Perhaps forgotten by some, but they’re not gone.
The Super Bowl champion Philadelphia Eagles are back in the football’s postseason tournament. And, Frank Reich, who helped them get there last year as the offensive coordinator is going, too, with his Indianapolis Colts.
The Colts defeated the Tennessee Titans, 33-17, Sunday night in the final regular season game of the NFL season. It was a win-or-out game and the Colts never trailed against their AFC South rivals.
Philadelphia defeated the undermanned Washington Redskins on the road, 24-0, and got help it needed when the Chicago Bears won at Minnesota, 24-10. That eliminated the Vikings, and gave Philadelphia the final NFC wild card playoff berth, the No. 6 seed in the playoffs. Seattle had clinched the other wild card last week.
At the other end of Pennsylvania, the Pittsburgh Steelers didn’t get the help they needed. The Steelers eked out a 16-13 win over the Cincinnati Bengals, but the Baltimore Ravens’ 26-24 win over Cleveland and the Indianapolis win eliminated Pittsburgh from the playoffs for the first time since 2013.
Baltimore clinched the AFC North championship while Kansas City (AFC West) and Houston (AFC South) clinched the division titles that were on the line Sunday.
Kansas City (No. 1) and New England (No. 2) clinched the top seeds in the AFC and the first-round byes that go with them. New Orleans went into the weekend assured of No. 1 in the NFC. The Los Angeles Rams wrapped up No. 2 in the NFC with a win over San Francisco even though they finished with the same record as the Saints.
The coming weekend’s wild-card matchups look like this:
AFC: Indianapolis at Houston on Saturday afternoon, which will make it a third meeting between these AFC South rivals, and the Los Angeles Chargers at Baltimore on Sunday.
NFC: Seattle at Dallas on Saturday night and Philadelphia at Chicago on Sunday.
Game of the day
Colts 33, Titans 17
The scoop: Andrew Luck passed for three touchdowns, including two that got Indy off to a 14-0 lead in the first half. Tennessee got one back when linebacker Jayon Brown returned an interception 22 yards. The teams then exchanged field goals in the last 39 seconds of the half. Indianapolis widened the lead on Luck’s 1-yard pass to Ryan Hewitt in the third quarter. Blaine Gabbert passed 22 yards to Luke Stocker to cut the deficit to seven late in the third but Indy closed it out on a 25-yard Adam Vinatieri field goal and an 8-yard Marlon Mack run after the Titans went on fourth down and failed in their own end.
Why the Colts won: Tennessee was 0 for 6 on third down conversions until the fourth quarter and finished 1 of 9. The Titans were outgained 439 to 258.
Ready to dance
Ravens 26, Browns 24
The scoop: Linebacker C.J. Mosley deflected, then hauled in an interception on a fourth-down pass by Baker Mayfield from the Ravens’ 39 to preserve the victory. That was after Mayfield’s third touchdown pass put the Browns in position to win the game. Baltimore’s only two touchdowns came on runs of 25 and 8 yards by rookie QB Lamar Jackson.
Why the Ravens won: They had 296 yards rushing, 117 by Kenneth Dixon.
Chiefs 35, Raiders 3
The scoop: Patrick Mahomes passed for two touchdowns, covering a total of 156 yards, as the Chiefs had no trouble with Oakland. Mahomes opened with a 67-yard TD connection to Tyreek Hill, then an 89-yarder to Demarcus Robinson in the second half. Mahomes became the third passer in history to throw for 50 touchdowns in a season.
Why the Chiefs won: After giving up the Hill touchdown on the opening series, Oakland turned the ball over on its next four possessions.
Chargers 23, Broncos 9
The scoop: The Broncos made LA sweat for a while, but the Chargers put it away with nine fourth-quarter points. Two came on a rare return of a two-point conversion try Denver. Cornerback Casey Hayward returned the attempt from one end zone to the other to make it 16-9. A 75-yard drive that ended with a 1-yard Austin Ekeler run put it away.
Why the Chargers won: Denver lost three fumbles and had one pass picked off.
Bears 24, Vikings 10
The scoop: Chicago, got little from defensive star Khalil Mack, who hardly played and had no defensive stats, but spoiled the Vikes’ playoff bid.
Why the Bears won: They allowed no sacks on Mitch Trubisky and Jordan Howard ran for 109 yards and two touchdowns. Minnesota had 63 yards and no rushing TDs.
Rams 48, 49ers 32
The scoop: Not as close as the score indicates. Nick Mullens of the 49ers passed for two of his three touchdowns in the last 6:54, one a 43-yarder to tight end George Kittle. Aaron Donald of the Rams had one sack for eight yards, leaving him at 20.5 for the season, short of the NFL record of 22.5 by Michael Strahan.
Why the Rams won: The Rams played without Todd Gurley, but C.J. Anderson ran for 132 yards in his absence and Jared Goff passed for four touchdowns.
Texans 20, Jaguars 3
The scoop: DeShaun Watson was sacked six more times but he ran for 66 yards and a touchdown and completed 25 of 35 for 234 yards. DeAndre Hopkins had 12 receptions for 147 yards. The other Houston touchdown was a 7-yard run by Lamar Miller.
Why the Texans won: The Jacksonville offense was totally ineffective. The Jaguars gained only 118 yards, and had six first downs.
Patriots 38, Jets 3
The scoop: After running the Bills into the ground last week, New England turned Tom Brady loose. He passed for four of the five Patriots touchdowns. The fifth was a 46-yard fumble return by linebacker Kyle Van Noy.
Why the Patriots won: They scored touchdowns in four of five Red Zone trips while the Jets were 0 for 2 there and kicked a field goal after reaching the 23.
Seahawks 27, Cardinals 24
The scoop: Seattle had two Sebastian Janikowski field goals in the fourth quarter after the Cards had rallied for a 21-all tie. One of the two Arizona touchdowns came on a blocked-punt recovery in the end zone by rookie linebacker Dennis Gardeck.
Why the Seahawks won: They had an uninspired performance in a game they didn’t really need but they ran for 182 yards, 122 by Chris Carson.
Cowboys 36, Giants 35
The scoop: NFL rushing champion Ezekiel Elliott did not play but quarterback Dak Prescott did. He passed for four touchdowns, including the game-winner for 32 yards to Cole Beasley with 1:12 to play. Saquon Barkley of the Giants had four receptions for 33 yards, givin ghim 91 for the season breaking Reggie Bush’s record of 88 by a running back
Why the Cowboys won: They stopped Eli Manning and the Giants on downs with 46 seconds left.
Sitting it out
Steelers 16, Bengals 13
The scoop: Rookie kicker Matt McCrane, who signed with the Steelers on Friday was a Pittsburgh hero with two fourth-quarter field goals including the winner from 35 yards with 1:56 to play. Cincinnati had only nine first downs and 196 yards of offense.
Why the Steelers won: They overcame a 105-yard rushing performance by Joey Mixon of the Bengals
Lions 31, Packers 0
The scoop: Aaron Rodgers left the game with a concussion early and Green Bay was totally ineffective. Green Bay had only 175 yards offense. Detroit’s slumping offense rolled up 402 yards, 266 on Matthew Stafford passes. T.J. Jones had two touchdown receptions as the Lions swept their season series from Green Bay for the second year in a row.
Why the Lions won: Green Bay had 46 yards rushing, 40 of it by backup quarterback DeShone Kizer.
Falcons 34, Buccaneers 32
The scoop: Matt Bryant kicked a 37-yard field goal on the final play to win it after the Bucs had taken the lead on two touchdown passes by Jameis Winston. Matt Ryan of the Falcons passed for two touchdowns, one to Julio Jones, and caught a touchdown pass from Mohammed Sanu on a 5-yard play in the third quarter
Why the Falcons won: They rolled up 489 yards and scored on six of the last seven possessions after getting nothing in their first five.
Dog of the day
Panthers 33, Saints 14
The scoop: How do you beat New Orleans? Simple. Ask Drew Brees to take a day off. Panthers third string QB Kyle Allen, a rookie, ran for one touchdown and passed for two others before he left the game with a shoulder injury. The game had no effect on the playoff picture.
Why the Panthers won: They scored on their first four possessions.
News wire services contributed to this report