Playoff Picture: Steelers win AFC North, Broncos out

Pittsburgh won the AFC North in spectacular fashion Sunday, scoring the winning touchdown with 9 seconds remaining to beat archrival Baltimore 31-27.

Antonio Brown reached over the goal line after taking in a short pass from Ben Roethlisberger for the 4-yard score. Brown was stood up inside the 1, but somehow extended the ball — barely — into the end zone.

The Steelers (10-5) scored 21 points in the fourth quarter. They eliminated the Ravens (8-7) from contention.

Defending Super Bowl champion Denver was knocked out, too, with its loss at Kansas City. The Broncos have lost three in a row and five of seven.

The entire AFC playoff field is set: New England, Oakland, Kansas City, Pittsburgh, Houston and Miami.

The Steelers will be the No. 3 seed in the AFC and host the No. 6 seed during wild-card weekend on either Jan. 7 or 8. Pittsburgh earned the third spot over Houston based on strength of victory tiebreaker, heady territory considering it was 4-5 after falling to Dallas on Nov. 13. As New Year’s nears, the Steelers haven’t lost again.

Kansas City secured a playoff spot when the Ravens lost, and can still win the AFC West.

Earlier this weekend, Atlanta beat Carolina 33-16 , then the Falcons clinched the NFC South title when New Orleans beat Tampa Bay 31-24. The Bucs’ loss also allowed the New York Giants, losers to Philadelphia on Thursday night , to clinch a wild-card spot. Atlanta now has a chance in its regular season finale to clinch a first-round bye after Seattle lost 34-31 to Arizona.

Houston beat Cincinnati on Saturday night to clinch its second straight AFC South title after Tennessee’s 38-17 loss to Jacksonville . The Texans also will host a wild-card game.

Green Bay won its fifth straight to move closer to the NFC North title, eliminating Minnesota with a 38-25 victory. The Packers moved into the lead for a wild-card berth, and now the Packers must wait to face Detroit for the division crown on Jan. 1.

Detroit is at Dallas on Monday night.

Miami beat Buffalo 34-31 in overtime to move closer to its first playoff berth since 2008. A Denver loss to Kansas City on Sunday night would give Miami the AFC’s final wild-card berth and eliminate the defending Super Bowl champion Broncos.

The Redskins (8-6-1) routed Chicago 41-21 to keep them alive a bit longer in the NFC.

The regular season ends Jan. 1. Here’s a closer look at the teams and scenarios:

AFC EAST

NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS (13-2)

Remaining schedule: at Miami on Jan. 1.
Division record: 4-1. Conference record: 10-1.
Beat the Dolphins and clinch home-field advantage throughout.

MIAMI DOLPHINS (10-5)

Remaining schedule: vs. New England on Jan. 1.
Division record: 4-1. Conference record: 7-4.
They got the win they had to have in Buffalo and then the Chiefs win that gave them a wild-card spot.

Eliminated: NEW YORK JETS (4-11), BUFFALO BILLS (7-8).


AFC NORTH

PITTSBURGH STEELERS (10-5)

Remaining schedule: vs. Cleveland on Jan. 1.
Division record: 4-1. Conference record: 8-3.
By beating Baltimore, the Steelers won the division and will play in a wild-card game.
Eliminated: BALTIMORE RAVENS (8-7), CINCINNATI BENGALS (5-8-1), CLEVELAND BROWNS (1-14).


AFC SOUTH

HOUSTON TEXANS (9-6)

Remaining schedule: at Tennessee on Jan. 1.
Division record: 5-0. Conference record: 7-4.
Tom Savage won his first career start at quarterback to help Houston clinch the division. They will play in a wild-card game.
Eliminated: TENNESSEE TITANS (8-7), JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS (3-12), INDIANAPOLIS COLTS (7-8).


AFC WEST

OAKLAND RAIDERS (12-3)

Remaining schedule: at Denver on Jan. 1.
Division record: 3-2. Conference record: 9-2.
Raiders must finish one game ahead of the Chiefs.

KANSAS CITY CHIEFS (11-4)

Remaining schedule: at San Diego on Jan. 1.
Division record: 5-0. Conference record: 8-3.
Already guaranteed a wild card, a series sweep of Oakland gives the Chiefs a tiebreaker for the division, but they no longer control the AFC West race.
Eliminated: DENVER BRONCOS (8-7), SAN DIEGO CHARGERS (5-10).


NFC EAST

DALLAS COWBOYS (12-2)

Remaining schedule: vs. Detroit on Monday night, at Philadelphia on Jan. 1.
Division record: 3-2. Conference record: 8-2.
The Cowboys have a Texas-sized home-field advantage this postseason.

NEW YORK GIANTS (10-5)

Remaining schedule: at Washington on Jan. 1.
Division record: 3-2. Conference record: 7-4.
The Giants got the help they needed without having to wait for Week 17.

WASHINGTON REDSKINS (8-6-1)

Remaining schedule: vs. New York Giants on Jan. 1.
Division record: 3-2. Conference record: 6-5.
Not eliminated, but still game back of Green Bay for second wild-card berth.
Eliminated: PHILADELPHIA EAGLES (6-9).


NFC NORTH

DETROIT LIONS (9-5)

Remaining schedule: at Dallas on Monday night, vs. Green Bay on Jan. 1.
Division record: 2-2. Conference record: 7-3.
The Lions can win the division with a victory at Dallas and vs. Green Bay. They also are in the running for a wild card.

GREEN BAY PACKERS (9-6)

Remaining schedule: at Detroit on Jan. 1.
Division record: 4-1. Conference record: 7-4.
The Packers now sit in the second wild-card spot, but one more win makes them champions of the North.
Eliminated: CHICAGO BEARS (3-12), MINNESOTA VIKINGS (7-8).


NFC SOUTH

ATLANTA FALCONS (10-5)

Remaining schedule: vs. New Orleans on Jan. 1.
Division record: 4-1. Conference record: 8-3.
The Falcons not only have a division title but will have a chance at a first-round bye with a win against the Saints.

TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS (8-7)

Remaining schedule: vs. Carolina on Jan. 1.
Division record: 3-2. Conference record: 6-5.
The Bucs are on the outside looking in and need lots of help.
Eliminated: NEW ORLEANS SAINTS (7-8), CAROLINA PANTHERS (6-9).


NFC WEST

SEATTLE SEAHAWKS (9-5-1)

Remaining schedule: at San Francisco on Jan. 1.
Division record: 2-2-1. Conference record: 5-5-1.
First-round bye might be bye-bye for the Seahawks.
Eliminated: ARIZONA CARDINALS (6-8-1), LOS ANGELES RAMS (4-11), SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS (2-13).

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