NFL: Wild finish ahead as teams fight for playoff spots
By Steve Keating
(Reuters) - The National Football League's playoff picture will come into sharper focus following the penultimate weekend of the regular season where 19 teams remain in the hunt for a postseason berth.
The playoff-bound Indianapolis Colts (9-5) have secured a division title while the Denver Broncos, Seattle Seahawks and Kansas City Chiefs have also secured postseason spots, leaving eight berths available.
Everything else is up for grabs in an action-packed Week 16 that ends on Monday with the San Francisco 49ers (10-4) looking to clinch a trip to the postseason with a win over the visiting Atlanta Falcons (4-10).
Nowhere is the race for the playoffs tighter than in the NFC North where the Chicago Bears (8-6), Green Bay Packers (7-6-1) and Detroit Lions (7-7) are battling for a division crown that is likely to go down to the wire.
Chicago can clinch the division and secure a playoff berth with a road win over the Philadelphia Eagles combined with losses by Detroit and Green Bay.
The Lions host a New York Giants (5-9) team that cannot make the postseason while the Pittsburgh Steelers, clinging to ever-so faint playoff hopes, visit the Packers.
Green Bay's playoff push would receive a massive boost if All-Pro quarterback Aaron Rodgers can return to the lineup after missing six games with a broken collarbone.
With Rodgers looking on from the sidelines last Sunday, the Packers rallied from a 23-point halftime deficit behind four touchdown passes from backup Matt Flynn to defeat Dallas 37-36 and remain in the post-season chase. Continued...