The playoffs are looming and the theme of the last two weeks in the National Football League has been post season positioning. The Pittsburgh Steelers and Miami Dolphins both clinched spots in the playoffs, while the Denver Broncos and the Baltimore Ravens will miss the playoffs this year after their losses.
Elsewhere, the Houston Texans will be in the playoff picture along with the Kansas City Chiefs and the New York Giants, and the Detroit Lions fall against the Dallas Cowboys on Monday Night Football.
KANSAS CITY CHIEFS 33-10 DENVER BRONCOS
The Chiefs (11-4) eliminated the reigning Super Bowl champions Denver Broncos (8-7) from the playoffs, courtesy of a 33-10 win.
Alex Smith threw for 244 yards with one touchdown and Travis Kelce came up with 11 receptions with a 160 yards receiving at tight end.
Denver failed to gain a foothold in the contest and were outscored 21-7 at the end of the first quarter. The Chiefs closed out the game in style, lining up 346-pound defensive tackle Dontari Poe at quarterback in a play where he threw a lob pass to Demetrius Harris for a touchdown to cap the Christmas day game with the gift of winning.
SON OF A NUTCRACKER! Dontari Poe with the jump pass for a TOUCHDOWN. https://t.co/Qv0ixKdVW3— x-Kansas City Chiefs (@Chiefs) December 26, 2016
PITTSBURGH STEELERS 31-27 BALTIMORE RAVENS
The Steelers (10-5) and Ravens (8-7) were contending for playoff spots, but the duo of Ben Roethlisberger and Antonio Brown proved too much for the Ravens defense. The game was winding down to its dying seconds as Roethlisberger snapped the ball and threw to his star receiver Brown, who lunged across the end-zone line to score an impossible touchdown to win the match.
Star man Brown finished with 10 receptions and 96 yards for the winning Steelers side.
NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS 41-3 NEW YORK JETS
Tom Brady and the Patriots (13-2) annihilated the Jets (4-11) on Saturday, continuing their dominance in the AFC conference. Brady produced a sterling performance, throwing 214 yards and three touchdowns to help New England get a must-win for home-field advantage for the playoffs.
Super Bowl hero Malcolm Butler was a star in defense, snatching two interceptions and recovering a fumble. The Jets had a bad outing in all facets of the game, and have now lost six out of their last seven games this season.
GREEN BAY PACKERS 38-25 MINNESOTA VIKINGS
The resurgence of the Packers (9-6) this season has been something to behold, with Aaron Rodgers shredding NFL defenses for fun and leading the Packers to a five game winning streak.
The Vikings (7-8) experienced the offense first hand as Rodgers threw for 347 yards and four touchdowns, including two to Jordy Nelson. They both recorded their 58th and 59th touchdowns, the most by any duo in Packers history. Minnesota could not weather the storm on defense and will look to end their season with pride when they face the Chicago Bears, both teams with losing records.
Green Bay, meanwhile, will face the Detroit Lions for the NFC North division crown.
DALLAS COWBOYS 42- 21 DETROIT LIONS
The Cowboys (13-2) reigned supreme in Dallas on Monday Night Football, beating the Lions (9-6) and putting their playoff hopes on hold. Dak Prescott made another statement against the Lions, throwing three touchdowns on 15/20 passing attempts and 212 yards. Dez Bryant had two touchdown catches coupled with Ezekiel Elliott running for 80 yards and two touchdowns. The Lions still have a chance at the post-season when they host the Green Bay Packers in a must-win game next Sunday.
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