Titans Finish First in AFC; Colts bring Steelers to life

The American Conference playoffs will have to go through the “City of Music” and with some Tennessee Titans that possibly have Derrick Henry for their first postseason game.

The Titans, who set a record for the most players used in a non-strike season with 88, secured first place in the AFC for the first time since 2008 and for the third time in their history. They just needed a win on Sunday and they made it interesting against the team that took their place in Houston by beating the Texans 28-25.

Titans head coach Mike Vrabel noted that no one came out to distribute jerseys and hats after clinching first place in the AFC.

“We understand that we are in the top eight,” Vrabel said. “We already advanced to the second round of the playoffs without even playing a playoff game.”

The Chiefs (12-5) defeated Denver on Saturday and needed the Titans lost to be the best team in the AFC. The Titans victory secured Kansas City second place in the conference thanks to Tennessee (12-5) having the tiebreaker in its favor after beating the Chiefs 27-3 on Oct. 24 in Nashville.

In the National Conference, only the Green Bay Packers had their place tied as the best in the NFC heading into the final week of the regular season. The AFC had teams battling for the last two spots as wild cards and in the NFC the San Francisco 49ers clinging to the last available ticket.

The Colts arrived with seven players selected to the Pro Bowl and with the need to beat only Jacksonville to get to the playoffs. Instead, Indianapolis blew an opportunity, losing for the seventh straight time at home to the Jaguars 26-11.

Ben Roethlisberger will play at least one more game as long as Sunday night’s game between the Los Angeles Chargers and the Las Vegas Raiders does not end in a draw. The Steelers reached the close of the schedule outside the playoff zone, but the Colts’ loss and 16-13 overtime victory over the Baltimore Ravens brought them to life.

“I’m just happy for Ben,” Steelers kicker Chris Boswell said. “We will take him to the playoffs. This team deserves it ”.

The Buffalo Bills clinched their second straight title for the AFC East and third place in the conference with a 27-10 victory over the New York Jets to finish 11-6.

The New England Patriots (10-7) will play a wild-card game on the road for the first time under Bill Belichick, as their previous 17 playoff appearances were as champions of the AL East. The Patriots lost three of their last four games, including Sunday’s 33-24 game against Miami.

In the NFC, the defending Super Bowl champs, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (13-4) tied for second place in the conference by beating Carolina 41-17. The Bucs will host seventh place, the Philadelphia Eagles (9-8) in the wild card round.

NFC third-place Dallas, which crushed the Eagles on Saturday night, will host sixth-place San Francisco (10-7). The Niners defeated the Rams 27-24 in overtime to advance to the playoffs for the second time in three seasons.

The Rams (12-5) won their third NL West title in five seasons under head coach Sean McVay after Arizona lost 38-30 to Seattle, in what was the Cardinals’ fourth loss in five games.

The Rams’ loss sent them to fourth place in the NFC and they will host the fifth-place Cardinals (11-6) in the wild-card round. They split wins in their two regular season meetings, always with the visitor taking the win. Arizona prevailed at SoFi Stadium 37-20 in October and the Rams won 30-23 at Arizona last month.


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