Bengals and Colts claim playoff berths

Mon Dec 24, 2012 1:48am EST
 
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By Larry Fine

(Reuters) - The Cincinnati Bengals edged the Pittsburgh Steelers to reach the NFL playoffs, and the Indianapolis Colts joined the postseason party by capping their remarkable turnaround in pressure-packed action on Sunday.

The advancement of Cincinnati (9-6), 13-10 winners over their bitter AFC North rivals, and Indianapolis (10-5), who beat the Kansas City Chiefs 20-13, completed the playoff list in the American Football Conference, though seeding issues remained.

The Houston Texans (12-3) failed to capitalize on a chance to clinch top seeding in the AFC by losing 23-6 to the Minnesota Vikings (9-6), who stayed alive for an NFC playoff berth.

AFC North title honors went to the Baltimore Ravens (10-5), who ended a three-game losing streak by dominating the New York Giants 33-14.

Playoff hopes for the Super Bowl champion Giants (8-7) hung by a thread after losing their last two games by an aggregate score of 67-14.

Playoff berths remain up for grabs in the NFC, with the East Division title and a wildcard spot still at stake.

The Seattle Seahawks grabbed one of the NFC wildcard berths with a crushing 42-13 victory over the San Francisco 49ers as quarterback Russell Wilson threw a career-high four touchdowns.

The Washington Redskins (9-6) maintained the upper hand in their quest for the NFC East title by hanging on for a 27-20 win against the Philadelphia Eagles (4-11), while the Dallas Cowboys (8-7) suffered a 34-31 overtime loss to the New Orleans Saints.   Continued...

 
Cincinnati Bengals kicker Josh Brown (3) kicks the game-winning field goal against the Pittsburgh Steelers as Kevin Huber (10) holds in the fourth quarter of their NFL football game in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, December 23, 2012. REUTERS/Jason Cohn