Packers, Steelers and Cowboys head to playoffs

Mon Dec 22, 2014 12:22am EST
 
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By Simon Evans

(Reuters) - The Green Bay Packers, Pittsburgh Steelers and Dallas Cowboys booked their places in the playoffs after victories on Sunday while the New England Patriots earned a first round bye for the postseason.

Sunday's results meant that defending Super Bowl champion Seattle Seahawks also secured a place in the playoffs before crushing their NFC West rivals the Arizona Cardinals 35-6 in the evening finale.

The Packers gained their berth with a 20-3 win at the Tampa Bay Buccaneers but they will have to wait until next week to see if they can clinch the NFC North title.

Green Bay will face divisional rivals the Detroit Lions in the final week of the regular season with both teams on 11-4 records ahead of the showdown.

The Lions, who are also assured a playoff place, beat the Chicago Bears 20-14.

Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers completed 31-of-40 passes for 318 yards and a touchdown and running back Eddie Lacy rushed for 99 yards including a 44-yard touchdown run.

The Steelers, six-time Super Bowl winners, have been absent from the post-season for the past two seasons but Mike Tomlin's team ensured they will be in the mix this year thanks to a 20-12 win over the Kansas City Chiefs.

Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger directed the Steelers (10-5) to their third consecutive win, passing for 220 yards and a touchdown.   Continued...

 
Dec 21, 2014; Tampa, FL, USA; Green Bay Packers outside linebacker Clay Matthews (52) is congratulated by defensive end Mike Neal (96) after he sacked Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Josh McCown (not pictured) during the second half at Raymond James Stadium. Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports