Dec. 25 (Bloomberg) -- The New York Giants defeated the New York Jets 29-14, setting up a season finale against the Dallas Cowboys on Jan. 1 to decide the division title and which team makes the National Football League playoffs.
Victor Cruz scored on a team-record 99-yard scoring pass from Eli Manning for the Giants, who improved to 8-7 with their second win in the past seven games. Manning and Cruz join New England’s Tom Brady and Wes Welker for the second 99-yard touchdown pass this season to set an NFL record.
The Giants are now tied for first place in the National Football Conference’s East division with the Dallas Cowboys, who lost 20-7 at home to the Philadelphia Eagles. The Giants’ win eliminated the Eagles (7-8) from playoff contention.
“It wasn’t the prettiest game offensively that we’ve ever played, but we didn’t make many mistakes,” Manning, who was 9-for-27 passing, said in a news conference. “We didn’t force things and put ourselves in harm’s way.”
The Jets fell to 8-7 with their second loss in a row and are one game behind the Cincinnati Bengals for the final wild-card playoff berth in the American Football Conference. The Bengals defeated the Arizona Cardinals 23-16 yesterday.
The Tennessee Titans and Oakland Raiders both won, tying the Jets with 8-7 records. The Titans won 23-17 at home against the Jacksonville Jaguars.
Raiders Win in Overtime
The Raiders won 16-13 in overtime at the Kansas City Chiefs on a 36-yard field goal by Sebastian Janikowski, tying the Denver Broncos atop the AFC West division. Denver (8-7) lost 40-14 at Buffalo as Tim Tebow was intercepted four times. The Detroit Lions (10-5) secured their first playoff berth since 1999 with a 38-10 victory at home against the San Diego Chargers. The San Francisco 49ers (12-3), who already have clinched the NFC West, won 19-17 at Seattle.
The New England Patriots (12-3) rallied from a 17-point halftime deficit to defeat the Miami Dolphins 27-24 to clinch a first-round playoff bye and maintain the best record in the AFC. They have a one-game lead for the conference’s top playoff seed over the Baltimore Ravens and Pittsburgh Steelers.
The Patriots’ rally marked the 10th time this season a team has come back from at least 17 points down to win, the most in a single-season in the NFL.
Ravens, Steelers Tie
The Ravens and Steelers remain tied atop the AFC North with 11-4 records. Baltimore won 20-14 against the Cleveland Browns and Pittsburgh defeated the St. Louis Rams 27-0.
Cam Newton threw for 171 yards to set an NFL rookie passing record and lead the Carolina Panthers to a 48-16 win against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Newton, who threw for three touchdowns and also scored on a 49-yard run, now has 3,893 yards passing this season to break the record of 3,739 set in 1998 by Peyton Manning.
The Minnesota Vikings lost running back Adrian Peterson to a left knee injury while winning 33-26 against the Washington Redskins.
The Giants have now won five straight games against the Jets dating back to 1996. The Giants are seeking to return to the NFL postseason for the first time since the 2008 season, having missed the playoffs the past two years.
The victory also gives them bragging rights over their New York-area rivals and an 8-4 lead in the series all-time. The teams share MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey, where the Giants were considered the visiting team yesterday and were 3-point underdogs, according to Las Vegas oddsmakers.
Mark Sanchez was 30-of-59 passing for 258 yards and two interceptions for the Jets, who haven’t beaten the Giants in a regular-season game since 1993.
“They were the better team today, and they’re the better team this year,” Jets coach Rex Ryan said in a news conference.
With yesterday’s loss, the Jets will have to beat Miami in their Jan. 1 season finale to have a chance to make the playoffs for a third straight year under Ryan. The Jets fell a win short of the Super Bowl the past two seasons, losing in the AFC title game.
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