Cowboys win NFC East title; Packers, Steelers clinch playoff spots

Tony Romo breaks franchise passing record as Cowboys defeat Colts, 42-7, for NFC East title

Dallas ended a four-year playoff drought Sunday in a dominating 42-7 victory over the Indianapolis Colts, with Tony Romo throwing four touchdown passes and breaking Troy Aikman's franchise record for yards passing.

The Cowboys (11-4) emphatically ended a three-game home losing streak, scoring touchdowns on their first four possessions to take the NFC East.

Dallas had an opening for its first division title and postseason berth since 2009 because of Philadelphia's 27-24 loss at Washington on Saturday. The Eagles were eliminated with the Cowboys' win.

The Colts (10-5) didn't have much to play for with the AFC South title secured, and looked like it while barely avoiding their first shutout loss in 21 years.

Packers 20, Buccaneers 3

Aaron Rodgers threw for 318 yards and one touchdown to help Green Bay clinch a wild-card playoff berth.

Eddie Lacy scored on a 44-yard run, Jordy Nelson caught a 1-yard TD pass in the fourth quarter and had nine receptions for 113 yards, while Randall Cobb finished with 11 catches for 131 yards.

A 21-13 loss to Buffalo a week ago cost Green Bay (11-4) sole possession of first place in the division. It also hurt its chances for earning home-field advantage throughout the NFC playoffs. Green Bay closes the regular season at home against Detroit, and a victory will give the Packers another NFC North crown.

The Bucs (2-13) have lost five straight and remain in contention for the first overall pick in the 2015 draft.

Steelers 20, Chiefs 12

Ben Roethlisberger passed for 220 yards and a touchdown, Le'Veon Bell added a score and Pittsburgh Steelers locked up a postseason berth.

Pittsburgh (10-5) faces Cincinnati next week for the AFC North title. Either way, the Steelers will be playing January football for the first time since Tim Tebow and Denver stunned the defending AFC champions in the wild-card round three years ago.

Antonio Brown caught seven passes and a touchdown for Pittsburgh, which has won seven of nine and can clinch a division title for the first time since 2010 by beating the Bengals next week.

Kansas City's Alex Smith passed for a season-high 311 yards but was sacked six times. The Chiefs (8-7) have lost four of five and need to beat San Diego next Sunday and receive plenty of help to make it back to the playoffs for a second straight year under coach Andy Reid.

Raiders 26, Bills 24

Derek Carr threw two touchdown passes and Sebastian Janikowski kicked four field goals to help Oakland knock out Buffalo from playoff contention.

The Bills (8-7) needed to win their final two games and get some help to end the NFL's longest active playoff drought at 14 seasons. But they failed at the easiest part, beating the lowly Raiders (3-12), and will miss the playoffs for a 15th straight season.

Oakland has the second-longest active postseason drought at 12 years but has done a good job of playing spoiler in recent weeks, beating Kansas City, San Francisco and Buffalo the past five weeks.

Falcons 30, Saints 14

Julio Jones returned from a hip injury to catch seven passes for 107 yards, and Atlanta won to stay in playoff contention.

Matt Ryan completed 30 of 40 passed for 322 yards and a touchdown, and Devonta Freeman ran for a 31-yard score for Atlanta (6-9), which can win the NFC South by beating Carolina next week.

The Saints (6-9), who committed three turnovers in the fourth quarter, lost their fifth straight at home and were eliminated.

Jimmy Graham fumbled inside the Atlanta 1-yard line early in the fourth quarter. The Saints had a chance to drive for a winning score inside the final three minutes, but Robert McClain's interception of Drew Brees in Saints territory set up a field goal, and Osi Umenyiora returned Brees' fumble for an 86-yard TD as time expired.

Panthers 17, Browns 13

Cam Newton threw for one touchdown and ran for another, and Carolina took over sole possession of first place in the NFC South.

The victory sets up a winner-take-all showdown next Sunday at Atlanta between the Panthers (6-8-1) against the Falcons (6-9) for the division title.

The winner will join the 2010 Seattle Seahawks as the only teams in NFL history to reach the postseason in a non-strike-shortened season with a losing record.

Newton threw for 201 yards and ran for 63 yards just 12 days after the quarterback suffered two fractures in his lower back following an automobile accident. Jonathan Stewart ran for 122 yards and caught a 9-yard touchdown pass from Newton.

Johnny Manziel made his second NFL start for Cleveland but left with 1:49 left in the first half with a hamstring injury and did not return.

Texans 25, Ravens 13

Running back Arian Foster threw a touchdown pass, Randy Bullock made a franchise-record six field goals and Houston's defense dominated to keep its slim playoff hopes alive.

The Ravens (9-6) now need some help next week to get into the postseason after Joe Flacco threw a season-high three interceptions and the offense struggled all day.

Houston (8-7) remains in the hunt with the victory but needs several teams to lose next week.

With three quarterbacks hurt, the Texans started Case Keenum, who got his first win in nine NFL starts.

Foster ran for 96 yards. But his highlight came when took a pitch from Keenum and, with a defender in his face, threw a 5-yard touchdown pass to C.J. Fiedorowicz to make it 16-0 in the second quarter.

Patriots 17, Jets 16

Jonas Gray scored the go-ahead touchdown on a 1-yard run early in the fourth quarter after the Patriots intercepted a pass from Geno Smith, helping New England clinch a first-round playoff bye.

Tom Brady threw a 3-yard TD pass to Rob Gronkowski for the Patriots (12-3), who could earn home-field advantage throughout the AFC playoffs if Denver loses to Cincinnati on Monday night.

With the Jets (3-12) leading 13-10 late in the third quarter, Smith's pass for Jace Amaro hung in the air for an easy interception by Jamie Collins — and led to Gray's score minutes later.

Nick Folk's 52-yard field goal attempt could have given New York a lead with just over 5 minutes left, but it appeared to be partially blocked and fell short. Brady and the Patriots were then able to run out the clock for the win.

Lions 20, Bears 14

Joique Bell scored the go-ahead touchdown on a sweet run in the fourth quarter, Ndamukong Suh had two sacks and playoff-bound Detroit beat Jimmy Clausen and Chicago.

Calvin Johnson added six catches for 103 yards for Detroit (11-4), which came away with a narrow victory over a struggling team after locking up its second trip to the postseason in 15 years. The Bears benched quarterback Jay Cutler last week in favor of the undistinguished Clausen.

The Lions secured a playoff spot with Philadelphia's loss to Washington on Saturday. They were hoping to lock up their first division championship since 1993. But because the Packers beat Tampa Bay, the NFC North race will come down to next week's game at Green Bay.

Matthew Stafford overcame two interceptions and completed 22 of 39 passes for 243 yards. He hit the 4,000-yard mark for the fourth straight year, but it was hardly an easy afternoon for him.

Giants 37, Rams 27

Odell Beckham Jr. caught two touchdown passes and rolled up 148 yards receiving against a defense that hadn't allowed a TD in three straight games, leading New York to victory.

Beckham set a franchise rookie record with his 10th and 11th TD catches, shattered another rookie mark for receptions and topped 1,000 yards while shrugging off a pair of late hits in the second quarter. The second led to a brawl and three ejections, none of them to starters.

The Giants (6-9) had a season-best 514 yards in total offense and have won three in a row heading into their finale at home against the Eagles. They had lost seven straight before the current streak started.

Kenny Britt made nine catches for 103 yards and Tre Mason had 13 carries for 76 yards and a score for the Rams (6-9).

Dolphins 37, Vikings 35

Rookie Terrence Fede blocked a punt for a safety with 41 seconds left, and Ryan Tannehill threw four touchdown passes to help Miami rally to victory.

The Dolphins overcame a 14-0 deficit to take the lead, but trailed again after giving up 15 points in an 11-second span in the fourth quarter.

Tannehill then drove Miami 80 yards and hit Damien Williams for a 3-yard score with 1:11 left to make it 35-35. Fede blocked Jeff Locke's punt out of the end zone for the winning points.

Both teams went into the game playing for pride rather than a postseason berth. The Dolphins improved to 8-7 and still have a shot at their first winning season since 2008. Minnesota fell to 6-9.

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