The San Francisco 49ers defeated the Seattle Seahawks in a battle for the NFC West title Sunday night, marking the final domino to fall in the NFL playoff race.
Heading into the final week of the regular season, two postseason bids remained up for grabs.
The Tennessee Titans secured the last AFC wild-card berth with a victory over the Houston Texans, which denied the Oakland Raiders and Pittsburgh Steelers the opportunity to challenge for a Super Bowl title.
The Philadelphia Eagles also captured the NFC East by beating the New York Giants. He was probably on the way out already, but missing the playoffs is almost certainly the final nail in Jason Garrett's coffin as the Dallas Cowboys' head coach.
Ahead of Sunday night's game, here's the postseason picture in the AFC and NFC, with championship odds available through the Caesars sportsbook.
- 1. Baltimore Ravens, 14-2 (+200)
- 2. Kansas City Chiefs, 12-4 (+300)
- 3. New England Patriots, 12-4 (+1800)
- 4. Houston Texans, 10-6 (+4000)
- 5. Buffalo Bills, 10-6 (+3500)
- 6. Tennessee Titans, 9-7 (+7500)
- 1. San Francisco 49ers, 13-3 (+350)
- 2. Green Bay Packers, 13-3 (+700)
- 3. New Orleans Saints, 13-3 (+350)
- 4. Philadelphia Eagles, 9-7 (+4500)
- 5. Seattle Seahawks, 11-5 (+900)
- 6. Minnesota Vikings, 10-6 (+4000)
In addition to winning the NFC West, San Francisco avoided a road game against the Eagles in the Wild Card Round. These are the four matchups on deck in one week, with the full field available on NFL.com:
AFC Wild Card Round
- Tennessee Titans at New England Patriots
- Buffalo Bills at Houston Texans
NFC Wild Card Round
- Minnesota Vikings at New Orleans Saints
- Seattle Seahawks at Philadelphia Eagles
Looking ahead to the playoffs, the obvious question is whether anybody can stop the Baltimore Ravens.
With the AFC North and No. 1 seed in the AFC already wrapped up, Baltimore rested a few key players for Sunday's game against the Steelers.
That afforded Mark Ingram an extra week to heal from what head coach John Harbaugh confirmed was a "mild to moderate" calf strain. He told reporters Thursday he expects to be ready when the Ravens return to action in the divisional round.
Ingram ran for 1,018 yards and 10 touchdowns in 15 games. Although MVP front-runner Lamar Jackson has deservedly received the most credit for the Ravens' explosive offense, Ingram's impact can't be overlooked.
For the first time since 2009, the New England Patriots will participate in Wild Card Weekend. They lost to the Miami Dolphins when Ryan Fitzpatrick hit Mike Gesicki for a five-yard touchdown pass with 24 seconds left in the game.
That result, combined with the Kansas City Chiefs' win over the Los Angeles Chargers, catapulted the Chiefs into the AFC's No. 2 seed.
Although nobody will be surprised if New England makes another Super Bowl run, the dynasty may finally be approaching the twilight stage.
Michael Giardi @MikeGiardi
When asked why the team looked unprepared, Matt Slater said “Maybe a little lack of focus or lack of execution." Added it's hard to know w/o watching film but, "We didn’t come out and do enough to win the game. If we did ignore minor details, it came back to bite us." #Patriots
The Titans won't be an easy out as Ryan Tannehill is enjoying a career renaissance and Derrick Henry continues to play like the running back who gave SEC defenses nightmares in college.
Like the Patriots, the New Orleans Saints are hopeful of delivering one more ring to their Hall of Fame-bound quarterback.
Drew Brees broke Peyton Manning's career passing yards in October 2018 and then moved passed Manning in touchdown passes earlier this month. Although he wasn't considered one of the NFL's 10 greatest quarterbacks, Brees' legacy is already secure. Adding a second championship would be the cherry on top.