NFL Wire News

Seahawks, Packers pick up playoff byes


The road to Super Bowl XLIX in Glendale, Ariz., will go through Seattle and New England.

The defending champion Seahawks (12-4) secured the NFC West title and the No. 1 spot in the NFC on Sunday, scoring their 20 points in the second half of a 20-6 victory over the St. Louis Rams.

Wild-card weekend is set in the NFC with the Lions (11-5) playing at the Dallas Cowboys (12-4) and the Arizona Cardinals (11-5) traveling to Carolina. The 7-9 Panthers throttled the Atlanta Falcons 34-3 to claim the NFC South for consecutive seasons.

Carolina rebounded from a six-game losing streak, winning four straight to end the season while the Cardinals lost four of their final six. Arizona has not scored more than 18 points in the seven games it played since quarterback Carson Palmer (ACL) was lost for the season Nov. 9.

New England (12-4) lost 17-9 to the Buffalo Bills at Gillette Stadium but the Patriots had already secured the top spot in the AFC.

The Denver Broncos (12-4), who beat the Oakland Raiders on Sunday, will enjoy a week off after securing the No. 2 seed in the AFC.

Green Bay beat the Lions to win the NFC North crown and earn a week off as the second-seeded team in the NFC.

Quarterback Aaron Rodgers might need the rest. Rodgers left Sunday’s game on a cart in the second quarter with a calf strain, but returned to a 14-all game to push the Packers to a 30-20 win.

With Sunday’s loss at Lambeau, Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford is 0-16 on the road against teams with a winning record.

Pittsburgh (10-5) hosts Cincinnati (10-4-1) on Sunday night to determine the AFC North championship and third seed in the conference.

The winner of that game hosts North division rival Baltimore (10-6) in the wild-card round next week and the loser heads to Indianapolis (11-5). The Ravens backpedaled into the playoffs thanks to a loss by the San Diego Chargers at Kansas City. San Diego (9-7) was punchless in a 19-7 loss at Arrowhead Stadium needing a Week 17 victory to make the playoffs for the second consecutive season.

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