Seahawks take NFC top seed, Packers and Panthers win

Mon Dec 29, 2014 12:31am EST
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By Simon Evans

(Reuters) - The defending Super Bowl champion Seattle Seahawks claimed the number one seed in the NFC playoffs with Green Bay Packers, Carolina Panthers and Pittsburgh Steelers adding divisional titles after wins on the final Sunday of the regular season.

The Baltimore Ravens also made the postseason, taking the final AFC wild-card berth thanks to a victory over the Cleveland Browns and the San Diego Chargers' loss to Kansas City.

The Seahawks head into the playoffs on the back of six straight wins -- the latest a 20-6 victory over the St. Louis Rams which secured the NFC West divisional title.

The New England Patriots had already secured the top seed in the AFC and they and the Seahawks will enjoy a first round bye and home field advantage throughout the playoffs.

Green Bay won the NFC North for the fourth year in a row after defeating the Detroit Lions 30-20 while Carolina clinched the NFC South thanks to a 34-3 crushing of the Atlanta Falcons.

Pittsburgh grabbed the AFC North title with a 27-17 victory over the playoff-bound Cincinnati Bengals and Baltimore made the postseason by topping the Browns 20-10.

Seattle started slowly against St. Louis, but a nine-yard touchdown run from Marshawn Lynch and a 49-yard interception return by Bruce Irvin in the fourth quarter made sure the road through the NFC playoffs goes through Seattle.

The Packers' delight at their divisional title was tempered by concern over the left calf of quarterback Aaron Rodgers.   Continued...

Dec 28, 2014; Seattle, WA, USA; Seattle Seahawks outside linebacker Bruce Irvin (51) and Seattle Seahawks outside linebacker Malcolm Smith (53) and Seattle Seahawks defensive tackle Jordan Hill (97) celebrate after Irvin scored a touchdown against the St. Louis Rams during the second half at CenturyLink Field. Seattle defeated St. Louis 20-6. Steven Bisig-USA TODAY Sports