Packers and Chargers in, Ravens and Dolphins out
The Associated Press
Aaron Rodgers, returning hero. Along with Randall Cobb.
In his first game back from a broken left collarbone, Rodgers threw a 48-yard touchdown pass to Cobb on fourth-and-8 with 38 seconds left to give the Green Bay Packers a 33-28 victory at Chicago and the NFC North title on Sunday.
Rodgers had been out since getting injured in a loss to Chicago on Nov. 4, and Cobb missed the previous 10 games with a knee problem. Still, the Packers (8-7-1) edged the archrival Bears (8-8) for the division crown by winning three of their last four games.
Green Bay will host San Francisco in a first-round playoff game next weekend.
San Diego also finished off a rally to get into the postseason, beating short-handed Kansas City 27-24 in overtime. The Chargers (9-7) won their last four games, and when Miami and Baltimore lost earlier in the day, they rode Nick Novak's 36-yard field goal with 5:30 left in OT to the sixth seed.
Kansas City kicker Ryan Succop was wide right on a 41-yard field goal to win it with 4 seconds left in regulation. Pittsburgh would have gotten the playoff spot over San Diego had Succop connected.
The Chiefs (11-5) are the AFC's fifth seed and will play at the Colts (11-5), winners of the AFC South. Indianapolis, which beat Jacksonville 30-10, won 23-7 in Kansas City last weekend.
San Diego travels to AFC North winner Cincinnati (11-5).
The defending NFL champion Ravens will stay home. The Bengals beat Baltimore 34-17, ensuring the Ravens (8-8) were eliminated once Pittsburgh (8-8) defeated Cleveland 20-7.
Miami (8-8) lost to the New York Jets 20-7, putting the Steelers — who began the season 0-4 — in position to advance if San Diego slipped up at home against a team that rested 20 of 22 starters.
The Chargers nearly did, but survived.
AFC West champion Denver (13-3), the highest-scoring team in NFL history, earned the No. 1 seed in the conference by romping at Oakland 34-14. New England (12-4), the AFC East winner, will be the second seed and also have a bye next weekend. The Patriots beat Buffalo 34-20.
The Eagles visited the Cowboys at night for the NFC East crown. The winner will host New Orleans next weekend.
Carolina (12-4) won the NFC South and a first-round playoff bye with a 21-20 victory at Atlanta. New Orleans (11-5) got the final NFC wild card with a 42-17 rout of Tampa Bay.
Already in the NFC playoffs were San Francisco, which won 23-20 at Arizona on Sunday, and Seattle (13-3), which secured the NFC West title and the conference's top seed with a 27-9 win over St. Louis.
New England, Denver and Indianapolis already owned AFC playoff slots.
Baltimore made the playoffs in each of coach John Harbaugh and quarterback Joe Flacco's first five seasons. They took the AFC North title last season on the way to beating the 49ers in the Super Bowl.