While the Giants beat the Washington Redskins 17-14 on the final day of the NFL’s regular season, they needed a loss by the Packers to claim the second of two wild-card berths in the National Football Conference.
“We did our part, that’s what we came here to do,” Giants coach Tom Coughlin said at a news conference. “Unfortunately Green Bay did win and there’s no playoff opportunity for our players. I feel badly for them for that.”
Green Bay was held scoreless until the third quarter before rallying for the home win against Chicago, which had already locked up the No. 2 seed in the NFC and a bye in the first round of the playoffs.
“Nothing has come easy for us and we wouldn’t have wanted it any other way,” Packers coach Mike McCarthy said at a news conference. “Chicago came out and battled.”
The Packers’ game ended minutes before the Giants held on for the win over the Washington Redskins in Landover, Maryland.
Eli Manning threw a 92-yard touchdown pass to Mario Manningham and the Giants’ defense forced four turnovers.
The Packers, Giants and Tampa Bay Buccaneers all finished with 10-6 records. Green Bay gets the final playoff spot by virtue of tiebreakers. The Packers will visit the Philadelphia Eagles in the first round of the NFL’s postseason, which begins Jan. 8-9. The Giants and Buccaneers are the first NFC teams with 10 or more wins to miss the playoffs since 1991.
The Seahawks won the NFC West title with a 7-9 record and will host a first-round game at 4:30 p.m. New York time Jan. 8 against the defending Super Bowl-champion New Orleans Saints, who lost today to the Buccaneers 23-13. Seattle is the first team to reach the NFL playoffs with a losing record in a full season.
The Atlanta Falcons locked up the NFC’s No. 1 seed today at 13-3 with a 31-10 win over the Carolina Panthers. The Falcons will have a first-round bye and would host home playoff games up to the Super Bowl, while the Bears will be at home in the second round as the No. 2 seed.
The Indianapolis Colts took the final playoff berth in the American Football Conference today, winning the AFC South when the Jacksonville Jaguars lost to the Houston Texans 34-17. The Colts then beat the Tennessee Titans 23-20 to claim the third seed in the AFC. Indianapolis (10-6) will host the New York Jets next week at 8 p.m. on Jan. 8.
The Jets (11-5) beat the Buffalo Bills 38-7 while resting starters after clinching a playoff spot last week.
The Pittsburgh Steelers (12-4) secured the AFC’s second seed today by winning 38-7 in Cleveland.
The Steelers won the North Division title over the Baltimore Ravens in a tiebreak and earned a bye in the opening round of the playoffs. The Ravens matched the Steelers’ 12-4 record with a 13-7 win over Cincinnati.
Baltimore is the No. 5 seed in the AFC and will visit the Kansas City Chiefs next week, with kickoff at 1 p.m. Jan. 9.
The Chiefs (10-6) missed a chance to gain the AFC’s third seed with a 31-10 home loss to the Oakland Raiders. The Raiders are the first team since the NFL-AFL merger in 1970 to go undefeated in its division and miss the playoffs.
The New England Patriots (14-2), who had previously locked up the No. 1 seed in the AFC and home-field advantage throughout the postseason, defeated the Miami Dolphins 38-7.
The Eagles, locked in as the NFC’s No. 3 seed, rested most of their starters in a 14-13 loss to the Dallas Cowboys. They will host the Packers at 4:30 p.m. on Jan. 9.
It was San Diego 33, Denver 28; Detroit 20, Minnesota 13; and San Francisco 38, Arizona 7 in other games.
The Packers snapped a 3-3 tie at Lambeau Field in Green Bay, Wisconsin, when Aaron Rodgers threw a 1-yard touchdown pass to tight end Donald Lee early in the fourth quarter.
The go-ahead score came one play after Rodgers connected with Greg Jennings on a 46-yard pass to the Bears’ 1-yard line.
The Packers, who trailed 3-0 at halftime, were held to a field goal on their previous possession after a Rodgers pass to Jennings got them inside the Chicago 1-yard line.
Green Bay clinched the victory when Nick Collins intercepted a pass from Bears quarterback Jay Cutler in the final minute. Chicago falls to 11-5.
“I’m just proud of our team,” McCarthy said. “This is an exciting day for the organization. I’m really looking forward to preparing this week and going up there and competing against Philadelphia in this tournament.”
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