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Denver Broncos and Seattle Seahawks secure top seeds in play-offs

Updated: Friday, 03 Jan 2014 14:38 | Comments

Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning throws his third touchdown pass of the game against the Oakland Raiders
Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning throws his third touchdown pass of the game against the Oakland Raiders

The Denver Broncos and the Seattle Seahawks secured home-field advantage throughout the NFL play-offs after recording authoritative victories on Sunday in the final week of the regular season.

Peyton Manning set the single-season yards record and threw four touchdown passes as the Broncos secured the top seed in the AFC play-offs with a 34-14 triumph over the Oakland Raiders.

The 37-year-old completed the regular season with 5,477 yards - breaking Drew Brees' 2011 mark of 5,476 yards with a five-yard pass to Demaryius Thomas at the end of the second quarter to make it 31-0 - and 55 touchdown passes.

The win meant the Broncos finished 13-3.

Brees also had a successful Sunday, passing for four TDs and running for another score to help the New Orleans Saints (11-5) secure a wild-card berth with a 42-17 win against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

The Philadelphia Eagles captured the NFC East title by edging the Dallas Cowboys 24-22 in their win-or-bust encounter. Nick Foles threw two TD touchdown passes for the Eagles (10-6), who will host New Orleans in a wild-card game on Saturday.

The Baltimore Ravens will not be able to defend their Super Bowl crown in the play-offs after a 34-17 loss to the Cincinnati Bengals eliminated them from the post-season.

Andy Dalton overcame four interceptions to throw for two touchdowns and rush for two more for the Bengals, who will go into the play-offs as the AFC North champions.

Aaron Rodgers' 48-yard touchdown pass to Randall Cobb in the final minute lifted the Green Bay Packers (8-7-1) to the NFC North championship with a 33-28 success over the Chicago Bears.

Seattle (13-3) clinched the NFC West title by battering the St Louis Rams 27-9. Malcolm Smith returned an interception 37 yards for a touchdown, and Marshawn Lynch scored from two yards out with 2:21 remaining in the third quarter for the Seahawks.

The San Francisco 49ers (12-4) claimed the NFC's number five play-off seed with a 23-20 victory over the Arizona Cardinals, thanks to Phil Dawson's late 40-yard field goal.

The New England Patriots (12-4) earned a first-round AFC bye by toppling the Buffalo Bills 34-20, LeGarrette Blount finishing with 24 carries for 189 yards and two touchdowns.

The AFC South champion Indianapolis Colts kept up their momentum heading into the post-season with a 30-10 victory over the Jacksonville Jaguars as Andrew Luck threw for 282 yards and one touchdown.

Robert Mathis had two sacks to reclaim the NFL lead with 19, while Adam Vinatieri kicked three field goals and three extra point conversions to move into fifth in the career scoring list with 2,006.

The Carolina Panthers secured the NFC South title with a 21-20 victory over the Atlanta Falcons as Cam Newton threw for two touchdowns and Greg Hardy recorded a team-record four sacks.

In all, the Panthers sacked Matt Ryan nine times - another team record.

The win gave Carolina a first-round bye in the play-offs.

The Pittsburgh Steelers avoided a first losing season since 2003 as they beat Cleveland 20-7 to finish 8-8, the Browns responding by firing head coach Rob Chudzinski.

Le'Veon Bell ran for 90 yards and a touchdown as the Steelers made it six wins in their last eight after a miserable start to the season, but their play-off hopes ended when San Diego defeated Kansas City.

The Chargers (9-7) snatched the AFC's final play-off berth by recovering from a 10-point fourth-quarter deficit to sink the Chiefs 27-24, Nick Novak booting the decisive 36-yard field goal with 5:30 left in overtime.

The Miami Dolphins will miss the post-season after going down to a 20-7 loss to the New York Jets, who played the role of spoilers to ensure that Rex Ryan will return as coach next year.

Geno Smith ran for a touchdown and threw for 190 yards, while rookie Dee Milliner and veteran Ed Reed both recorded interceptions.

The Jets confirmed the return of Ryan after the game.

The Houston Texans will pick first in April's draft after losing 16-10 to the Tennessee Titans - their 14th straight loss.

The Titans scored 16 straight points to end a five-game losing streak of their own.

The Minnesota Vikings signed off in the Metrodome with a 14-13 win over the Detroit Lions as rookie Cordarrelle Patterson scored two touchdowns.

Both teams were already out of play-off contention, allowing for the scheduling of demolition work to begin on the Metrodome next month.

The New York Giants overcame the loss of Eli Manning to injury to beat the Washington Redskins 20-6 in what is expected to be Mike Shanahan's final game as coach of Washington.

The Redskins finish the year 3-13 while the Giants will also sit out the play-offs and the chance to play a Super Bowl in their own stadium after finishing 7-9.

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