Baltimore Ravens inside linebacker C.J. Mosley, centre, celebrates his interception in the win over Cleveland Browns. Picture: AP
Baltimore Ravens inside linebacker C.J. Mosley, centre, celebrates his interception in the win over Cleveland Browns. Picture: AP

NFL playoff picture revealed on final day

THE playoff chase went down to the final minutes of the season, when Baltimore squeezed in as AFC North winner, and defending Super Bowl champions Philadelphia got some help to secure an NFC wildcard.

That left Pittsburgh and Minnesota out.

Kansas City grabbed the AFC's top seed, followed by New England, Houston and Baltimore.

The Chargers own the first wildcard and will play at the Ravens next weekend.

The winner of the night game between the Colts and Titans at Tennessee will have the other wildcard and travel to Houston.

The Saints have the top seed in the NFC, and the Rams got the No.2 spot when they beat San Francisco.

Chicago, whose win at Minnesota knocked out the Vikings and put the Eagles into the postseason, are seeded third and get Philadelphia next weekend.

Dallas are the fourth seeds and will play Seattle.

C.J. Mosley intercepted a fourth-down pass by Baker Mayfield to preserve the Ravens' 26-24 win as Baltimore (10-6) rushed for a season-best 296 yards.

Baltimore Ravens inside linebacker C.J. Mosley intercepts a pass attempt from Cleveland Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield in the final moments of their clash. Picture: AP
Baltimore Ravens inside linebacker C.J. Mosley intercepts a pass attempt from Cleveland Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield in the final moments of their clash. Picture: AP

A year ago, Baltimore missed the playoffs by losing their finale at home to the Bengals, who rallied with a last-minute touchdown.

Steelers players remained on the field after they edged Cincinnati 16-13 and watched the drama from Baltimore on the videoboard.

But their archrival Browns couldn't help them against the equally hated Ravens, and unless Indianapolis and Tennessee tie in the prime-time game, Pittsburgh (9-6-1) is out.

Nick Foles, who led the Eagles to the Super Bowl title over the Patriots in Minneapolis last February, guided them to a resounding 24-0 victory at Washington.

Then the Bears helped out at Minnesota with a 24-10 win even though they had nothing to play for, being set as the NFC's third seed.

Earlier, the Texans rallied from losing their first three games to win the AFC South and will be the No 3 seed, hosting a wild-card contest next weekend.

Houston (11-5) easily handled Jacksonville 20-3 as quarterback Deshaun Watson threw for 234 yards and ran for a touchdown, and DeAndre Hopkins had 147 yards receiving.

Deshaun Watson and the Houston Texans are heading to the NFL playoffs. Picture: AP
Deshaun Watson and the Houston Texans are heading to the NFL playoffs. Picture: AP

The Texans finished last in the division in 2017. Houston and the Bears have done the worst-to-first turnaround this season, making it 15 of the past 16 seasons that has occurred in the league.

"It's do or die now, so you've got to put everything on the line now," Watson said.

"Prepare harder than you did before and anything can happen at this point. The tournament is wide open and it's my first playoff, so I'm just excited to get in and see how things go."

Tom Brady and the New England Patriots have earned a week off once again. Picture: AP
Tom Brady and the New England Patriots have earned a week off once again. Picture: AP

New England, meanwhile, will get a week off in early January for the 13th time since 2001, most in the NFL during that span. The Patriots (11-5) routed the Jets 38-3, and because they defeated Houston during the season, they get the bye.

"Eleven and five is nothing to be sad about," Patriots quarterback Tom Brady said.

"We fought pretty hard and put ourselves in good position."

WILDCARD WEEKEND: NFL PLAYOFF PICTURE

NFC

Chicago Bears v Philadelphia Eagles

Dallas Cowboys v Seattle Seahawks

* New Orleans Saints and Los Angeles Rams have the bye

AFC

Houston Texans v Indianpolis Colts or Tennessee Titans

Baltimore Ravens v Lose Angeles Chargers

* Kansas City Chiefs and New England Patriors have the bye