3 runaway over the Kansas City Chiefs – a win punctuated by a pair of touchdown passes as nifty as any of the 37 Manning threw this year for his new team, which closed the regular season on an 11-game win streak. Touchdown No. 1 was a ball slightly overthrown to Eric Decker . He brought the ball into his helmet with his left hand, had it pinball against his facemask twice, then cradled it with both hands as he was falling to the ground. Touchdown No. 2 was thrown high to Demaryius Thomas , who leaped in the back of the end zone, snatched it with his right hand and got his feet down inside the line. That score made it 28-3 and the celebration was on. The only trip the Broncos (13-3) will have to make on their road to a championship would be to New Orleans for the Super Bowl. They’ll open the playoffs at home the weekend of Jan. 12-13. Coach John Fox, in search of his second trip to the Super Bowl, won his 100th career game. Thomas and linebacker Wesley Woodyard congratulated him with a big splash of orange Gatorade at the end. Manning, in search of his fifth MVP award and, yes, a second Super Bowl title, finished 23 for 29 for 304 yards, three scores and a 144.8 passer rating. Those stats easily could’ve been padded had he played the fourth quarter. But there was no need for that for a quarterback, and a team, with much bigger things in front of them. Thanks to Houston’s 28-16 loss to Indianapolis in a game that ended before the Broncos kicked off, Denver will be the top seed in the conference for the sixth time. The Broncos made the Super Bowl four of the previous five times. This marked the 73rd three-touchdown game for Manning, surpassing the record held by Brett Favre. Manning closed the regular season with 4,659 yards, only 41 short of his career high. Jamaal Charles ran for 53 yards for the Chiefs (2-14), who finished with a total of 119 yards of offense and wrapped up the first pick in next year’s draft. Coach Romeo Crennel watched the game from the sideline, leaning on a crutch, after having his knee drained of fluid earlier in the week. Many in Kansas City expect him to be unemployed soon. Though the Chiefs gave the Broncos as tough a tussle as anyone during their winning streak – in a 17-9 loss last month – this wasn’t expected to be much of a game. It wasn’t. Leave it to Manning to ramp up the degree of difficulty. Last week in an equally easy win against the Browns, he threw a pair of touchdown passes – one to Decker, one to Thomas – that the receivers snatched out of nearly perfect coverage. Manning said he was happy with those plays because he put the passes where only the receivers could catch them, and they did. This time, he almost threw both balls out of everyone’s range. Almost. Decker’s one-hand-to-helmet grab late in the second quarter was a 16-yard TD that gave Denver a 21-3 lead. It highlighted a seven-catch, 76-yard, two-touchdown day for the third-year receiver. It almost certainly would’ve been the top highlight had it not been for the Manning-to-Thomas connection on the first drive of the third quarter. That 13-yard score had shades of Montana-to-Clark: thrown high in the back of the end zone where only the 6-foot-3 receiver could catch it. He saw the ball coming, situated himself for the leap, jumped high and grabbed the ball with his right hand, cradling it into his body. Thomas finished with seven catches for 122 yards. – By Eddie Pells, AP National Writer (© Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)
DENVER – The Broncos locked up the No. 1 seed in the AFC playoffs in a game that cinched the Kansas City Chiefs’ hold on the No. 1 overall draft pick in 2013.
Broncos 38, Chiefs 3 (The SportsXchange)
DENVER (AP) — Peyton Manning threw for 304 yards and three touchdowns Sunday to lift Denver to a 38-3 win over Kansas City that sealed the No. 1 seed in the AFC playoffs for the Broncos.
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Broncos take top spot with 38-3 win over Chiefs (The Associated Press)
In NFL history, the two free-agent signings that stood above all were Reggie White to the Packers and Drew Brees to the Saints. Peyton Manning to the Broncos makes it a top three. The Broncos won the AFC West last year with a staggering amount of Tebow-fueled luck in close games. Manning was a free agent and John Elway was ready to shake things up. He knew Tebow wasn’t delivering a championship contender, and he lured Manning away from other suitors such as San Francisco, which seemed at the time to be in much better shape to compete for a championship. Once again, Manning saw the play develop well before it happened.
Broncos clinch the top seed in the AFC by pounding the Chiefs (Shutdown Corner)