The end is near for 20 teams that will not make the post-season party. For the 12 teams (the four division winners and the two wild card teams in the NFC and AFC), their week is just getting underway after Sunday’s action and for the third straight season, the final game of the season (game number 256) is for all the marbles. It’s winner-takes-it-all, loser goes home as Green Bay travels to the Motor City for a prime time contest with the Detroit Lions.

ICYMI: In the NFC, Dallas beat Detroit 42-21 Monday night in Arlington, which allowed them to secure the NFC East and home-field advantage throughout the NFC playoffs on Thursday night due to the New York Giants’ loss.

Atlanta defeated Carolina 33-16, locked up the NFC South, which allowed them to lock the top spot up with Tampa Bay’s loss at New Orleans.

The New York Giants may have lost on Thursday night at Philadelphia but they punched their ticket to the playoff party after the New Orleans Saints beat Tampa Bay Saturday afternoon in the Big Easy.

The Houston Texans defeated Cincinnati Saturday night, allowing them to clinch the AFC South.

The Pittsburgh Steelers won the AFC North with a win over Baltimore Sunday afternoon.

The Kansas City Chiefs clinched a playoff berth with a win after Baltimore lost to Pittsburgh Sunday afternoon at Heinz Field.

The Miami Dolphins, who defeated Buffalo 34-31 in overtime, clinched a playoff berth after Denver lost t0 Kansas City Sunday  night. For the Dolphins, it is their first playoff berth since 2008.

•The New England Patroits defeated the New York Jets 41-3 to improve to 13-2 on the season. The Patriots have six seasons with at least 13 victories in franchise history, tying the Denver Broncos for the second-most 13+ win seasons in NFL history. The San Francisco 49ers (nine) are the only franchise with more 13+ win seasons.

Patriots head coach Bill Belichick recorded his 200th career regular-season victory with New England, becoming the fifth head coach in NFL history to reach 200 regular-season wins with a franchise, joining Pro Football Hall of Famers George Halas (318 with Chicago), Don Shula (257 with Miami), Tom Landry (250 with Dallas) and Curly Lambeau (209 with Green Bay).

•Atlanta quarterback Matt Ryan passed for 277 yards and two touchdowns for a 121.8 passer rating in the Falcons’ 33-16 victory at Carolina. Ryan connected on touchdown passes to tight ends Joshua Perkins and D.J. Tialavea – the first career TD catch for each player – and has thrown a touchdown pass to 13 different players this season, the most in a single season in NFL history.

Carolina tight end Greg Olseon had six catches for 59 yards against Atlanta. Olsen, who has 1,051 receiving yards this season, is the first tight end in NFL history to record three consecutive seasons with at least 1,000 receiving yards.

•Miami running back Jay Ajayi rushed for 206 yards – including 75 yards on the team’s game-winning drive in overtime – and one touchdown in the Dolphins’ 34-31 OT victory at Buffalo. Ajayi, who rushed for 204 yards in Week 6 vs. Pittsburgh and 214 yards in Week 7 vs. the Bills, is the fourth player in NFL history to record three games with at least 200 rushing yards in a single season, joining Pro Football Hall of Famers Earl Campbell (four in 1980) and O.J. Simpson (three in 1973) and Tiki Barber (three in 2005).

Ajayi has 420 rushing yards in two games against Buffalo this season, the fourth-highest rushing total against one team in a single season, trailing Jamal Lewis (500 vs. Cleveland in 2003), Simpson (469 vs. New England in 1973) and La Dainian Tomlinson (430 vs. Oakland in 2003).

•Arizona running back David Johnson had 136 scrimmage yards (95 rushing, 41 receiving) and three rushing touchdowns in the Cardinals’ 34-31 win at Seattle. Johnson has scored multiple touchdowns in 11 career games, tying Pro Football Hall of Famer Eric Dickerson and Edgerrin James for the most such games in a player’s first two seasons in NFL history.

With 136 scrimmage yards in the win, Johnson joined Pro Football Hall of Famer Barry Sanders (15) as the only players in NFL history to record 15 consecutive games with at least 100 scrimmage yards in a single season. He also extended his NFL-record streak of consecutive games with 100+ scrimmage yards to start a season to 15 games.

Johnson has 1,233 rushing yards and 841 receiving yards this season and is the fourth different player in NFL history with at least 1,200 rushing yards and 800 receiving yards in the same season, joining Pro Football Hall of Famer Marshall Faulk(1998-2000), Le’Veon Bell (2014) and Steven Jackson (2006).

•Green Bay quarterback Aaron Rodgers passed for 347 yards and four touchdowns for a 136.6 passer rating in the Packers’ 38-25 victory over Minnesota. Rodgers, who has 4,128 passing yards this season, has six career seasons with at least 4,000 passing yards, passing Pro Football Hall of Famer Brett Farve (five) for the most in franchise history.

Rodgers added 13 rushing yards and a rushing touchdown in the victory, bringing his career rushing total to 2,502 yards. Rodgers, who has 36,527 career passing yards, joins Pro Football Hall of Famers John Elway (51,475 passing, 3,407 rushing) and Fran Tarkenton (47,003 passing, 3,674 rushing) and Donovan McNabb (37,276 passing, 3,469 rushing) as the only players in NFL history with at least 35,000 passing yards and 2,500 rushing yards in a career.

Packers wide receiver Jordy Nelson had nine catches for 154 yards and two touchdowns in the win over Minnesota. Nelson, who has 14 touchdown receptions this season, has three seasons with at least 13 touchdown catches in his career and puts himself in some pretty good company, tying Pro Football Hall of Famers Lance Alworth, Cris Carter and Marvin Harrison for the fourth-most in NFL history. Only Pro Football Hall of Famer Jerry Rice (eight), Terrell Owens (seven) and Randy Moss (six) have more such seasons in NFL history.

•Washington quarterback Kirk Cousins passed for 270 yards with one touchdown and rushed for two touchdowns in the Redskins’ 41-21 win at Chicago. This season, Cousins has passed for a franchise-record 4,630 yards and has four rushing touchdowns. He is the second player in NFL history (Aaron Rodgers, 2008-09) to have at least 4,000 passing yards and four or more rushing touchdowns in consecutive seasons.

When the 2017 season starts, three teams (Los Angeles, Jacksonville and Buffalo) will have new coaches. Jeff Fisher was let go by the Rams December 12th after their loss to Atlanta in Los Angeles, Gus Bradley and the Jaguars parted ways December 4th and Rex Ryan was given his walking papers by the Buffalo Bills Tuesday.

In case you haven’t heard, all the games this weekend are rematches, so there are no secrets unhid. For the teams that won the first time, it’s a chance to let the other team know that the first time was not a fluke; for the losers, it’s not only a chance to get revenge, it’s a chance to ruin a season in the process.

As for last week… another 10-6 (six weeks in a row with double digit wins). Not bad. It wasn’t nice but it wasn’t naughty. For the year, we’re 163-75.

As was the case last week, every game on the docket this week is DRILL WORTHY! (For those of you that know what The Drill is, you are excused. Everyone else, pay attention. We don’t want any rookie mistakes here, k?) After you go to the 9:30 mass on Sunday (the 4:30 vigil mass on Saturday counts as a mass attended, people! Don’t make us send the nuns after you! If we do, it is SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO OVER!), head to your favorite store (a trip to Wal Mart, Target, K-Mart or Costco counts) and get the vittles and the beverages (soda, beer, wine, coffee, et al… if you live in a state that allows the purchase of the items in question) and invite the co-workers, the neighbors (including that really cute kindergarden teacher that knows what to do with a cover-2 defense) and your cousin Connie (remember her? She’s the one that’s been married twice that’s just turned 57 last June and dates a 42-year old ex-Marine, who’s now a football coach at the high school in your town. She’s also the one that ate an entire Oreo cheesecake, two bags of Cool Ranch Doritos, two bacon cheeseburgers with blue cheese and chugged two 2-liter Cokes at your Super Bowl party last year and didn’t gain a pound. You look at her and say to yourself, “what the hell?”

It’s the final push for NFL teams as the regular season ends on Sunday, January 1. All 16 games are division contests. And with one week to go, there are still 14 teams in contention for a trip to Super Bowl LI.

The schedule is set for Week 17, culminating with the final game of the 2016 regular season (game number 256) to determine the NFC North winner. On Sunday night in primetime at 8:30 p.m. on NBC, the Detroit Lions (9-6) will host the Green Bay Packers (9-6) at Ford Field with the division title on the line. And depending on the results of Sunday’s earlier games, the loser of this contest could be out of the playoff picture entirely.

The playoff teams in the AFC are locked in – New England (13-2), Oakland (12-3), Kansas City (11-4), Pittsburgh (10-5), Miami (10-5) and Houston (9-6) – although there’s still plenty to play for in Week 17.

The Patriots, who have won the AFC East and earned a first-round bye, can secure home-field advantage throughout the AFC playoffs with a win or an Oakland loss. The Raiders can earn the No. 1 seed with a win and a New England loss. Oakland can lock up the AFC West and a first-round bye with a win or a loss by Kansas City. The Chiefs can take the AFC West division title and earn a first-round bye with a win and an Oakland loss.

Three AFC division winners have been determined: New England (AFC East), Pittsburgh (AFC North) and Houston (AFC South). The Steelers have won the AFC North and locked up the No. 3 seed. The Texans, who have clinched the AFC South, will enter the postseason as the No. 4 seed. The AFC West winner (Oakland or Kansas City) will earn a first-round bye and the Raiders still have a shot to claim home-field advantage.

The Dolphins have secured a Wild Card berth. The runner-up in the AFC West (Kansas City or Oakland) will qualify for the postseason as a Wild Card entrant.

In the NFC, three of the four NFC division winners have been determined: Dallas (NFC East), Atlanta (NFC South) and Seattle (NFC West). The Cowboys (13-2) have secured home-field advantage throughout the NFC playoffs. The Falcons (10-5) can earn the Number 2 seed and a first-round bye with a win or losses by both Seattle and Detroit. The Seahawks (9-5-1) can lock up the No. 2 seed and a first-round bye with a win and an Atlanta loss.

The NFC North winner will be determined on Sunday night when Detroit (9-6) hosts Green Bay (9-6) at Ford Field. The Lions can also claim the No. 2 seed and a first-round bye with a win and losses by both Atlanta and Seattle.

The New York Giants have clinched a Wild Card berth and are locked in as the No. 5 seed. The final NFC playoff spot comes down to the NFC North runner-up (Detroit or Green Bay), Washington (8-6-1) and Tampa Bay (8-7).

RACE TO 5,000: New Orleans quarterback Drew Brees (4,858), Washington quarterback Kirk Cousins (4,630) and Atlanta quarterback Matt Ryan (4,613) are the NFL’s top three passing yardage leaders this season.

Brees, Cousins and Ryan can each reach 5,000 yards passing on Sunday and would become the second trio of quarterbacks to reach 5,000 passing yards in the same season, joining Brees (5,476), Tom Brady (5,235) and Matthew Stafford (5,038) who all accomplished the feat in 2011.

The quarterbacks with 5,000 passing yards in a season:

PLAYER – SEASON (TEAM – PASSING YARDS)
Peyton Manning – 2013 (Denver – 5,477)
Drew Brees – 2011 (New Orleans – 5,476)
Tom Brady – 2011 (New England – 5,235)
Drew Brees – 2012 (New Orleans – 5,177)
Drew Brees – 2013 (New Orleans – 5,162)
Dan Marino – 1984 (Miami – 5,084)^
Drew Brees – 2008 (New Orleans – 5,069)
Matthew Stafford – 2011 (Detroit – 5,038)
Drew Brees – 2016 (New Orleans – 4,858)*
Kirk Cousins – 2016 (Washington – 4,630)*
Matt Ryan – 2016 (Atlanta – 4,613)*
*Through 15 games
^Pro Football Hall of Famer

Brees, who has recorded four of the NFL’s eight 5,000-yard passing seasons, is the only quarterback in league history to pass for at least 5,000 yards in multiple seasons.

BRADY BARELY BLEMISHED: New England quarterback TOM BRADY has passed for 25 touchdowns with two interceptions and leads the NFL with a 12.5 touchdown-to-interception ratio this season.

With three touchdowns and no interceptions at Miami on Sunday, Brady would have the highest single-season touchdown-to-interception ratio in NFL history (minimum 20 passing touchdowns).

The highest single-season touchdown-to-interception ratios in NFL history (minimum 20 passing touchdowns):

PLAYER – SEASON (TEAM, TOUCHDOWN PASSES/INTERCEPTIONS; TD/INT RATIO)
Nick Foles – 2013 (Philadelphia, 27/2; 13.5)
Tom Brady – 2016 (New England, 25/2; 12.5)*
Tom Brady – 2010 (New England, 36/4; 9.0)
Aaron Rodgers – 2014 (Green Bay, 38/5; 7.6)
Aaron Rodgers – 2011 (Green Bay, 45/6; 7.5)
*Through Week 16

ZOOMING ZEKE: Dallas rookie running back Ezekiel Elliott leads the NFL with 1,631 rushing yards, the third-highest rushing total by a rookie in NFL history.

With 69 rushing yards at Philadelphia on Sunday, Elliott would become the second rookie in NFL history with 1,700 rushing yards in a season. Elliott needs 178 rushing yards against the Eagles to surpass Pro Football Hall of Famer Eric Dickerson (1,808) as the NFL’s all-time rookie rushing leader.

The rookies with the most rushing yards in NFL history:

PLAYER, SEASON (TEAM – RUSHING YARDS)
Eric Dickerson, 1983 (Los Angeles Rams – 1,808)^
George Rogers, 1981 (New Orleans – 1,674)
Ezekiel Elliott, 2016 (Dallas – 1,631)*
Alfred Morris, 2012 (Washington – 1,613)
Ottis Anderson, 1979 (St. Louis Cardinals – 1,605)
Edgerrin James, 1999 (Indianapolis – 1,553)
*Through 15 games
^Pro Football Hall of Famer

Elliott ranks second in the league with 1,994 yards from scrimmage (1,631 rushing, 363 receiving), the third-highest total by a rookie in NFL history.

With six scrimmage yards on Sunday, Elliott would become the third rookie in NFL history to reach 2,000 scrimmage yards, joining Dickerson (2,212 in 1983) and Edgerrin James (2,139 in 1999).

The rookies with the most yards from scrimmage in NFL history:

PLAYER, SEASON (TEAM, SCRIMMAGE YARDS)
Eric Dickerson, 1983 (Los Angeles Rams – 2,212)^
Edgerrin James, 1999 (Indianapolis – 2,139)
Ezekiel Elliott, 2016 (Dallas – 1,994)*
Doug Martin, 2012 (Tampa Bay – 1,926)
Billy Sims, 1980 (Detroit – 1,924)
*Through 15 games
^Pro Football Hall of Famer

DAK DAZZLES: Dallas quarterback Dak Prescott leads all rookie quarterbacks with 3,630 passing yards, 23 touchdown passes and a 105.6 passer rating this season while helping guide the Cowboys to a 13-2 record and the No. 1 seed in the NFC playoffs.

With a victory at Philadelphia on Sunday, Prescott would record his 14th win as a starting quarterback, passing Ben Roethlisberger (13 in 2004) for the most by a rookie starting quarterback in NFL history.

Prescott (23) needs four touchdown passes on Sunday to surpass Peyton Manning (26) and Russell Wilson (26) for the most touchdown passes by a rookie quarterback in NFL history.

The most touchdown passes by a rookie quarterback in NFL history:

PLAYER, SEASON (TEAM – TOUCHDOWN PASSES)
Russell Wilson, 2012 (Seattle – 26)
Peyton Manning, 1998 (Indianapolis – 26)
Dak Prescott, 2016 (Dallas – 23)*
Andrew Luck, 2012 (Indianapolis – 23)
*Through 15 games

Prescott has thrown only four interceptions in 451 passing attempts this season and ranks third among qualifying quarterbacks with a 0.9 interception percentage, trailing only Tom Brady (0.5 percent) and Sam Bradford (0.8 percent).

Prescott is on pace to record the lowest interception percentage by a rookie quarterback in NFL history (minimum 200 passing attempts).

The rookie quarterbacks with the lowest interception percentages in NFL history (minimum 200 attempts):

PLAYER, SEASON (TEAM – PASSING ATTEMPTS/INTERCEPTIONS, INTERCEPTION PERCENTAGE)
Dak Prescott, 2016 (Dallas – 451/4, 0.9)*
Robert Griffin III, 2012 (Washington – 393/5, 1.3)
Nick Foles, 2012 (Philadelphia – 265/5, 1.9)
Charlie Batch, 1998 (Detroit – 303/6, 2.0)
Derek Carr, 2014 (Oakland – 599/12, 2.0)
*Through 15 games

PROLIFIC PASSERS: Green Bay quarterback Aaron Rodgers passed for 347 yards with four touchdown passes for a 136.6 passer rating and added a rushing touchdown in the Packers’ 38-25 win vs. Minnesota last week. Rodgers leads the NFL with 36 passing touchdowns this season. New Orleans quarterback Drew Brees ranks second in the league with 35 touchdown passes in 2016.

With four touchdown passes at Detroit on Sunday Night Football, Rodgers would become the fourth quarterback in NFL history with at least 40 touchdown passes in multiple seasons, joining Pro Football Hall of Famer Dan Marino (1984, 1986), Peyton Manning (2004, 2013) and Brees (2011, 2012).

With five touchdown passes at Atlanta on Sunday, Brees can become the first quarterback in NFL history with three seasons of at least 40 touchdown passes.

The quarterbacks with at least 40 touchdown passes in multiple seasons:

PLAYER (SEASONS, (TEAM(S); SEASONS WITH 40+ TD PASSES)
Peyton Manning, (2004 and 2013, Indianapolis and Denver; 2)
Drew Brees (2011 and 2012, New Orleans; 2)*
Dan Marino (1984 and 1986, Miami; 2)^
Aaron Rodgers (2011, Green Bay; 1)**
*Has 35 touchdown passes through 15 games
**Has 36 touchdown passes through 15 games
^Pro Football Hall of Famer

GOOD COMPANY: Green Bay wide receiver Jordy Nelson had 154 receiving yards and two touchdowns in Week 16.

Nelson, who has 91 catches for 1,191 yards and a league-leading 14 touchdown receptions this season, can become the fifth player in NFL history to record at least 100 catches, 1,200 receiving yards and 15 touchdown catches in a single season, joining Pro Football Hall of Famers Cris Carter (1995), Jerry Rice (1995) and Marvin Harrison (2001) and Randy Moss (2003).

The players with at least 100 catches, 1,200 receiving yards and 15 touchdown catches in a season:

PLAYER, SEASON (TEAM – RECEPTIONS/REC. YARDS; TD CATCHES)
Randy Moss, 2003 (Minnesota – 111/1,632;17)
Marvin Harrison, 2001 (Indianapolis – 109/1,524;15)^
Cris Carter, 1995 (Minnesota – 122/1,371; 17)^
Jerry Rice, 1995 (San Francisco – 1.848; 15)^
Jordy Nelson, 2016 (Green Bay – 91/1,191; 14)*
*Through 15 games
^Pro Football Hall of Famer

ROCKING RAIDER: Just catch the ball, baby! Oakland wide receiver Amari Cooper has 78 catches for 1,110 receiving yards and four touchdowns this season.

With one touchdown catch on Sunday at Denver, Cooper would become the third player in NFL history to have at least 70 receptions, 1,000 receiving yards and five touchdown catches in each of his first two career seasons, joining Odell Beckham, Jr. (2014-2015) and Marques Colston (2006-2007).

The players with at least 70 catches, 1,000 receiving yards and five touchdown catches in each of their first two seasons:

PLAYER, SEASONS (TEAM, SEASONS WITH 70+ CATCHES, 1,000+ REC. YARDS AND 5+ TD CATCHES IN FIRST 2 YEARS)
Odell Beckham Jr., 2014-2015 (New York Giants, 2)
Marques Colston, 2006-2007 (New Orleans, 2)
Amari Cooper, 2015-2016 (Oakland, 1)*
*Through 15 games

RINGING THE BELL: Pittsburgh running back Le’Veon Bell ranks third in the NFL with 1,884 yards from scrimmage (1,268 rushing, 616 receiving) this season, despite only appearing in 12 games.

With 116 yards from scrimmage against Cleveland on Sunday, Bell, who had 2,215 scrimmage yards in 2014, can become the seventh player in NFL history to record multiple seasons with at least 2,000 scrimmage yards in his first four career seasons.

The most seasons with at least 2,000 scrimmage yards in a player’s first four seasons:

PLAYER, TEAM (SEASONS WITH 2,000+ SCRIMMAGE YARDS IN FIRST 4 YEARS)
Eric Dickerson, Los Angeles (3)^
Terrell Davis, Denver (2)
Edgerrin James, Indianapolis (2)
Larry Johnson, Kansas City (2)
Ray Rice, Baltimore (2)
LaDainian Tomlinson, San Diego (2)
Le’Veon Bell, Pittsburgh (1)*
*Has 1,884 scrimmage yards through Week 16
^Pro Football Hall of Famer

Bell leads the NFL with a 157.0 scrimmage yards per game average in 2016, the third-highest single-season average in NFL history.

The highest single-season scrimmage yards per game averages in NFL history:

PLAYER, SEASON (TEAM – SCRIMMAGE YARDS PER GAME AVERAGE)
Priest Holmes, 2002 (Kansas City – 163.4)
O.J. Simpson, 1975 (Buffalo – 160.2)^
Le’Veon Bell, 2016 (Pittsburgh – 157.0)*
Chris Johnson, 2009 (Tennessee – 156.8)
Marshall Faulk, 2000 (St. Louis – 156.4)^
*Through 15 games
^Pro Football Hall of Famer

CATCH IT LIKE BECKHAM: New York Giants wide receiver Odell Beckham, Jr. JR. had 11 catches for 150 yards in the Giants’ Week 16 loss to Philadelphia, his 19th career game with at least 100 receiving yards, tying Randy Moss (19) for the most by a player in his first three seasons.

With 100 receiving yards at Washington on Sunday, Beckham would become the only player in NFL history with 20 career games of at least 100 receiving yards in his first three seasons.

The most 100-yard receiving games by a player in his first three seasons in NFL history:

PLAYER (SEASONS, TEAM; 100-YARD RECEIVING GAMES IN FIRST 3 SEASONS)
Odell Beckham Jr. (2014-2016, New York Giants; 19)*
Randy Moss (1998-2000, Minnesota; 19)
T.Y. Hilton (2012-2014, Indianapolis; 16)
John Jefferson (1978-1980, San Diego; 16)
Bill Groman (1960-1962, Houston; 16)
Harlon Hill (1954-1956, Chicago; 16)
*Through 15 games in third season

COMEBACKS GALORE: There have been 70 games won by teams that trailed in the fourth quarter through Week 16, tied for the most such games in a single season in NFL history.

Four teams – Houston, Miami, Pittsburgh and San Francisco – were victorious in Week 16 after trailing in the fourth quarter. The Texans and Steelers both overcame fourth quarter deficits for the second consecutive week. Houston and Pittsburgh pulled their comebacks at home, allowing them to win their division titles, while Miami’s comeback was on the road, which gave them a playoff spot.

The most games won after trailing in the fourth quarter in a single season in NFL history:

SEASON – GAMES WON AFTER TRAILING IN 4TH QUARTER IN SINGLE SEASON
2016 – 70
1989 – 70
2013 – 69
2015 – 67
2008 – 67
2001 – 67

WORST TO FIRST: The last shall be first. The Dallas Cowboys (13-2), who defeated Detroit 42-21 on Monday Night Football, clinched the NFC East division and home-field advantage throughout the NFC playoffs. It marks the 13th time in the past 14 seasons that one or more teams went from last or tied for last place to a division championship the following year.

The teams to go from “worst-to-first” in their division since 2003:

SEASON: TEAM (RECORD, PRIOR SEASON RECORD)
2003: Carolina (11-5, 7-9)
2003: Kansas City (13-3, 8-8)*
2004: Atlanta (11-5, 5-11)
2004: San Diego (12-4, 4-12)*
2005: Chicago (11-5, 5-11)
2005: New York Giants (11-5, 6-10)*
2005: Tampa Bay (11-5, 5-11)
2006: Baltimore (13-3, 6-10)*
2006: New Orleans (10-6, 3-13)
2006: Philadelphia (10-6, 6-10)
2007: Tampa Bay (9-7, 4-12)
2008: Miami (11-5, 1-15)
2009: New Orleans (13-3, 8-8)**
2010: Kansas City (10-6, 4-12)
2011: Denver (8-8, 4-12)
2011: Houston (10-6, 6-10)*
2012: Washington (10-6, 5-11)
2013: Carolina (12-4, 7-9)*
2013: Philadelphia (10-6, 4-12)
2015: Washington (9-7, 4-12)
2016: Dallas (13-2, 4-12)
* Tied for last place
** Won Super Bowl

HISTORIC WINNERS: The Green Bay Packers defeated Minnesota 38-25 on Saturday at Lambeau Field. The win marked the Packers’ 217th victory at Lambeau Field, the most home wins by any franchise at one stadium in NFL history. Green Bay surpassed Chicago, which had 216 victories at Wrigley Field.

The most home wins by a franchise at one stadium:

TEAM – VENUE, WINS
Green Bay Packers – Lambeau Field, 217
Chicago Bears – Wrigley Field, 216

The Pittsburgh Steelers defeated Baltimore 31-27 on Sunday, clinching the AFC North division title. The victory marked the 600th regular-season victory in franchise history, joining Chicago (744), Green Bay (729) and the New York Giants (683) as the only teams in NFL history to reach 600 regular-season wins.

The teams with the most regular-season victories in NFL history:

TEAM (WINS-LOSSES-TIES)
Chicago Bears (744-567-42)
Green Bay Packers (729-553-37)
New York Giants (683-572-33)
Pittsburgh Steelers (600-535-20)

New England defeated the New York Jets 41-3 on Saturday, marking Bill Belichick’s 200th regular-season win as head coach of the Patriots.

Belichick joins Pro Football Hall of Famers George Halas (318 with Chicago), Don Shula (257 with Miami), Tom Landry (250 with Dallas) and Curly Lambeau (209 with Green Bay) as the only head coaches to win 200 regular-season games with one team.

The head coaches with 200 regular-season wins with one franchise:

HEAD COACH – TEAM (WINS)
George Halas – Chicago (318)^
Don Shula – Miami (257)^
Tom Landry – Dallas (250)^
Curly Lambeau – Green Bay (209)^
Bill Belichick – New England (200)*
*Active
^Pro Football Hall of Famer

FRANCHISE CONNECTIONS: Green Bay quarterback Aaron Rodgers passed for 347 yards and four touchdowns, including two to wide receiver Jordy Nelson, in the Packers’ 38-25 win over Minnesota at Lambeau.

Rodgers and Nelson have connected on 59 touchdown passes, surpassing Pro Football Hall of Famer BRETT FAVRE and ANTONIO FREEMAN (57) for the most touchdown passes from a quarterback to a receiver in franchise history.

Pittsburgh quarterback Ben Roethlisberger passed for 279 yards and three touchdowns, including the game-winning four-yard score to wide receiver Antonio Brown with nine seconds remaining in the Steelers’ 31-27 win over Baltimore.

Roethlisberger and Brown have combined for 50 touchdown passes, putting them in some pretty good company, surpassing Pro Football Hall of Famers Terry Bradshaw and Lynn Swann (49) for the most touchdown passes from a quarterback to receiver in team history.

Roethlisberger has 301 career touchdown passes and surpassed Pro Football Hall of Famer John Elway (300) for the ninth-most touchdown passes in NFL history. Roethlisberger is the 10th player in NFL history to throw for at least 300 career touchdowns.

The quarterbacks with 300 career touchdown passes:

PLAYER- TOUCHDOWN PASSES
Peyton Manning – 539
Brett Favre – 508^
Drew Brees – 463*
Tom Brady – 453*
Dan Marino – 420^
Fran Tarkenton – 342^
Eli Manning – 320*
Philip Rivers – 312*
Ben Roethlisberger – 301*
John Elway – 300^
*Active
^Pro Football Hall of Famer

POSH PASSERS: Dallas wide receiver Dez Bryant had two touchdown catches and his first career touchdown pass in the Cowboys’ 42-21 victory against Detroit.

Bryant, who has 67 career receiving touchdowns and surpassed Pro Football Hall of Famer Michael Irvin (65) for the second-most in franchise history, is the fifth player in NFL history with two touchdown catches and a touchdown pass in the same game.

The players with two touchdown catches and a touchdown pass in the same game:

PLAYER, TEAM (DATE – TOUCHDOWN CATCHES, TOUCHDOWN PASSES)
Dez Bryant, Dallas (12/26/2016 – 2, 1)
David Patten, New England (10/21/2001 – 2, 1)
Keith Lincoln, San Diego (11/7/1965 – 2, 1)
Don Hutson, Green Bay (10/31/1943 – 2, 1)
Johnny McNally, Pittsburgh (10/17/1937 – 2, 1)

Kansas City defensive tackle Dontari Poe threw a two-yard touchdown pass in the Chiefs’ 33-10 win against Denver.

Poe, who has 1.5 sacks this season, is the first player with a touchdown pass and a sack in the same season since the sack became an official statistic in 1982.

Jacksonville quarterback Blake Bortles passed for 325 yards and one touchdown in the Jaguars’ 38-17 win against Tennessee. Bortles, who threw a 21-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Marqise Lee, also had a 20-yard touchdown reception from Lee in the victory.

Bortles and Lee became the first pair of teammates in NFL history to throw touchdown passes of at least 20 yards to each other in the same game.

Playoff Scenarios (take notes… this is going to cause more confusion than a mouse in a burlesque show!)

AFC

CLINCHED:
New England – AFC East division title and first-round bye;
Pittsburgh – AFC North division title
Houston – AFC South division title
Oakland – playoff berth
Kansas City – playoff berth
Miami – playoff berth

New England (13-2) at Miami (10-5), Sunday, 1 p.m.

New England clinches home-field advantage throughout AFC playoffs with:
1.New England win or tie OR
2.Oakland loss or tie

Oakland (12-3) at Denver (8-7), Sunday, 4:25 p.m.

Oakland clinches AFC West division title and a first-round bye with:
1.Oakland win or tie OR
2.Kansas City loss or tie

Oakland clinches home-field advantage throughout AFC playoffs with:
1.OAK win + NE loss

Kansas City (11-4) at San Diego (5-10), Sunday, 4:25 p.m.
Kansas City clinches AFC West division title and a first-round bye with:
1.Kansas City win + Oakland loss

NFC

CLINCHED:
Dallas – NFC East division title and home-field advantage throughout NFC playoffs
Atlanta – NFC South division title
Seattle – NFC West division title
New York Giants – playoff berth

Atlanta (10-5) vs. New Orleans (7-8), Sunday, 4:25 p.m.

Atlanta clinches a first-round bye with:
1.Atlanta win OR
2.Atlanta tie + Seattle loss or tie OR
3.Seattle loss + Detroit loss or tie OR
4.Seattle tie + Detroit loss

Seattle (9-5-1) at San Francisco (2-13), Sunday, 4:25 p.m.

Seattle clinches a first-round bye with:
1.Seattle win + Atlanta loss or tie OR
2.Seattle tie + Atlanta loss + Green Bay/Detroit

Green Bay (9-6) at Detroit (9-6), Sunday night, 8:30 p.m.

Detroit clinches NFC North division title with:
1.Detroit win

Detroit clinches a first-round bye with:
1.Detroit win + Seattle loss or tie + Atlanta loss

Detroit clinches a playoff berth with:
1.Detroit tie OR
2.Washington loss or tie

Green Bay clinches NFC North division title with:
1.Green Bay win or tie

Green Bay clinches a playoff berth with:
1.Washington loss OR
2.Washington tie + Tampa Bay win + Green Bay clinches at least a tie in strength of victory tiebreaker over Tampa Bay

(Note: Green Bay clinches at least a tie in strength of victory tiebreaker over Tampa Bay if one of the following teams win or tie: Seattle, Houston, Jacksonville, Philadelphia. Green Bay has already clinched strength of schedule tiebreaker over Tampa Bay in this scenario.)

Washington (8-6-1) vs. New York Giants (10-5), Sunday, 4:25 p.m.

Washington clinches a playoff berth with:
1.Washington win + Green Bay-Detroit game does not end in a tie OR
2.Washington tie + Green Bay loss + Tampa Bay loss or tie

Tampa Bay (8-7) vs. Carolina (6-9), Sunday, 1 p.m.

Tampa Bay clinches a playoff berth with:
1.Tampa Bay win + Washington tie + Green Bay loss + Tampa Bay clinches strength of victory tiebreaker over Green Bay

(Note: Tampa Bay clinches strength of victory tiebreaker over Green Bay if all of the following teams win: Tennessee, Indianapolis, Dallas and San Francisco)

So with that being said, there’s football to be played. Here are the games of week 17.

New Orleans (7-8) at ATLANTA (10-5), 4:25 p.m. on FOX and DirecTV 716. It’s a week three rematch in the Big Peach as the Atlanta Falcons play their final regular season game in the Georgia Dome before moving next door to Mercedes Benz Stadium as they host the New Orleans Saints and Drew Brees in a late afternoon contest in the Big Peach.

With their playoff hopes damaged by Atlanta’s win over Carolina Saturday, the Saints put a dent in Tampa Bay’s playoff hopes, taking 31-24 in the Big Easy over the Buccaneers. New Orleans led 13-7 at the half in the Superdome Saturday afternoon before Tampa Bay pulled to within seven with a 35-yard field goal by Roberto Aguayo with 2 minutes left in the contest. New Orleans outrushed Tampa Bay 123-89 and Brees threw for 299 yards with a TD, while Winston threw for 277 yards with two TDs, two sacks and two interceptions.

Atlanta took control of the NFC South with a 33-16 win over Carolina last Saturday afternoon in Charlotte. The Falcons were never threatened by Cam Newton and the Panthers, leading from start to finish and took a 20-3 lead to the intermission with them. Atlanta outrushed Carolina 152-119 (Tevin Coleman led all rushers with 90 yards, while DeVonta Freeman chipped in with 53) and Ryan threw for 277 yards and a pair of TDs, while Newton threw for 198 yards and a TD but was sacked twice and picked off twice in the loss.

The two NFC South foes met in the Big Easy in week three on a Monday night in the Superdome and the Falcons manhandled New Orleans 45-32. Atlanta broke a 7-7 first quarter tie and led 28-17 at the intermission and never looked back. The Falcons outrushed New Orleans 217-115 (Freeman led all rushers with 152 yards) and Coleman ran for three TDs in the Big Easy. Brees threw for 376 yards and three TDs, while Ryan tallied 240 yards with a pair of TDs (Brees threw the only interception in the contest).

New Orleans was a 3-point favorite in the Monday night meeting, which marked the 10th anniversary of the re-opening of the Superdome after Katrina almost took the city off the map. The over/under was 54 in that contest, which Atlanta won by 13 and both teams covered the over/under with 67 points. Atlanta’s favored by 7 in the final regular season game for the Georgia Dome and the over/under’s 55 1/2. Atlanta is already in the post-season, winning the NFC South last Saturday at Carolina. They would like to have the number two seed in the post-season party, while the Saints would like to ruin the party for the Falcons. Atlanta’s swept the Saints before, doing the deed in 2014. History has a way of repeating itself and it’s favoring the Falcons. New Orleans is not going quietly into the good night and will give Atlanta problems but the Falcons take this one at home in the Big Peach and could cover the 7.

Baltimore (8-7) at Cincinnati (5-9-1), 1 p.m. on CBS and DirecTV 705. With really nothing to play for, the Baltimore Ravens and Cincinnati Bengals meet along the shores of the Ohio River in a week 12 rematch. Both teams enter the season finale with losses under their belts.

Baltimore let a 27-24 lead at Pittsburgh get away from them as the Steelers took a 31-27 win to take the AFC North title and eliminated the Ravens from the playoffs in the process. Baltimore led 14-10 after the first 45 minutes of action and would take the lead with 78 seconds left on a 10-yard TD run by RB Kyle Juszczyk.

The Bengals saw their chance to damage Houston’s playoff hopes go away faster than a Christmas snowflake, as they fell to the Texans 12-10 Christmas Eve.  Houston trailed the Bengals 3-0 at the intermission, then took the lead with 8:41 left to play when RB Alfred Blue scored from 24 yards out. The PAT was blocked by the Bengals, which made it a 2-point game. Cincinnati then had a chance to send the AFC South into chaos as Randall Bullock attempted a 43-yard field goal with five seconds left. Fortunately for Texans fans, the try sailed wide left, which gave the Texans the win and the AFC South. As far as the rushing game was concerned on Christmas Eve, both defenses acted Scrooge-like, as neither Cincinnati or Houston tallied 100 yards in the contest but Houston did outrush Cincinnati 95-50 and Texans QB Tom Savage, making his first start after Brock Osweiler was benched, threw for 176 yards, while Andy Dalton threw for 268 yards and a TD pass to WR Brandon LaFell.

They met in week 12 in Charm City and the Ravens came away 16-12 winners. Baltimore led 16-3 at the half but Cincinnati managed to outscore the Ravens 11-3 in the final 30 minutes of play, pulling to within four when P Scott Koch ran out of the endzone to burn time off the clock in the fourth. Baltimore outrushed the Bengals 92-62 and Joe Flacco threw for 234 yards, while Dalton had 283 (both men threw a TD pass; Dalton was sacked three times, Flacco sacked twice).

Baltimore and Cincinnati met in Charm City in week 12 and the Ravens were 19-14 winners. Leading 16-3 at the half, Baltimore managed to hold off the Bengals in the final 30 minutes of play, as Cincinnati outscored the Ravens 11-3. Neither club came close to the 100-yard rushing barrier but Baltimore did manage to outrush their guests 92-64. Flacco threw for 234 yards, while Andy Dalton threw for 283 (each threw a TD pass in the contest, with Flacco throwing the contest’s only interception).

In the week 12 contest, the Ravens were 4 1/2 point favorites in Charm City and the over/under was 40 1/2. While the Ravens did win by 5, allowing them to cover the spread, the over/under stayed safe as both teams only scored 33 points. This time, the Bengals are a 2 1/2 point favorite and the over/under’s 41 1/2. Both teams know that when this contest ends, their season ends. The Ravens had chances to put Pittsburgh away and didn’t, while the Bengals struggled and stumbled out of the gate. At least the Bengals will get some revenge this week. Cincy covers the 2 1/2 and wins at home.

Jacksonville (3-12) at Indianapolis (7-8), 1 p.m. on CBS and DirecTV 706. The Colts close out the 2016 campaign in the Hoosier State as they host the Jacksonville Jaguars at Lucas Oil Stadium.

Jacksonville took Tennessee to task at home at EverBank Stadium, taking a 38-17 win over the Titans last Saturday in the Sunshine State. The Jags, with interim head coach Doug Marone, led Tennessee 19-7 at half and eventually knocked Marcus Mariota (99 yards, two sacks, TD) out of the contest after he broke his tibia. Jacksonville outrushed Tennessee 84-58 and Blake Bortles threw for 325 yards and a TD in the contest.

The Colts fell to Oakland Saturday afternoon in northern California Saturday, dropping a 33-25 decision to the Raiders. Indy trailed 19-7 at the break but rallied late in the contest to make it a closer affair, outscoring Oakland 18-14 in the final 30 minutes of play. Oakland outrushed the Colts 210-103, while Andrew Luck threw for 288 yards and a pair of TDs but was picked off twice. For Oakland, it was a costly win, as David Carr threw for 228 yards and three TDs before he left the contest with a broken tibia (Carr will miss the post-season) and replaced by Matt McGloin, who threw for 29 yards.

They met in London at Wembley Stadium in week four and Luck and the Colts fell 30-27 on the other side of the Atlantic. Jacksonville led 17-6 at the half before the Colts rallied to outscore the Jaguars 21-13 in the second half. Jacksonville outrushed the Colts 136-94 and Blake Bortles threw for 207 yards and three sacks, while Luck threw for 234 yards and six sacks (each man threw a pair of TDs).

In the week four affair across the Big Pond, the Colts were favored by 2 1/2 and the over/under was 49 1/2. Both teams took care of the over/under, scoring 57 points, while Jacksonville covered the spread with their 3-point win. Indy’s favored by 4 1/2 and the over/under this time around is 47. Both numbers make sense, considering that both clubs are not going to the playoffs this year. Jacksonville’s trying to pull the sweep in the series, which they haven’t done since 2011. The Colts are trying to finish .500 for the second straight season. Colts cover the 4 and take the win back home again in Indiana.

Chicago (3-12) at Minnesota (7-8), 1 p.m. on FOX and DirecTV 711. A pair of NFC North rivals meet in the Land of 10,000 Lakes as the Vikings close out 2016 when they host Da Bears at US Bank Stadium. Both NFC North teams took losses last Saturday.

Chicago found themselves being manhandled by Washington 41-21 at Soldier Field. The Redskins led 24-14 at the half in the Windy City and were never threatened by Da Bears in the latter stages of the contest, outrushing Chicago 208-140 (Bears RB Jordan Howard led all rushers with 119 yards). Washington’s Kirk Cousins threw for 270 yards and a TD, while Bears QB Matt Barkley threw for 323 yards and a pair of TDs but was picked off five times.

The Vikings saw their playoff hopes come to a crashing end in Green Bay as Minnesota fell to the Packers 38-25 at Lambeau. Green Bay and Aaron Rodgers led 28-13 at the half in the land of cheese, beer and Bratwurst and never looked back after that. Rodgers threw for 347 yards and four TDs (connecting with Jordy Nelson on a couple of those passes) and rushed for a TD of his own as well from 12 yards out, while Sam Bradford threw for 382 yards and three TDs (Minnesota outrushed the Packers 93-40).

Minnesota and Chicago met in the Windy City in week eight and Da Bears were 20-10 winners at Solider Field. Chicago led 13-3 at the intermission and the two teams played even football in the final 30 minutes of action. Howard ran for 153 yards in the contest with a TD as Da Bears outrushed Minnesota 158-57. Jay Cutler, who was under center at the time before later injuring the thumb on his throwing hand, threw for 252 yards and a TD, while Bradford was sacked five times while throwing for 228 yards.

In the week eight Monday night affair in the Windy City, Minnesota was favored by 5 1/2 and the over/under was 41. Chicago covered the spread with their 10-point primetime win but neither club reached the 41 over/under, scoring 30 points. Minnesota’s favored by 5 and the over/under’s 41. If you choose to take a pass on this one, we’ll understand. Vikings cover the 5 and win in the Land of 10,000 Lakes.

Buffalo (7-8) at New York Jets (4-11), 1 p.m. on CBS and DirecTV 708. A pair of New York state teams meet in New Jersey as the Bills and Jets meet at MetLife Stadium.

Buffalo saw Miami take a playoff spot last Saturday in Orchard Park, falling to the Dolphins 34-31 in overtime. The Bills led 31-28 with 80 seconds left when TE Charles Clay and QB Tyrod Taylor (329 yards, three TDs) connected on a 7-yard TD pass to tie the contest up. The lead would not last very long and Miami would tie the contest up at 31-31 when Dolphins K Andrew Franks connected on a 55-yard field goal with 5 seconds left in regulation. After Buffalo got the ball to start the overtime, the Bills could not move the pigskin and punted to Miami, who made the most of the opportunity and took the win in the overtime when Franks added a 27-yard field goal with 47 seconds left in the extra period. The loss by the Bills would be the last for Rex Ryan, who was fired by the club on Tuesday and Offensive coordinator Anthony Lynn will serve as interim head coach.

Buffalo outrushed Miami 272-261 and the running backs for both teams shined as Buffalo’s LeSean McCoy (128 yards, TD) and Miami’s Jay Ajayi (206 yards, TD) led their teams on the ground, while Matt Moore, taking over for Ryan Tannehill, threw for 233 yards and three TDs.

GangGreen was manhandled by Tom Brady and the Pats in Foxboro last Saturday afternoon, losing to the Pats 41-3. New England led 27-0 at halftime and held the J-E-T-S! JETS! JETS! JETS! to a 29-yard field goal by Nick Folk in the fourth quarter with the contest in hand. New England outrushed the Jets 114-111 and Brady burned New York for 214 yards and three TDs, while Ryan Fitzpatrick threw for 136 yards with a pair of interceptions (Fitzpatrick’s replacement Bryce Petty wasn’t much better, going 0 for 3 with an interception).

The Bills and Jets squared off in Orchard Park in week two and GangGreen came away 37-31 winners on a Thursday night. The J-E-T-S! JETS! JETS! JETS! led 20-7 at the intermission in Orchard Park and held off the Bills in the second half (Buffalo outscored New York 21-17 in the final 30 minutes of play). The Bills pulled to within seven with 1:17 left in the contest when RB Mike Gillislee caught an 18-yard pass from Tyrod Taylor to make it 37-31. Buffalo then tried an onside kick, which GangGreen recovered. The J-E-T-S! JETS! JETS! JETS! ran out the clock and took the road win in upstate New York. New York outrushed Buffalo 123-86 and the Jets’ Matt Forte led all rushers with 100 yards and three TDs. Taylor threw for 297 and three TDS, while Fitzpatrick threw for 374 yards and a TD.

In the week two contest in upstate New York, the J-E-T-S! JETS! JETS! JETS! were favored by 1 and they covered the spread with the 6-point win. The over/under of 40? Buffalo and GangGreen covered that as well, combining for 68 points. Buffalo’s favored by 6 and the over/under’s 44. These two are not bad teams, they just play that way at times, to paraphrase Jessica Rabbit. Buffalo gets revenge on the J-E-T-S! JETS! JETS! JETS! in upstate New Jersey and finishes .500 with the win.

Dallas (13-2) at Philadelphia (6-9), 1 p.m. on FOX and DirecTV 712. Dak Prescott vs. Carson Wentz, Round II. The NFL’s young guns meet in the City of Brotherly Love, as the Cowboys, who have locked up the top seed in the NFC, travel to Philly for a meeting with the Eagles.

Dallas rallied to beat Detroit 42-21 in Arlington in the final Monday night contest of the season. The Lions led briefly 21-14 with 7:40 left in the first half before Dallas took the lead back and took it for keeps when Dez Bryant caught the first of his two TD passes from Prescott. The first Prescott-Bryant TD retied the contest (the teams were tied 21-21 at the half) and RB Ezekiel Elliott (80 yards rushing) scored his second rushing TD from 1 yard out to give the Cowboys the lead back for keeps (Elliott had a 55 yard run in the contest as well). Prescott threw for 212 yards and three TDs and Bryant got in on the passing attack, tossing a 10-yard pass to TE Jason Witten to seal Detroit’s fate. Matthew Stafford threw for 260 yards with an interception and four sacks, while Dallas outrushed Detroit 164-90.

The Eagles stopped Eli Manning and the New York Giants 24-19 last Thursday evening at Lincoln Financial Field. Philly led 21-13 at the half in the City of Brotherly Love and held Big Blue in check in the win. The Eagles outrushed New York 118-114 and Wentz threw for 152 yards and a TD in the win, while Manning also had a TD pass to go with his 356 passing yards and three interceptions.

They met in the Lone Star State in week eight and the Cowboys needed overtime to come away 29-23 winners. Dallas trailed 13- 10 at the half in Arlington in the Sunday night contest before they rallied to tie the contest up when Bryant and Prescott connected on a 22 yard TD pass with 3:04 left. Prescott would strike again, sending Cowboy fans home happy when he and Witten connected on a 5 yard strike with 7:48 left in the extra period. Dallas outrushed Philadelphia 187-97 and Prescott threw for 278 yards and the two TDs, while Wentz threw for 202 yards and a TD, while being sacked three times.

In the week eight contest, the Cowboys were favored by 4 1/2 and the over/under was 43 1/2. Dallas won by 6, allowing the spread to be covered and the 52 total points covered the over/under. Dallas is favored by 6 in the season finale and the over/under 42 1/2. This could be a blowout, this could be a shootout. The Eagles are playing with house money and would like to knock the Cowboys off kilter in the run to the post-season. It could be closer than 6 but Dallas take the win in the City of Brotherly Love.

Cleveland (1-14) at Pittsburgh (10-5), 1 p.m. on CBS and DirecTV 709. A Cleveland Browns team, fresh off their first win of the 2016 campaign, travels to the Steel City for a meeting with Ben Roethilsberger and the Pittsburgh Steelers at Heinz Field.

After 14 tries to get into the win column, Browns fans could finally hold their heads up high as they held off the San Diego Chargers 20-17 along the shores of Lake Erie last Saturday afternoon. Cleveland, who broke a 17-game losing streak (they lost the last three games of the 2016 season) led 17-10 at the intermission at First Energy Field, then made things a lot more exciting than their fans had hoped when San Diego’s Josh Lambo tried a 45-yard field goal as time ran out. There was one small problem… Lambo’s kick sailed wide right, which caused a celebration among Browns players on the field and fans in the stands. Cleveland outrushed San Diego 124-34 and Robert Griffin III threw for 164 yards and was sacked seven before being knocked out of the contest with a concussion (Cody Keesler took over and threw for 11). For San Diego, Philip Rivers threw for 322 yards and a pair of TDs, hooking up with TE Antonio Gates and WR Tyrell Williams for the scores.

The Steelers rallied from a three-point deficit against Baltimore and took a 31-27 win over the Ravens to take the AFC North title and eliminate Baltimore from the playoffs in the process. Baltimore led 14-10 after the first 45 minutes of action and would take the lead with 78 seconds left on a 10-yard TD run by RB Kyle Juszczyk.

Pittsburgh, with its playoff hopes on the line at Heinz Field, found a way to fight back and they did, with Ben Roethlisberger using eight pass plays and spiking the ball twice to give the Steelers the lead back for keeps with 9 seconds left when Roethlisberger and Antonio Brown connected on a four-yard TD pass. Baltimore would eventually get the ball back with 9 seconds left but the Steelers put the halt on Baltimore’s bid for the win and the AFC North title. LeVeon Bell ran for 122 yards and a TD, while the Steelers ran for 127 (Baltimore ran for 122) and Roethlisberger threw for 279 yards with three TDs (including the game winner) while Joe Flacco threw for 262.

The Steelers were 24-9 winners in the first meeting in week 11 along the shores of Lake Erie. Pittsburgh led 14-0 at the intermission and never had any problems with the Browns in the contest, holding the Browns to 33 yards rushing, while Bell ran for 146 of Pittsburgh’s yards and a TD. Roethlisberger threw for 167 yards, while Kessler (128) and Josh McCown (118) combined for 246 yards in the lopsided contest.

The Steelers were favored by 9 (they won by 15) and the over/under was 49 (that number stayed safe as both clubs mustered only 33 points. Pittsburgh’s favored again, this time by 7 and the over/under’s 44. Both numbers make a lot of sense. The Steelers have already punched their playoff tickets, while the Browns are trying to make it two in a row. Sorry, Cleveland fans, your dreams are about to come crashing down. Steelers cover the 7 and win at Heinz.

Carolina (6-9) at Tampa Bay (8-7), 1 p.m. on FOX and DirecTV 713. A pair of former Heisman winners meet in the Sunshine State as Carolina and Cam Newton lead a struggling Carolina Panthers team into Tampa Bay’s Raymond James Stadium for a New Year’s Day meeting with Jameis Winston on Florida’s west coast.

Carolina saw their playoff hopes melt away as they fell to Atlanta 33-16 last Saturday afternoon in Charlotte. The defending NFC champs struggled from the start, trailing 20-3 at the half and could never get on track. Atlanta outrushed Carolina 152-119 (Tevin Coleman led all rushers with 90 yards, while DeVonta Freeman chipped in with 53) and Ryan threw for 277 yards and a pair of TDs, while Newton threw for 198 yards and a TD but was sacked twice and picked off twice in the loss.

Tampa Bay, still clinging on to a playoff bid, saw their hopes of winning the South come to an end as they fell to New Orleans 31-24 in the Big Easy. The Bucs trailed 13-7 at the half in the Superdome Saturday afternoon and pulled to within seven with a 35-yard field goal by Roberto Aguayo with 2 minutes left in the contest. New Orleans outrushed Tampa Bay 123-89 and Drew Brees threw for 299 yards with a TD, while Winston threw for 277 yards with two TDs, two sacks and two interceptions.

They met in week five in Charlotte at Bank of America Stadium on a Monday night and the Panthers, who did not have Newton’s services (concussion) and Tampa Bay broke a 14-14 tie late in the contest as Aguayo connected on a 38-yard field goal as time expired to take a 17-14 win over the Panthers. Aguayo kicked a pair of field goals in the first half for a 6-0 lead going into the half before Carolina, thanks to a pair of Cameron Artis-Payne, scoring on a pair of TDs in the third quarter, gave the home team the lead. That lead would not last very long as Winston and WR Mike Evans connected on a 26-yard TD pass with 4:27 left in the third. After a Carolina punt, the Bucs got the ball back with 1:49 left to play in regulation. Tampa Bay then proceeded to use all of the 1:49 that was given to them and made the most of it, as Aguayo kicked the game-winner as the clock struck :00. Winston threw for 219 yards and the one TD, while Dave Anderson, stepping in for Newton, threw for 278 yards but was picked off twice. Carolina outrushed Tampa Bay 136-113, while the Bucs’ Josh Rodgers led all rushers with 101.

In the week five contest in the Tar Heel State, Carolina was favored by 4 1/2 and the over/under was 44 1/2. Both numbers were never threatened as Tampa Bay won by 3 and the two clubs combined to score 31 points. Tampa Bay’s favored by 6 1/2 and the over/under’s 46 1/2. Carolina’s already out of the playoff picture. Tampa Bay’s trying to get in but they would need a lot of help. Panthers at least get revenge for the loss in the Tar Heel State and take the win in Tampa and covers the 3.

Houston (9-6) at Tennessee (8-7), 1 p.m. on CBS and DirecTV 710. Houston and Tennessee close out their 2016 season in the Music City.

Houston won the AFC South last Saturday evening at NRG Stadium as they held off the Cincinnati Bengals 12-10. Houston trailed the Bengals 3-0 at the intermission, took the lead with 8:41 left to play when RB Alfred Blue scored from 24 yards out. The PAT was blocked by the Bengals, which made it a 2-point game. Cincinnati then had a chance to send the AFC South into chaos as Randall Bullock attempted a 43-yard field goal with five seconds left. Fortunately for Texans fans, the try sailed wide left, which gave the Texans the win and the AFC South. As far as the rushing game was concerned on Christmas Eve, it was more naughty than nice, as neither Cincinnati or Houston tallied 100 yards in the contest but Houston did outrush Cincinnati 95-50 and Texans QB Tom Savage, making his first start after Brock Osweiler was benched, threw for 176 yards, while Andy Dalton threw for 268 yards and a TD pass to WR Brandon LaFell.

Tennessee suffered a pair of losses last Saturday against Jacksonville in north Florida. First, Tennessee was taken to task at EverBank Stadium, falling 38-17 to the Jaguars. Then, they lost the services of QB Marcus Mariota (99 yards, two sacks, TD), who broke his tibia and will be out for 4-6 months. The Jags, with interim head coach Doug Marone, led Tennessee 19-7 at half and took complete control afterward, as they outrushed Tennessee 84-58 and Blake Bortles threw for 325 yards and a TD in the contest.

They met in week four in the Lone Star State and the Texans were 27-20 winners at NRG Stadium. The Texans led 20-17 at the half and then proceeded to shut down the Titans in the final 30 minutes of play. Tennessee did outrush Houston 124-115, while Osweiler threw for 254 yards and a pair of TDs, while Mariota threw for 202 yards with a sack and an interception.

Houston covered the 6 1/2 spread with their seven point win in the Lone Star State and both teams covered the 40 over/under with 47 points. This time, the Titans are a 3 point favorite in the Music City and the over/under’s 40. Both numbers make sense. Sorry, Tennessee, as the commerical once said. Houston sweeps the series and takes this one on the road, covering the 3 as they make their way to the post-season.

New England (13-2) at Miami (10-5), 1 p.m. on CBS and DirecTV 707. Tom Brady and the New England Patriots travel to the Sunshine State to face off against a much improved Miami Dolphins team in a week two rematch at Hard Rock Stadium.

The Pats manhandled a helpless New York Jets club in Foxboro last Saturday, shooting down the J-E-T-S! JETS! JETS! JETS! Pats 41-3 at Gillette Stadium. The Brady-led Pats led 27-0 at halftime and held the J-E-T-S! JETS! JETS! JETS! to a 29-yard field goal by Nick Folk in the fourth quarter with the contest in hand. New England outrushed the Jets 114-111 and Brady burned New York for 214 yards and three TDs, while Ryan Fitzpatrick threw for 136 yards with a pair of interceptions (Fitzpatrick’s replacement Bryce Petty wasn’t much better, going 0 for 3 with an interception).

Miami took their spot in the AFC playoffs, needing a pair of Andrew Franks field goals to take a take a 34-31 overtime win over Buffalo in upstate New York last Saturday. The Bills led 31-28 with 80 seconds left when TE Charles Clay and QB Tyrod Taylor (329 yards, three TDs) connected on a 7-yard TD pass to tie the contest up. The lead would not last very long and Miami would tie the contest up at 31-31 when Dolphins K Andrew Franks connected on a 55-yard field goal with 5 seconds left in regulation. After Buffalo got the ball to start the overtime, the Bills could not move the pigskin and punted to Miami, who made the most of the opportunity and took the win in the overtime when Franks added a 27-yard field goal with 47 seconds left in the extra period. The loss by the Bills would be the last for Rex Ryan, who was fired by the club on Tuesday and Offensive coordinator Anthony Lynn will serve as interim head coach.

Buffalo outrushed Miami 272-261 and the running backs for both teams shined as Buffalo’s LeSean McCoy (128 yards, TD) and Miami’s Jay Ajayi (206 yards, TD) led their teams on the ground, while Matt Moore, taking over for Ryan Tannehill, threw for 233 yards and three TDs.

New England and Miami met in Foxboro in week two and the Pats came away 31-24 winners at Gillette Stadium. LeGarrett Blount ran for 123 yards and a TD (New England outrushed the ‘Fins 161-70), while Jimmy Garafalo threw for 234 yards and three TDs (two to Danny Amendola) while taking over for a suspended Brady. Ryan Tannehill threw for 389 yards and a pair of TDs (Tannehill also had a pair of interceptions).

In the week two affair in southern Massachusetts, the Pats won by 7, allowing them to cover the 6 1/2 point spread and the 55 combined points allowed both teams to cover the 41 1/2 over/under. New England’s favored by 9 1/2 in the Sunshine State and the over/under’s 44 1/2. Both teams know they’re going to play more football when this one is over. New England has been known to self-destruct in the latter part of the schedule after clinching the division. That’s not going to be the case. Miami will make it closer than 9 1/2 but New England prevails and takes the win on the road.

Oakland (12-3) at Denver (8-7), 4:25 p.m. on CBS and DirecTV 714. With nothing on the line, aside from possible seeding for their guests, Denver hosts the Oakland Raiders in a late-afternoon AFC West rematch in the Mile High City.

Oakland took a 33-25 decision over the Colts last Sunday in northern California. The Silver and Black led 19-7 at the break before the Colts rallied late in the contest to make it a closer affair, outscoring Oakland 18-14 in the final 30 minutes of play. Oakland outrushed the Colts 210-103, while Andrew Luck threw for 288 yards and a pair of TDs but was picked off twice. For Oakland, it was a costly win, as David Carr threw for 228 yards and three TDs before he left the contest with a broken tibia (Carr will miss the post-season) and replaced by Matt McGloin, who threw for 29 yards.

Denver found themselves eliminated from the post-season after their 33-10 loss at Kansas City Sunday night. Kansas City took a 21-3 lead to the break at Arrowhead and never looked back against the defending Super Bowl champs, who were held to 63 yards rushing (Kansas City ran for 238). Kansas City then added insult to injury when DT Dontari Poe, who normally sacks quarterbacks, lived out a linesman’s fantasy when he and TE Demetrius Harris connected on a 2-yard TD pass to ice the contest away. The Chiefs’ Alex Smith threw for 244 yards and a TD to TE Travis Kelce in the win, while Denver’s Trevor Siemian threw for 183.

Denver lost to Oakland 30-20 in northern California in week nine. The Raiders led the first meeting 20-10 at the half and the two clubs played even football the rest of the way. The Broncos were outrushed 218-33, with Oakland’s Latavius Murray leading all rushers with 114 yards and three TDs. Carr threw for 184 for the Silver and Black, while Siemian threw for 283 yards and a pair of TDs with a pair of interceptions and a pair of sacks.

The Raiders were 1 point underdogs in the week nine contest (Oakland won by 10) and the two teams combined for 50 points, allowing them to cover the 43 1/2 over/under. Denver’s favored by 2 1/2 in the Mile High City and the over/under’s 42. It hasn’t been a good season for Denver and they would love to make the Raiders a wild card team. Broncos get their revenge from the week nine loss and covers the 2 1/2.

Arizona (6-8-1) at Los Angeles (4-11), 4:25 p.m. on FOX and DirecTV 718. The Desert Angry Birds trek their way to the West Coast for a meeting with the Los Angeles Rams in Tinseltown.

The Desert Angry Birds came away 34-31 winners at Seattle in the final seconds when Chris Catanzaro kicked a 43-yard field goal as time expired at Century Link Field. Arizona led 14-3 at halftime in the Pacific Northwest before the Seahawks rallied to pull themselves even with 60 seconds left in regulation, thanks to a 5-yard TD pass from Russell Wilson to WR Paul Richardson. Seattle could have won the contest in regulation but Stephen Hauschka’s PAT try sailed wide left, opening the door for Arizona. The Cards made the most of the Seahawks miscue, using an 8-play, 50-yard drive that burned all the time off the clock when Catanzaro booted the game-winner as the clock struck :00. Arizona outrushed Seattle 94-78, while Wilson threw for 350 yards and four TDs but was sacked six times and Arizona’s Carson Palmer threw for 284 yards and a TD in the 3-point win in the Pacific Northwest.

Los Angeles let a 14-7 halftime at the Coliseum get away from them as they would eventually fall to San Francisco 22-21. The 49ers took the lead for keeps when QB Colin Kaepernick threw his second TD pass of the afternoon with 31 seconds left, connecting with WR Robert Streeter to make it a 1-point score. San Francisco then went for two and struck pay-dirt when Kaepernick (266 yards, four sacks, interception), who had a rushing TD of 13 yards with 5:06 left to play, ran the conversion in to take the lead. The Rams did outrush San Francisco 99-70, with Jared Goff throwing for 90 yards and a pair of TDs but was sacked four times and picked off twice.

They squared off in the desert in week four and the Rams were 17-13 winners at University of Phoenix Stadium. Arizona and Los Angeles entered the halftime tied at 10-10 before the Cardinals took the lead on a 21-yard field goal by Catanzaro as the third quarter came to an end. Los Angeles’ Brian Quick eventually gave the Rams the lead for keeps when he and Case Keenum connected on a 4-yard TD pass with 2:36 left to win the contest. Arizona outrushed the Rams 118-41 and Carson Palmer threw for 288 yards with a TD and three sacks, while Keenum threw for 266.

The Desert Angry Birds were favored by 8 1/2 and the over/under was 43. Los Angeles won by 4, meaning they missed the spread and as for the 43 over/under? It went untouched, as both teams joined to score 30 points. Arizona’s favored by 6 in Tinsletown and the over/under’s 41. Feel free to take a pass on this one and watch that “Mythbusters” marathon on Science Channel. Trust us, you’ll be better for it. Arizona wins this one and covers the 6.

Kansas City (11-4) at San Diego (5-10), 4:25 p.m. on CBS and DirecTV 715. After knocking the defending champs out of the post-season, Kansas City travels westerward to southern California for a AFC West showdown that could decide the winner of the divison.

The Chiefs eliminated Denver from the post-season after their 33-10 win over the defending Super Bowl champs last Sunday night at Arrowhead. Kansas City led from start to finish and took a 21-3 lead to the break at Arrowhead and never looked back against the defending Super Bowl champs, who were held to 63 yards rushing (Kansas City ran for 238). The Chiefs sealed Denver’s fate in the contest when DT Dontari Poe, who normally sacks quarterbacks for a living, lived out a linesman’s fantasy when he and TE Demetrius Harris connected on a 2-yard TD pass to ice the contest away. The Chiefs’ Alex Smtih threw for 244 yards and a TD to TE Travis Kelce in the win, while Denver’s Trevor Siemian threw for 183.

San Diego fans saw their frustrations come full circle last Saturday in Cleveland as the Chargers gave Cleveland their first win of the season, falling 20-17 along the shores of Lake Erie last Saturday afternoon. The Browns broke a 17-game losing streak, led 17-10 at the intermission at First Energy Field, then made things a lot more exciting than their fans had hoped when San Diego’s Josh Lambo tried a 45-yard field goal as time ran out. Lambo’s kick sailed wide right, which caused a celebration among Browns players on the field and fans in the stands. Cleveland outrushed San Diego 124-34 and Robert Griffin III threw for 164 yards and was sacked seven before being knocked out of the contest with a concusssion (Cody Keesler took over and threw for 11). For San Diego, Philip Rivers threw for 322 yards and a pair of TDs, hooking up with TE Antonio Gates and WR Tyrell Williams for the scores.

They met in the Show-Me State to open the season and the Chiefs came away 33-27 overtime winners over the Bolts. San Diego led the Chiefs 21-3 at the half at Arrowhead before Kansas City roared back to life in the final 30 minutes of play to tie the contest up and took the win with 9:53 left in overtime when Smith (2 TDs) dashed in from 2 yards out. While the Chargers outrushed Kansas City 155-83, Smith outpaced Rivers 363-243 (Rivers threw a TD in the overtime contest).

The Chiefs were favored by 7 and the over/under was 44 1/2. The bad news for the Chiefs was they barely missed the spread by 1. The good news? Both teams covered the over/under with the 60 combined points. The boys and girls in Vegas like the Chiefs as 4 1/2 point favorites at Qualcomm and the over/under’s 45. San Diego fans will be put out of their misery Sunday. Chiefs complete the series sweep in Cali and covers the 4 1/2.

Seattle (9-5-1) at San Francisco (2-13), 4:25 p.m. on FOX and DirecTV 719. Seattle makes their way down I-5, traveling 839 miles south for a Sunday afternoon contest with NFC West foe San Francisco in Santa Clara.

Seattle lost to Arizona 34-31 in the land of Grunge, Salmon and Startbucks last Saturday afternoon in the final seconds when Cardinals’ K Chris Catanzaro booted a 43-yard field goal as time expired at Century Link Field. Arizona led 14-3 at halftime in the Pacific Northwest before the Seahawks rallied to pull themselves even with 60 seconds left in regulation, thanks to a 5-yard TD pass from Russell Wilson to WR Paul Richardson. Seattle could have won the contest in regulation but Stephen Hauschka’s PAT try sailed wide left, opening the door for Arizona. The Cards made the most of the Seahawks miscue, using an 8-play, 50-yard drive that burned all the time off the clock when Catanzaro booted the game-winner as the clock struck :00. Arizona outrushed Seattle 94-78, while Wilson threw for 350 yards and four TDs but was sacked six times and Arizona’s Carson Palmer threw for 284 yards and a TD in the 3-point win in the Pacific Northwest.

San Francisco rallied from a 14-7 deficit at halftime in Los Angeles to beat the Rams 22-21 at the Coliseum. The 49ers’ Colin Kaepernick threw his second TD pass of the afternoon with 31 seconds left, connecting with WR Robert Streeter to make it a 1-point score. San Francisco then went for two and struck paydirt when Kaepernick (266 yards, four sacks, interception), who had a rushing TD of 13 yards with 5:06 lef to play, ran the conversion in to take the lead. The Rams did outrush San Francisco 99-70, with Jared Goff throwing for 90 yards and a pair of TDs but was sacked four times and picked off twice.

They met in the Pacific Northwest in week three and Seattle took a 37-18 win over the 49ers. Seattle led 24-3 at the half before the 49ers roared back and outscored Seattle in the last 30 minutes of play 15-13. Seahawks RB Christine Michael (106 yards) scored the first two TDs of the contest and Seattle went from there (San Francisco outrushed Seattle 135-127). San Francisco’s Carlos Hyde was no slouch himself, rushing for 103 yards and scored the last two TDs of the contest. Wilson threw for 243 yards and a TD for Seattle, while Blaine Gabbard threw for 119 yards with an interception.

Seattle’s 19-point win in the land of Grunge, Salmon and Starbucks allowed them to cover the 9 1/2 point spread and both teams covered the 40 1/2 over/under with 55 points. Seattle’s favored again, this time by 9 1/2 and the over/under’s 43. The 49ers are a bad team but they’re not 9 1/2 bad. The Seahawks prevail but expect this one to be a lot closer than the first meeting.

New York Giants (10-5) at Washington (8-6-1), 4:25 p.m. on FOX and DirecTV 717. A pair of NFC East teams, one knowing they’re in the post-season, the other hoping to be part of the post-season meet in Maryland as Washington hosts the New York Giants at at FedEx Field in a late Sunday afternoon contest.

Eli Manning and the New York Giants 24-19 fell to Philadelphia last Thursday evening at Lincoln Financial Field. Philly led from start to finish and took a 21-13 lead with them to the half in the City of Brotherly Love, holding Big Blue in check in the win. The Eagles outrushed New York 118-114 and Wentz threw for 152 yards and a TD in the win, while Manning also had a TD pass to go with his 356 passing yards and three interceptions.

Washington took care of Chicago 41-21 at Soldier Field last Saturday. The ‘Skins led 24-14 at the half in the Windy City and were never threatened by Da Bears in the latter stages of the contest, outrushing Chicago 208-140 (Bears RB Jordan Howard led all rushers with 119 yards). Washington’s Kirk Cousins threw for 270 yards and a TD, while Bears QB Matt Barkley threw for 323 yards and a pair of TDs but was picked off five times.

New York looks to avenge a 29-27 week three loss to the Redskins in the Meadowlands. Big Blue let a 27-26 lead with 7:53 left to play in regulation get away from them as Washington’s Dustin Hopkins kicked his fifth field goal of the contest to give them the lead. Washington then held off a late Giants rally as rookie CB Su’a Cravens picked off Manning, giving the Redskins the ball back and allowing them to run out the clock and take the road win. New York outrushed Washington 120-90 at MetLife Stadium and Manning threw for 350 yards with a pair of interceptions, while Cousins threw for 296 yards and a pair of TDs.

In the week three contest in upstate New Jersey, the Giants were favored by 4 1/2 and Washington won by 2, meaning they missed the spread. The good news was that both teams covered the 46 1/2 over/under, scoring a combined 56 points. Washington’s favored by 8 in the rematch in Maryland and the over/under’s a whopping 44. The Giants already know they’re in the post-season party. Washington wants to join the party and they need to win and get some help. “Hail to the Redskins?” It could happen. Washington may not cover the 8 but they complete the sweep in Maryland.

Green Bay (9-6) at Detroit (9-6), 8:30 p.m. on NBC. Game number 256. For all the marbles. The winner? NFC North champs. The loser? They could be a wild card team or out of the playoff picture altogether. Green Bay travels to the Motor City for an NFC North prime time contest at Ford Field.

Green Bay took Minnesota to task last Saturday as they eliminated the Vikings from playoff contention 38-25 at Lambeau. Green Bay and Rodgers led 28-13 at the half in the land of cheese, beer and Bratwurst and never looked back after that. Rodgers threw for 347 yards and four TDs (connecting with Jordy Nelson on a couple of those passes) and rushed for a TD of his own as well from 12 yards out, while Sam Bradford threw for 382 yards and three TDs (Minnesota outrushed the Packers 93-40).

Detroit fell to Dallas 42-21 in Arlington in the final Monday night contest of the season. Detroit led briefly 21-14 with 7:40 left in the first half before Dallas took the lead back and took it for keeps when Dez Bryant caught the first of his two TD passes from Dak Prescott. The first Prescott-Bryant TD retied the contest (the teams were tied 21-21 at the half) and RB Ezekiel Elliott (80 yards rushing) scored his second rushing TD from 1 yard out to give the Cowboys the lead back for keeps (Elliott had a 55 yard run in the contest as well). Prescott threw for 212 yards and three TDs and Bryant got in on the passing attack, tossing a 10-yard pass to TE Jason Witten to seal Detroit’s fate. Matthew Stafford threw for 260 yards with an interception and four sacks, while Dallas outrushed Detroit 164-90.

Green Bay and Detroit met in week three at Lambeau and the Packers came away 34-27 winners in upstate Wisconsin. Despite being outscored by the Lions 17-3 in the last 30 minutes of play, Green Bay led 31-10 at halftime. Green Bay’s Eddie Lacy led all rushers with 103 yards, while the Packers outrushed Detroit 123-50 in the contest. Rodgers threw for 205 yards and four TDs (two to Nelson), while Stafford threw for 385 yards with three TDs.

Green Bay was a 7 1/2 point favorite at Lambeau and the over/under was 48. Although the Pack barely missed the spread, they did manage to cover the over/under by combining for 61 points. Green Bay’s favored again, this time by 3 and the over/under’s 46 1/2. This one’s for all the marbles. The winner’s in. The losers is either going to be in and play next week or their next game’s in 2017. It’ll be closer than the 3 but Green Bay takes the win in the Motor City.

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