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NFL Rewind: Patriots, Jaguars join playoff lineup

Two more teams joined the NFL postseason lineup with victories Sunday at a lot is still up in the air as a result of the Week 15 outcomes so far.

They can wave those Terrible Towels all the want in Pittsburgh, but Tom Brady and the New England Patriots still own their beloved Steelers.

With the help of a controversial call in the final minute the Patriots defeated the Steelers, 27-24 at Heinz Field and clinched the AFC East title and a postseason bid.   It was the sixth win in seven visits to Pittsburgh for Brady and the Pats. However, the home-field advantage in the AFC playoffs is still up in the air. New England and Pittsburgh are each 11-3, but Jacksonville (10-4) is in the running. The Jaguars gained a playoff berth for the first time since 2007 but hasn't wrapped up the AFC South yet.

Same with the Los Angeles Rams. Despite an impressive manhandling of the Seahawks in Seattle, 42-7, the Rams haven't even officially clinched a playoff berth or the NFC West title.

Playing without quarterback Carson Wentz, Philadelphia clinched a first round bye in the NFC playoffs by holding off the New York Giants, 34-29, at MetLife Stadium. Minnesota wrapped up the NFC North last week and its win over Cincinnati at home on Sunday improved the Vikings chances at getting the  No. 1 seed in the NFC.

New Orleans and Carolina still are tied for first in the NFC South while Kansas City leads, but has not clinched in the AFC West.

A capsule look at Sunday's Week 15 games.

Game of the day

Patriots 27, Steelers 24

The scoop: An apparent winning touchdown pass from Ben Roethlisberger to tight end Jesse James in the final minute was ruled an incompletion. Two players later Duron Harmon picked off a Roethlisberger pass in the end zone with 5 seconds left.
Why the Patriots won: Tom Brady completed 22 passes against them for 298 yards including nine to Rob Gronkowski for an average gain of 18.7 yards.
Eleven different Patriots caught at least one pass.

In the club

Jaguars 45, Texans 7
The scoop: It's unusual to have so one-sided an NFL games without turnovers factoring in but there was only one, an interception that led to a 45-yard Jaguars touchdown in the last minute of the first half. Blake Bortles passed for two Jaguars touchdowns, completing 21 of 29 passes for 326 yards with no interceptions. DeAndre Hopkins scored the Houston touchdown on a 25-yard pass from T.J. yates, his league-leading 12 receiving TD of the season.
Why the Jaguars won: Houston had only nine first downs and 186 yards total offense against the No. 2 ranked defense in the league.

Vikings 34, Bengals 7

The scoop: It's painful at times watching the Bengals  fold before our eyes. Case Keenum passed for two TDS and Terry Bridgewater made a brief late-game appearance, the first time he's played since the 2015 season after a horrific knee injury suffered in preseason in 2016.
Why the Vikings won: They held the worst offense in the NFL to 161 total years, 115 passing.

Eagles 34, Giants 29

The scoop: Nick Foles, starting for injured Wentz, passed for touchdowns to four different receivers but Philadelphia needed to stop the Giants at the Eagles' 11 with 43 seconds left to avoid the upset. ... Eli Manning passed for three Giants scores and 434 yards. He connected 11 times with Sterling Shepard for 139 yards and a 67-yard TD pass.
Why the Eagles won: They hung on at the end despite giving up 504 yards of offense.

The waiting list

Ravens 27, Browns 10

The scoop: Baltimore, which has won 18 of the last 20 games against the Browns, took the lead for good, 10-7, on a 2-yard run by QB Joe Flaccos with 3:01 left in the first half. Cleveland was down a score in the third quarter before Ravens defensive tackle Brandon Williams returned a fumble 1-yard for a touchdown.
Why the Ravens won: The Browns compete well but can't stop turning the ball over. They had four to none for Baltimore.

Panthers 31, Packers 24
The scoop: Aaron Rodgers and brought some life back to the Green Bay offense with three TD passes, but it wasn't enough. Rodgers had three interceptions and the Packers lost a fumble after they had recovered a late onsides kick with a chance to tie the game. Cam Newton passed for four Carolina TDs with no interceptions.
Why the Panthers won: The intercepted three Rodgers passes and had no turnovers themselves.

Saints 31, Jets 19

The scoop: New Orleans never was behind but the Jets hung around until Mark Ingram broke away for a 50-yard run with 1:33 left, his second touchdown run of the game. Bryce Petty started at quarterback for New York and completed 19 of 39 for 179 yards and was intercepted twice. Michael Thomas had nine receptions for 93 yards and a touchdown for New Orleans.
Why the Saints won: They put together four long (64 yards or more) scoring drives in addition to Ingram's insurance tally.

Rams 42, Seahawks 7
The scoop: Despite the impressive point total, it was the L.A. defense as much as the offense that led the victory at  NFC rival Seattle. The Rams scored on six of their seven possessions in the first half but their longest drive was 56 yards. They began five series inside Seattle territory including once from the 1 after a 53-yard punt return by Pharoh Cooper. Todd Gurley scored four touchdowns for L.A. as he ran for 152 yards and three TDS and caught a pass for the other. Jared Goff completed 14 of 21 passes but for only 120 yards.
Why the Rams won: They held Seattle to just 149 yards total offense, 71 net yards passing. They sacked Russell Wilson seven times.

The pretenders

Cowboys 20, Raiders 17

The scoop: Dan Bailey kicked a 19-yard field goal with 1:44 left to win it. A fumble out of the end zone by Oakland quarterback Derek Carr that resulted in a touchback clinched the victory that kept Dallas' long-shot playoff hopes alive. Oakland trailed 10-0 and 17-10, tied the game on a 2-yard pass from Derek Carr to Michael Crabtree with 10:35 left.
Why the Cowboys won: A 40-yard pass completion from Dak Prescott to Dez Bryant set Dallas up at the Raiders' 5 with 3:01 left, but the Cowboys were unable to punch it in and had to settle for Bailey's second field goal of the game.

49ers 25, Titans 23

The scoop: Jimmy Garoppolo is 3-0 as starting quarterback for San Francisco. He directed a 48-yard drive that led to Rob Gould's sixth field goal of the game, a 45-yarder as time expired to win it for the Niners. Garoppolo completed 31 of 48 for 381 yards and one touchdown as the 49ers handed Tennessee a costly loss in its quest to gain a playoff berth in the AFC.
Why the 49ers won: Gould, the ex Chicago Bear, was perfect on six field goal tries, converting from 38, 48, 28, 50, 48 and 45 yards.

Dog of the day

Redskins 20, Cardinals 15

The scoop: There were only two touchdowns in the game, both on first-half passes by Kirk Cousins of Washington. Arizona which has scored just one touchdown in the last three games got all of its points on field goals by Phil  Dawson for the second week in a row.
Why the Redskins won: Arizona was 0 for 6 in the Red Zone.

News wire services contributed to this report.

 

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