The 2012 NFL playoff picture has been finalized at last after yet another wild Sunday in Week 17.
Home-field advantage hung in the balance for the top three teams in the AFC. Two division titles—along with the final wild-card spot—were on the line in the NFC. There was plenty to be excited about, and the games did not disappoint.
The Houston Texans had never won in Indianapolis against the AFC South division-rival Colts. That didn't change.
Indy was locked in as the No. 5 seed, while the Texans had the top seed at stake. After taking the lead in the third quarter, two costly breakdowns broke the game open. Deji Karim went untouched on a 101-yard kickoff return for a TD, and Andrew Luck lobbed a perfect pass to T.Y. Hilton for a 70-yard scoring strike on 3rd-and-23 to give the Colts a 28-16 victory.
After Denver beat the lowly Kansas City Chiefs 38-3 and New England took care of business at home against the Dolphins, Houston finds itself going from potential No. 1 seed to hosting a wild card game.
The Cincinnati Bengals will be bent on revenge after losing to the Texans in the playoff opener in Reliant Stadium in 2011.
In the NFC, the Minnesota Vikings had control of their own destiny for the sixth and final playoff berth. At home against North division-rival Green Bay, they took care of business. Adrian Peterson fell short of the single-season rushing record by just nine yards, but for the second consecutive week the team came together to beat a quality opponent with the postseason on the line.
In a very physically demanding game, the Seattle Seahawks kept momentum going into the playoffs after 20-13 victory to cap off an undefeated season at home over the upstart St. Louis Rams.
A prime-time showdown for the NFC East crown capped off the evening.
The Washington Redskins spoiled the Dallas Cowboys' playoff hopes with a hard-fought 28-18 triumph in the friendly confines of FedexField. Robert Griffin III's legend continues to grow, but also not to be dismissed is fellow rookie RB Alfred Morris, who carried the load with 33 carries, 200 yards and three TDs, ultimately winning Washington the NFC East.
Now that the dust has settled, here is a look at the final standings and playoff seeds, as well as the wild-card matchups on tap for next weekend.
FINAL NFC STANDINGS
| No. 1 Seed Atlanta Falcons (13-3) NFC South champions|
| No. 2 Seed San Francisco 49ers (11-4-1) NFC West champions|
| No. 3 Seed Green Bay Packers (11-5) NFC North champions|
| No. 4 Seed Washington Redskins (10-6) NFC East champions|
| No. 5 Seed Seattle Seahawks (11-5)|
|No. 6 Seed Minnesota Vikings (10-6)|
WILD CARD MATCHUPS
Saturday, January 5: Minnesota Vikings vs. Green Bay Packers, 8:00 p.m. ET on NBC
Sunday, January 6: Seattle Seahawks vs. Washington Redskins, 4:30 p.m. ET on FOX
AFC PLAYOFF PICTURE
| No. 1 Seed Denver Broncos (13-3), AFC West champions|
| No. 2 Seed New England Patriots (12-4) AFC East champions|
| No. 3 Seed Houston Texans (12-4) AFC South champions|
| No. 4 Seed Baltimore Ravens (10-6) AFC North champions|
|WILD CARD LEADERS|
|No. 5 Seed Indianapolis Colts (11-5)|
|No. 6 Seed Cincinnati Bengals (10-6)|
WILD CARD MATCHUPS
Saturday, January 5: Cincinnati Bengals vs. Houston Texans, 4:30 p.m. ET on NBC
Sunday, January 6: Indianapolis Colts vs. Baltimore Ravens, 1:00 p.m. ET on CBS