The Buffalo Bills and Tennessee Titans shook up the AFC playoff picture on Sunday by ending their playoff droughts on the final day of the regular season. First, the Buffalo Bills snapped their 17-year playoff drought with a 22-16 win over the Miami Dolphins, combined with the Baltimore Ravens' loss to the Cincinnati Bengals. That combination gets the Bills in the postseason for the first time since 1999, as their 9-7 record has them as a Wild Card team. The Bills had the longest current playoff drought in sports, as they were able to watch the final minutes of the Bengals' comeback win over the Ravens from the locker room. They are set to visit the Jacksonville Jaguars in the Wild Card Round on Sunday. Meanwhile, the Titans' playoff drought ended at eight seasons with a 15-10 win over the Jaguars. Marcus Mariota found Derrick Henry for a 66-yard touchdown pass early on, which proved to be the difference. The win also snapped a three-game losing streak for the Titans and gave them their first back-to-back winning seasons since 2007 and 2008. Ryan Succop chipped in with three field goals, while the defense sacked Blake Bortles twice and forced four turnovers. Despite the loss, the Jaguars end the season at 10-6 and AFC South Champions, while the Titans earn a Wild Card birth and will visit the Kansas City Chiefs on Saturday.
Falcons Get in Over Seahawks
The Atlanta Falcons overcame an up-and-down season to find their way back to the postseason with a 22-10 win over the Carolina Panthers. Matt Bryant kicked five field goals, all in the second half, including a 56-yarder to stay ahead of the Panthers, who have already clinched a playoff spot. With Carolina's loss, the New Orleans Saints clinched the NFC South Division, despite a loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The 42-year-old Bryant broke a 7-7 tie with field goals of 30,42. 30, and 33 yards as well, improving Atlanta to 10-6 on the year. The Panthers' offense struggled, as a Minnesota Vikings' win over the Chicago Bears stopped their chances of a first-round bye. Matt Ryan finished 28-of-45 for 317 yards and a touchdown pass to Devonta Freeman, as the Falcons get ready to battle the Los Angeles Rams in the Wild Card round on Saturday. The Panthers will go against division rival, New Orleans Saints, on Sunday afternoon in New Orleans. The Falcons' win also eliminated the Seattle Seahawks from playoff contention, who went on to fall at home to the Arizona Cardinals, 26-24.
Patriots Top Jets to Clinch Home Field Advantage
The New England Patriots knew that the Pittsburgh Steelers had a much easier task against the now 0-16 Cleveland Browns, so they had to get the job done at home on Sunday. They did just that with a 26-6 win over the New York Jets, clinching the top seed in the AFC and home field advantage throughout the playoffs. Dion Lewis ran for a touchdown and caught a scoring pass from Tom Brady, who threw for 190 yards and two touchdowns without turning the ball over. The Patriots' win is their 13th of the season, which is the seventh time they have recorded 13 wins, placing them second in NFL history to the San Francisco 49ers' nine seasons. It was also head coach Bill Belichick's 250th career win, putting him in a tie with Tom Landry for third on the all-time coaching list. The Patriots have taken four in a row over the Jets, and have not lost to the 5-11 team from New York at home since 2006. Brady leading his team to 13 wins this season ties him with Brett Favre for most by a starting quarterback at age 40 or older. The win keeps the Patriots out of action until the weekend of the 13th.