The Minnesota Vikings won the NFC North by holding on for a 20-13 win over the Green Bay Packers on Sunday night.
Adrian Peterson ran for a touchdown and cornerback Captain Munnerlyn returned a fumble 55 yards for a score as Minnesota (11-5) claimed their first division title since 2009.
The Vikings are to host the Seattle Seahawks for a wild-card playoff game next weekend. The Packers (10-6) are to travel to Washington after watching their four-year reign atop the NFC North end.
The upstart Vikings survived despite a shaky finish in hostile territory. The defense knocked away a desperation pass in the end zone from Aaron Rodgers on fourth down as time expired.
Packers kicker Mason Crosby forced a fumble on Cordarrelle Patterson’s potentially field-flipping 70-yard kickoff return with 5 minutes, 21 seconds left. However, the Packers’ next drive ended with Rodgers’ pass being intercepted in the end zone by Xavier Rhodes.
BILLS 22, JETS 17
Ryan Fitzpatrick threw interceptions on each of New York’s final three drives as the Jets’ playoff hopes were dashed.
The Jets (10-6) would have made the postseason for the first time since 2010 with a win, but the defeat, combined with Pittsburgh’s win at Cleveland, ended those hopes. New York had a five-game winning streak stopped, and the loss came against former Jets coach Rex Ryan — fired by New York and hired by the Bills (8-8) in January last year.
Fitzpatrick, who had thrown just one interception in the Jets’ winning streak, was picked off by Leodis McKelvin in the end zone early in the fourth quarter with New York driving.
The game was decided when Fitzpatrick’s side-arm pass over the middle was intercepted by A.J. Tarpley with 11 seconds remaining.
STEELERS 28, BROWNS 12
Ben Roethlisberger threw three touchdown passes and Pittsburgh’s defense dominated as the Steelers slipped into the AFC playoffs with a win over Cleveland, who fired coach Mike Pettine and general manager Ray Farmer after the game.
The Steelers (10-6) had to win and needed Buffalo to defeat the New York Jets to make the postseason. Pittsburgh did its part, then earned a wild-card berth when the Bills won. Pittsburgh are to play at Cincinnati next weekend.
Roethlisberger threw for 349 yards, 187 yards to Antonio Brown, who had 13 catches and a touchdown.
The Browns finished 3-13.
DOLPHINS 20, PATRIOTS 10
Tom Brady was sacked twice and knocked down at least a half-dozen times as New England missed a chance to clinch the No. 1 seed in the AFC playoffs.
Brady watched New England’s final offensive series from the sideline. With the Patriots eager to protect his health, he threw a season-low 21 passes, but, even so, was lucky to make it through the game in one piece.
New England (12-4) end up as a No. 2 seed after Denver defeated San Diego to earn the top seed.
The Dolphins (6-10) wrapped up a disappointing season and are expected to embark on a search for their ninth coach since 2004.
TEXANS 30, JAGUARS 6
Watt and Whitney Mercilus led the defense and Jonathan Grimes scored twice to help the Texans clinch the AFC South.
Houston are to host Kansas City next weekend in the a wild-card game.
Grimes had a 12-yard touchdown reception and added a three-yard rushing score in the second quarter to help Houston take a 20-3 lead by halftime. Kareem Jackson added a score on an interception return in the fourth quarter to pad the lead.
Watt, playing without a cast for the first time since breaking his left hand on Dec. 9, had had three sacks, forced a fumble and recovered another one to help the Texans (9-7) to their first division title and playoff berth since 2012.
Blake Bortles threw for 239 yards with two interceptions for the Jaguars (5-11).
BENGALS 24, RAVENS 16
A.J. McCarron overcame a rough start and threw a pair of touchdown passes as the Bengals (12-4) matched the best record in franchise history — they also won 12 games during the 1981 and 1988 seasons when they reached the Super Bowl.
Cincinnati are to host Pittsburgh next weekend in a wild-card game.
The AFC North champions wasted a chance to clinch the No. 2 seed when they lost in Denver 20-17 on Monday night.
The Ravens finished 5-11.
PANTHERS 38, BUCCANEERS 10
Cam Newton ran for two touchdowns and threw for two more as Carolina captured the NFC’s No. 1 seed for the first time.
Newton tied Steve Young’s NFL record for most career touchdowns rushing by a quarterback, with 43. Young took 15 seasons to reach that plateau; Newton did it in five.
Newton completed 21 of 26 passes for 293 yards as Carolina (15-1) overcame a slow start to build a 31-3 lead in the third quarter.
Rookie Devin Funchess had seven catches for 120 yards and a touchdown, while Cameron Artis-Payne ran for 44 yards and a score as Carolina won their 11th straight home game.
Jameis Winston was intercepted twice as the Bucs (6-10) finished last in the NFC South for the fourth time in five years.
CHIEFS 23, RAIDERS 17
Alex Smith threw two touchdown passes and Kansas City sacked Derek Carr six times as the Chiefs collected a franchise-best 10th straight win.
The Chiefs are headed to Houston for a wild-card game this weekend after Denver won the AFC West with their win over San Diego.
Regardless, the Chiefs (11-5) are somehow in the dance after a 1-5 start.
The Raiders (7-9), who accounted for two of those victories, had the ball with 1 minute, 34 seconds left. However, Carr was sacked one last time and the clock expired before they came close to a go-ahead touchdown.
SEAHAWKS 36, CARDINALS 6
Russell Wilson threw three touchdown passes in a second-quarter outburst as Seattle snapped Arizona’s nine-game winning streak.
Seattle are to play Minnesota in the wild-card round this weekend.
The Seahawks (10-6) dominated from their opening possession and led 30-6 at the half.
It was a sour end to the regular season for the NFC West champions, the Cardinals (13-3), who had already clinched the NFC’s No. 2 seed and a first-round playoff bye.
Tyler Lockett set up three of Seattle’s four first-half touchdowns — with punt returns of 66 and 42 yards and a 36-yard reception.
REDSKINS 34, COWBOYS 23
Kirk Cousins threw for three touchdowns before leaving late in the first half of a playoff tuneup.
Cousins broke Jay Shroeder’s franchise record for yards passing in a season, finishing with 4,166. Had the game mattered, he might have threatened Sonny Jurgensen’s 48-year-old team record of 31 touchdown passes, instead he settled for 29.
The Redskins (9-7) won four straight to finish the season, their longest streak since winning the last seven the previous time they made the playoffs in 2012. The NFC East champions are to be the No. 4 seed on wild-card weekend.
Kellen Moore had 435 yards passing and three touchdowns after throwing an interception and losing a fumble on a snap to help dig a quick 21-0 hole for the Cowboys (4-12).
In other games, it was:
‧ 49ers 19, Rams 16 OT
‧ Eagles 35, Giants 30
‧ Colts 30, Titans 24
‧ Saints 20, Falcons 17
‧ Lions 24, Bears 20
Chen Jifang hits the gym for at least two hours every day and has the physique to prove it. At nearly 70, she is being held up as a shining example as China orders its vast population to get fit and lose the bulge. The grandmother from Shanghai has become a minor celebrity in in the past few months after her newfound and unlikely love for working out made national headlines. After becoming a gym regular in December 2018, Chen lost 14kg in three months, and now sports the kind of flat stomach and toned muscles that people decades younger aspire to. She
’SO CONSISTENT’: The victory gave the world No. 1 and world No. 2 a 21-1 win-loss record and their fourth title of the season after successes in Brisbane, Dubai and Doha Taiwan’s Hsieh Su-wei and Barbora Strycova of the Czech Republic on Sunday cruised to their fourth women’s doubles title of the season at the Internazionali BNL d’Italia in Rome in their first tournament back since the suspension of the WTA Tour due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The top seeds took just 63 minutes to complete a comprehensive 6-2, 6-2 victory over unseeded German-Romanian duo Anna-Lena Friedsam and Raluca Olaru at the Foro Italico. It was the Taiwanese-Czech pairing’s first outing since they won the Qatar Open in February. “After five months, you don’t know what to expect,” Strycova told the WTA Web site.
ANOTHER SCANDAL: Searches focused on several riders, including Dayer Quintana, a source said, while the two being held were reportedly a doctor and physiotherapist French police on Monday detained two people as part of an investigation into suspected doping in the Arkea-Samsic team at this year’s Tour de France, prosecutors announced. The probe is the first significant one in several years for the repeatedly scandal-hit tour, which on Sunday wrapped up in Paris with a victory for 21-year-old Tadej Pogacar, who became the youngest winner in more than a century. Prosecutor Dominique Laurens in Marseille said in a statement that an investigation was being carried out into a “small part” of France-based Arkea-Samsic, without specifying who had been placed in custody. Laurens added that the two
Former MLB pitcher Wang Wei-chung has signed the biggest contract with a local team in Taiwan’s professional baseball history, the Wei Chuan Dragons said yesterday. The 28-year-old left-hander signed a five-year US$2.08 million contract with the Dragons, team chairman Hsu Wen-fang told a news conference. It is the biggest contract in the CPBL’s 31-year history, surpassing a three-year, US$1.36 million deal Lin Chih-sheng signed in 2016 with the CTBC Brothers. Although the overall value of Wang’s deal set a new record, his average monthly salary of NT$990,000 (US$33,886) is lower than Lin’s pay of NT$1.2 million per month in 2017