The Green Bay Packers and Houston Texans both wrapped up division titles Sunday. And the Dallas Cowboys forced a three-way tie in the NFC East race.
The Packers are NFC North champs for the second straight year after Aaron Rodgers threw three touchdown passes to James Jones in a 21-13 win over the Bears in Chicago. Rodgers was 23-of-36 for 291 yards and no interceptions in Green Bay's sixth straight win over the Bears.
The Packers limited the Bears to 190 total yards and kept them out of the end zone after Jay Cutler threw a 15-yard touchdown pass to Brandon Marshall midway through the second quarter, giving Chicago a brief 7-0 lead.
The 8-6 Bears have dropped five of six and are in danger of missing the playoffs despite a 7-1 start.
The 12-2 Texans clinched their second straight AFC South title by holding off Indianapolis 29-17. Bryan Braman returned a blocked punt eight yards for a TD late in the first half, and Matt Schaub threw for 261 yards and a score.
Andre Johnson had 151 yards receiving and Houston's lone offensive touchdown. The Texans had to settle for Shayne Graham field goals on five other drives.
Houston still controls its own destiny for home-field advantage throughout the AFC playoffs after preventing the Colts from clinching a playoff berth.
Colts quarterback Andrew Luck threw for two touchdowns but was 13-of-27 for 186 yards as Indianapolis accumulated just 272 yards of offense.
Brandon Carr picked off Ben Roethlisberger (RAWTH'-lihs-bur-gur) in overtime setting up Dan Bailey's 21-yard field goal and the Dallas Cowboys squeaked by Pittsburgh 27-24.
Carr intercepted Roethlisberger's pass along the sideline and returned it 36 yards to the 1. Bailey's kick came after Tony Romo took a 2-yard loss to put the kicker in better position.
Dallas at 8-6 pulled even with Washington and the New York Giants. Pittsburgh fell to 7-7 after losing for the fourth time in five games.
Matt Ryan tossed two of his three scoring passes to Julio Jones in Atlanta's 34-0 rout of the New York Giants. Ryan completed 23 of his 28 passes for 270 yards as the Falcons improved to 12-2 and moved on the cusp of locking up home-field advantage in the NFC playoffs.
Eli Manning was just 13-of-25 for 161 yards as the 8-6 Giants absorbed their first shutout loss since 1996. Manning also was picked off twice, leading to 10 first-half points for the Falcons.
Washington pulled even with the Giants with a 38-21 triumph at Cleveland. Rookie Kirk Cousins was outstanding while starting in place of the injured Robert Griffin III, who sat out with a sprained knee.
Cousins finished with 329 passing yards and hit Leonard Hankerson for each of his two touchdown throws.
The 8-6 Redskins have won five in a row, their longest winning streak in five years.
The Denver Broncos doubled up Baltimore in a matchup of AFC division leaders. Chris Harris returned an interception 98 yards for a touchdown to give the Broncos a 17-0 lead late in the first half of the Broncos' 34-17 rout of the Ravens. Baltimore was on the Denver 4 when Harris picked off Joe Flacco and turned it into the longest regular-season interception return in Broncos history.
Peyton Manning passed for 204 yards, including a 51-yard TD throw to Eric Decker that put Denver ahead 31-3.
Flacco threw for a pair of fourth-quarter scores but was otherwise neutralized in his first game under new offensive coordinator Jim Caldwell.
Baltimore has dropped three straight and is 9-5, one game ahead of Cincinnati for the AFC North lead.
Adrian Peterson helped the Vikings bolster their NFC wild-card hopes by running for a season-high 212 yards and a long touchdown in Minnesota's 36-22 win at St. Louis. The game was tied 7-7 early in the second quarter until Peterson scampered 82 yards for a touchdown that put the Vikes ahead to stay.
Peterson leads the NFL with a career-high 1,812 rushing yards and needs 294 yards to break the NFL single-season mark set by Eric Dickerson of the Rams in 1984.
Sam Bradford threw for three St. Louis touchdowns but was picked off by Everson Griffen, who went 29 yards for a score.
The Vikings are 8-6 after crushing the Rams' postseason chances. St. Louis is 6-7-1.
Seattle's Russell Wilson added to his Rookie of the Year credentials as the Seahawks trounced the Buffalo Bills 50-17 in Toronto. Wilson rushed for 92 yards and three touchdowns and also passed for 205 yards and a score. The Seahawks have scored 108 points in their last two games.
Seattle improves to 9-5 to keep the pressure on the NFC West-leading 49ers, who play tonight in New England.
San Francisco takes a 9-3-1 record into Foxborough. The Niners can wrap up the division title with a win, but the Patriots have won their last 20 December home games and are charging toward a first-round bye in the AFC playoffs.
In other NFL action:
-- Mike Tolbert scored twice against his former team and DeAngelo Williams turned a tipped pass from Cam Newton into a 45-yard touchdown reception as the Carolina Panthers beat San Diego 31-7. The loss eliminated the Chargers from playoff contention for the third straight season.
-- Greg Toler returned an interception 102 yards for a touchdown in Arizona's 38-10 win over visiting Detroit. Beanie Wells ran for three touchdowns in the win. Toler's fourth-quarter pick was the longest return in franchise history. The Cards picked off Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford three times.
-- Sebastian Janikowski booted five field goals including a 57-yarder as the Oakland Raiders blanked Kansas City 15-0. It was just the Raiders' second-ever shutout of the Chiefs. Kansas City has lost 10 of 11 to fall to 2-12.
-- Tampa Bay's playoff hopes are all-but over after Drew Brees (breez) accounted for 307 passing yards and four touchdowns to lead New Orleans to a 41-0 rout of the Buccaneers. Josh Freeman threw four interceptions and lost a fumble to help the Saints post their first shutout since 1995.
-- Ryan Tannehill was 22-of-28 for 220 yards and two touchdowns in Miami's 24-3 win over Jacksonville. Javorskie Lane and Anthony Fasano caught scoring strikes from Tannehill, and Reggie Bush carried 21 times for 104 yards.
NFL teams held moments of silence to remember the victims of the school shootings Friday in Newtown, Conn.
Two players who wear No. 26 joined hands with the coaches of the St. Louis Rams and Minnesota Vikings. Dozens of children wearing uniform jerseys held hands with players in a circle extending from the 30-yard lines at the Edward Jones Dome in St. Louis.
In Baltimore, flags were at half-staff at M&T Bank Stadium when the Baltimore Ravens hosted the Denver Broncos. With the Maryland National Guard standing on the opposite end of the field from the flag bearers, the scoreboards went black as the public address announcer asked the crowd to observe "silent reflection" in the wake of
Friday's "horrific tragedy."
New York Giants' players wore decals with the initials of Sandy Hook Elementary School.
In Chicago, Green Bay wide receiver Donald Driver retweeted the names of the victims.
The New England Patriots silenced their "End Zone Militia" for their game against San Francisco. The Patriots usually celebrate touchdowns with men dressed as Revolutionary War soldiers firing muskets into the air.