Ravens into playoffs, Bucs to have first pick in draft

Sun Dec 28, 2014 5:03pm EST
 
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By Simon Evans

(Reuters) - The Baltimore Ravens secured an AFC wild-card berth in the playoffs after they beat the Cleveland Browns while the San Diego Chargers lost to Kansas City on Sunday.

The Chargers went into the final Sunday of the regular season knowing a victory would be enough to take them into the postseason but their 19-7 loss to the Chiefs opened the door for the Ravens.

Baltimore, who missed out on the playoffs last year following their 2012 Super Bowl winning season, trailed 10-3 to the Browns at the end of the third quarter.

But quarterback Joe Flacco took a grip on the fourth quarter, throwing two touchdowns -- a 16-yard pass to Torrey Smith and a two-yard pass to Kamar Aiken -- as the Ravens took advantage of the Chargers' slip and ended any hope the Houston Texans and Kansas City had of entering the postseason via the back door.

The rest of the playoff picture will be decided in Sunday's later games including a 'winner takes all' battle for the NFC South divisional title between the Atlanta Falcons and Carolina Panthers.

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers will have the first pick in the 2015 draft after finishing with the worst record in the regular season (2-14) following a 23-20 home loss to the New Orleans Saints.

The Dallas Cowboys head into the playoffs in strong form after a 44-17 crushing of the Washington Redskins while Rex Ryan, widely expected to be fired as head coach of the New York Jets, enjoyed a 37-24 victory over AFC East rivals the Miami Dolphins.

(Reporting By Simon Evans, editing by Gene Cherry)

 
Dec 28, 2014; Baltimore, MD, USA; Baltimore Ravens wide receiver Torrey Smith (82) catches a touchdown pass against Cleveland Browns cornerback Buster Skrine (22) in the fourth quarter at M&T Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Evan Habeeb-USA TODAY Sports