SAM FARMER / ON THE NFL

NFL Week 16 preview: Revitalized Seahawks face 49ers

Coincidentally, most of his off-season rehabilitation took place in Houston, where he is playing Sunday.

"I was on a mission," he said of his rehab. "I wasn't playing around. I really grinded hard this off-season in that Houston heat to get back. I had it in my mind from the moment I got out of surgery that I was going to be back and be good. It was really all about going through the process. It might sound crazy . . . but that was my mind-set."

Minnesota remains in contention for an NFC wild-card spot, but the Vikings cannot wrap up anything with a victory Sunday.

With a win, the Texans would clinch a first-round bye and home-field advantage throughout the playoffs.

The Atlanta Falcons clinched home field throughout the NFC playoffs when it defeated Detroit on Saturday night.

In the NFC East, the Giants, Redskins and Dallas Cowboys are tied atop the division at 8-6.

That division will not be decided until Week 17, although it's possible for the Redskins or Giants to clinch a playoff berth Sunday.

The Redskins would need a win at Philadelphia, and losses by the Giants, Vikings and Chicago, which plays at Arizona.

The Giants would need to beat the Ravens, and get losses by the Redskins, Bears, Vikings and Cowboys, who play host to New Orleans.

Giants defensive lineman Osi Umenyiora, whose team is coming off a 34-0 loss at Atlanta, said he and his teammates might have been lulled into a false sense of security because of their history of digging themselves out of late-season holes.

"No doubt about that part, and that might be a problem, because we all feel like 'OK, we've done this before, and we can do this again . . . we have the ability to challenge and we can always rise up,'" he said. "And then we put ourselves in this corner. Now we have to fight our way out of it."

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