The Philadelphia Eagles denied the Dallas Cowboys the NFC East title as they boosted their postseason chances, while the Seattle Seahawks endured a forgettable outing against the Arizona Cardinals.

Philadelphia used a 17-9 victory over NFL rivals the Cowboys on Sunday to take a big step towards the playoffs.

The injury-hit Seahawks were left licking their wounds after a damaging 27-13 defeat to the Cardinals in Seattle in the race for the number one seed in the NFC.

 

EAGLES FLYING TOWARDS PLAYOFFS

The Eagles are one game away from a trip to the playoffs after topping the Cowboys in Philadelphia.

Sidney Jones sealed a vital win when he broke up Dak Prescott's fourth-down pass to wide receiver Michael Gallup with just over a minute remaining.

A victory would have sealed back-to-back NFC East titles for the Cowboys (7-8), instead the Eagles (8-7) are in the box seat heading into their final regular-season game against the New York Giants.

"You can see the sense of belief that each of these guys have," said Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz, who was 31 of 40 for 319 yards and a touchdown as his team celebrated a third straight win.

Cowboys QB Prescott – who carried a shoulder issue into the contest – was 25 of 44 for 265 yards, with Dallas needing to beat the Washington Redskins and hope the Eagles lose.

 

SEAHAWKS' TOP SEED HOPES FADE AS INJURIES MOUNT

Already playoff bound, the Seahawks' hopes of clinching the top seed in the NFC potentially vanished after going down to the Cardinals.

The Seahawks dropped to 11-4 for the season, behind leaders the San Francisco 49ers (12-3), New Orleans Saints (12-3) and Green Bay Packers (11-3).

Seattle, who entered the week as the top seed, can seal the NFC West with victory over the 49ers. But they are set to be without running back Chris Carson (hip) and backup C.J. Prosise (broken arm), for the rest of the season.

Kenyan Drake led the Cardinals, rushing for 166 yards and two touchdowns, while Kyler Murray left in the third quarter due to a hamstring injury.

 

MAHOMES PUTS ON A SHOW

Reigning MVP and Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes inspired a 26-3 rout of the Chicago Bears with three scores on the road.

Mahomes – who was 23 of 33 for 251 yards – threw for two touchdowns and ran for another as the Chiefs (11-4) stayed in contention for a first-round playoff bye. He also became the first player in NFL history to record 9,000 passing yards and 75 passing touchdowns in his first 30 games.

The streaking Chiefs, coming off a fifth consecutive win, are a game behind the New England Patriots for the AFC's second seed.

Elsewhere, the Oakland Raiders kept their postseason hopes alive by trumping the Los Angeles Chargers 24-17, while the Detroit Lions fell to an eighth consecutive defeat after losing 27-17 to the Denver Broncos.

 

HARBAUGH REVELS IN RAVENS SUCCESS

The Baltimore Ravens clinched the top seed in the AFC playoffs for the first time thanks to an 11th successive win – a 31-15 victory over the Cleveland Browns.

"It feels good," Ravens head coach John Harbaugh said after locking up homefield advantage.

"The players deserve a tremendous amount of credit for it. It's hard to win any game in the NFL. When you put together this kind of season, it's quite an accomplishment."

 

Week 16 scores:

Atlanta Falcons 24-12 Jacksonville Jaguars
Baltimore Ravens 31-15 Cleveland Browns
Indianapolis Colts 38-6 Carolina Panthers
Miami Dolphins 38-35 Cincinnati Bengals (OT)
New York Jets 16-10 Pittsburgh Steelers
New Orleans Saints 38-28 Tennessee Titans
New York Giants 41-35 Washington Redskins (OT)
Denver Broncos 27-17 Detroit Lions
Oakland Raiders 24-17 Los Angeles Chargers
Philadelphia Eagles 17-9 Dallas Cowboys
Arizona Cardinals 27-13 Seattle Seahawks
Kansas City Chiefs 26-3 Chicago Bears

Michael Thomas said his NFL record means nothing as he and the New Orleans Saints eye Super Bowl glory.

Thomas broke the single-season record for catches, eclipsing Marvin Harrison in the Saints' 38-28 win over the Tennessee Titans.

Harrison's record of 143 set in 2002 was surpassed by Thomas on Sunday – the Saints receiver up to 145 catches following his performance against the Titans.

But championships and not individual records are what motivate 26-year-old Saints star Thomas.

"To be honest, it doesn't really mean nothing," said Thomas. "I don't take it for granted. But the fact that we still have more goals as a team [matters most].

"As far as the individual stuff that comes along with it, I would be selfish to be like, 'Oh, I just caught all these passes and did all this.' Ultimately I was catching the passes to win the game, to help my team be in the position we're in now.

"So I just want to keep catching passes and end up where we're going to be... That's ultimately what I'm here to do, and I feel like if I continue to do that I'll get more passes and I'll break more records."

Thomas, who helped the Saints improve to 12-3 for the season, continued: "At the end of the season we'll look up and see all the things that we accomplished, but right now we're focused on one common goal and that's a championship."

The exploits of Thomas earned praise from far and wide, with Los Angeles Lakers superstar LeBron James tweeting: "Congrats @Cantguardmike!!!! Single season reception record. Breaking the record on an incredible route he ran! Nasty! You literally can't guard him! Fitting for his twitter handle."

Thomas – a three-time Pro Bowler – replied: "Thank you for the support always. Keep inspiring everyone. Greatness only equals greatness."

A fan was ejected from Doug Pederson's news conference following the Philadelphia Eagles' crucial NFL win over rivals the Dallas Cowboys.

The Eagles seized control of the NFC East thanks to a 17-9 victory against the Cowboys in Philadelphia on Sunday.

Philadelphia at least temporarily denied Dallas a second successive NFC East title, with the Eagles needing to win their final regular-season game against the New York Giants to clinch the division.

The result left the door wide open for the Eagles to advance to the playoffs and as head coach Pederson tried to reflect on the performance, there was a surprise visitor.

As Pederson spoke to reporters, the Eagles boss noticed an uncredentialed person had made their way into the conference.

The fan managed to ask a question about Eli Manning and the Giants – Philadelphia's next opponents. He asked: "Doug, meeting Eli next weekend, what do you think?"

Pederson replied, "Who is this? Is he with the media? Is he credentialed?"

The spectator was then escorted out of the room.

"This will be on SportsCenter," Pederson joked as the news conference resumed.

The Eagles (8-7) are away to the Giants (4-11) in New York on December 29.

Michael Thomas broke the single-season record for catches in a single NFL campaign, surpassing Marvin Harrison in the New Orleans Saints' game with the Tennessee Titans on Sunday.

Harrison set the record of 143 back in the 2002 season, but Thomas ended his near 17-year reign in the Saints' 38-28 win in Nashville.

Thomas' 11th catch of the game late in the fourth quarter marked his 144th reception of the season. He appeared to subsequently take the ball across the goal-line, but the touchdown was reversed on review.

However, he did find the endzone on his 145th catch two plays later as quarterback Drew Brees hit him for a two-yard score.

Victory moved the Saints to 12-3 on the season, tied with the San Francisco 49ers for the best record in the NFC.

Adrian Peterson and Julio Jones each made history in the NFL on Sunday.

Neither Peterson nor Jones will be competing for their respective teams, the Washington Redskins and the Atlanta Falcons, in the playoffs this term.

However, they both added milestones to their CVs on the penultimate weekend of the 2019 regular season.

Future Hall of Fame running back Peterson surpassed the great Walter Payton to jump to fourth on the all-time touchdowns list, crossing for the 111th time in his career in the fourth quarter of the Redskins' game with the New York Giants.

Meanwhile, Jones became the fastest wide receiver to reach 12,000 career yards with a third-quarter catch in the Falcons' clash with the Jacksonville Jaguars. 

Jones achieved the feat in his 125th game, easily beating the previous mark of 142 set by Jerry Rice, considered by most to be the greatest receiver in league history.

Jared Goff said the Los Angeles Rams only have themselves to blame for a "sickening" failure to reach the NFL playoffs.

The Rams made the Super Bowl last season, but there will be no repeat this time around after they were beaten 34-31 by the San Francisco 49ers at Levi's Stadium on Saturday.

Robbie Gould's last-gasp field goal ended the Rams' hopes of featuring in the postseason with one match to spare.

Quarterback Goff said: "It's extremely disappointing. You never envision something like this when you start the year.

"It's not even close to the standard that we want to hold. It's sickening."

Goff did not put the Rams' shortcomings down to a hangover from their Super Bowl loss to the New England Patriots.

"We were in plenty of games and had plenty of chances to win games." he added.

"The ball goes here or there a couple of times and we're having a completely different conversation right now.

"It has absolutely nothing to do with what happened last year."

The San Francisco 49ers returned to the top of the NFC West and eliminated the Los Angeles Rams from playoff contention with a dramatic 34-31 win on Saturday.

Robbie Gould's 33-yard field goal as time expired at Levi's Stadium proved decisive as the 49ers improved to 12-3.

A nine-play, 60-yard drive led by quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo set up the opportunity for Gould as the 49ers climbed back above the Seattle Seahawks (11-3) in the division.

The Seahawks face the Arizona Cardinals on Sunday before meeting the 49ers next week.

The Rams, coming off a Super Bowl loss, slipped to 8-7 and out of playoff contention, while the Minnesota Vikings' spot was secured.

Rams quarterback Jared Goff went 27 of 46 for 323 yards, two touchdowns and an interception.

The 49ers led 24-21 at half-time but Goff's 22-yard pass to Cooper Kupp meant the Rams were in front heading into the fourth quarter.

However, Garoppolo (16 of 27 for 248 yards, one TD and two interceptions) and George Kittle combined and while Greg Zuerlein's 52-yard field goal brought the Rams level, Gould delivered late.

Robert Woods and Tyler Higbee finished with 117 and 104 receiving yards respectively for the Rams.

The New England Patriots clinched an 11th straight AFC East title with a thrilling 24-17 win over the Buffalo Bills on Saturday.

A late touchdown from Rex Burkhead at Gillette Stadium saw the Patriots secure the division title once more and improve to 12-3.

Patriots quarterback Tom Brady went 26 of 33 for 271 yards and a touchdown in the entertaining win over the Bills (10-5).

Josh Allen (13 of 26 for 208 yards) had thrown touchdown passes to Dion Dawkins and John Brown to put the Bills in position for victory.

They led 17-13 heading into the fourth quarter before a Nick Folk field goal and a seven-play, 59-yard drive finished with Burkhead rushing over and Brady finding Julian Edelman for a two-point conversion.

Buffalo had a late chance but were unable to make the most of it as they fell short of an upset win.

Sony Michel rushed for 96 yards for the Patriots, while the Bills' Cole Beasley had 108 receiving yards on seven receptions.

Jameis Winston threw four interceptions as the Houston Texans recorded a 23-20 road win over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to seal the AFC South title.

The Texans (10-5) won the division for the fourth time in the last five seasons after grinding out a victory in the second half on Saturday, having previously given up a 17-3 lead as the Bucs (7-8) battled back.

A wild first half included seven turnovers but it was a quieter affair after the interval. The game was level at 20-20 in the fourth quarter until Deshaun Watson's 39-yard pass to DeAndre Carter helped to set up a 37-yard Ka'imi Fairbairn field goal with 7:16 left to play.

The Bucs turned the ball over on downs on their first attempt to reply, before Winston was intercepted by Jahleel Addae with 1:31 remaining to all but end their hopes.

Quarterback Winston completed 25 of his 48 passing attempts for 335 yards, throwing one touchdown to Justin Watson along with his four picks.

On the day where it was reported the team had decided to retain his services for next season, Winston made the worst possible start by throwing a pick-six to Texans cornerback Bradley Roby on his first attempt and it did not get much better from there.

Opposite number Watson was short of his brilliant best as he went 19-of-32 for 184 yards, zero touchdowns and one interception, while he was sacked five times, but the Texans found a way to win.

Carlos Hyde ran in their only offensive score while the Bucs, playing without injured star receivers Mike Evans and Chris Godwin, had a rushing touchdown from Ronald Jones. Kicker Matt Gay had a 54-yard field goal blocked in the first half.

The Minnesota Vikings have confirmed running back Dalvin Cook will not feature in Monday's crucial meeting with Green Bay Packers.

The Vikings will secure a playoff berth with a win or a tie, or if the Los Angeles Rams fail to beat the San Francisco 49ers on Saturday.

However, against the Packers they will be without their star running back, who is out with a shoulder injury he suffered in Week 15 against the Los Angeles Chargers.

Cook's season has been marred by some niggling injuries, though he has still impressed with 1,135 rushing yards and 13 rushing touchdowns, as well as amassing 53 receptions for 519 yards.

The 24-year-old may not be the only running back missing for the Vikings against their NFC North rivals, with Alexander Mattison (ankle) also rated as questionable for the penultimate game of the regular season.

Darren Sproles has announced he will retire at the end of the 2019 season.

The veteran Philadelphia Eagles running back signed up for one more campaign at Lincoln Financial Field in July, having initially stated his intention to end his career following the 2018 campaign.

Yet Sproles, who has also played for the San Diego Chargers and New Orleans Saints prior to his six seasons in Philadelphia, will now call it a day, having moved up to fifth in the NFL's all-time list for all-purpose yards gained.

"I owe so much to the game of football and I gave it all I had in return," said Sproles in a lengthy message to fans posted on the Eagles' official website.

"I gave it everything I had on every play. I rode it until the wheels fell off. That's the way I played and that's the way I practiced.

"When I re-signed with the Eagles back in July, I knew it was going to be my last season, and now my body is telling me it's time to step away from the game. It's time to call it a career.

"So when the season comes to an end, I'm going to officially retire from the National Football League. But I wanted to announce it today [Saturday] so that we can appreciate the moment together on Sunday [when the Eagles face the Dallas Cowboys]."

Sproles sustained a torn hip flexor last month, ending his hopes of featuring again for the Eagles.

"Spending the past month on injured reserve has been hard," he added. "I want to be out there with my guys. But I've had the chance to spend a lot of time with my family and I'm at peace with this decision.

"My kids are kind of sad that my career is coming to an end because they told me that they love to see me play. They inspired me. They kept me going.

"I'm proud that they were able to see me play at a high level because I wanted to show my kids that you can achieve anything that you put your mind to, as long as you are willing to work hard for it. There's no quit, especially when times get tough and rocky."

Jerry Rice, Brian Mitchell, Walter Payton and Emmitt Smith are the only players to have more yards than Sproles, who amassed 19,696 after being selected by the Chargers in the fourth round of the 2005 Draft. 

Dak Prescott's playing status for the Dallas Cowboys' showdown with the Philadelphia Eagles is not in question, according to the team's official injury report.

Cowboys quarterback Prescott sprained his right shoulder during last week's NFL victory over the Los Angeles Rams.

However, Prescott is set to start against the Eagles on Sunday as both teams vie for a playoff berth, despite limited practice on Friday.

The NFC East title will be on the line when the Cowboys visit the Eagles at Lincoln Financial Field – Dallas and Philadelphia sharing 7-7 records atop the division with two games remaining in the regular season.

This season, Cowboys star Prescott has completed 340 throws for 4,334 yards and 26 touchdowns.

New York Jets offensive assistant Hines Ward wants a 'Gatorade shower' if they beat his former team the Pittsburgh Steelers.

The Jets (5-9) are already eliminated from the NFL playoff race but there is still plenty on the line for Ward – who won two Super Bowls and was an MVP during his 14 years with the Steelers.

A four-time Pro Bowler after he was drafted by Pittsburgh in 1998, Ward has called for championship-like celebrations if the Jets top the Steelers at MetLife Stadium on Sunday.

"It will be special for me, but I'm a competitive guy," the 43-year-old told reporters on Friday.

"I want to win. I want to beat the Steelers as much as anybody in this building, trust me.

"I'm telling my guys, 'You have to win this for me.' I want the Gatorade shower and all that if we win."

Ward added: "It's kind of weird. I played my entire career there. Having people on the staff department, they want to go out to dinner [Saturday], things like that.

"It's Christmas weekend in New York City, so everybody wants to come in."

Derrick Henry is off the Tennessee Titans' injury report ahead of the big Week 16 game against the New Orleans Saints, but Adoree' Jackson and Adam Humphries have been ruled out.

The trio all missed practice on Thursday, and there was mixed news on the fitness front the following day.

Star running back Henry - a key piece in the Titans' offense - looks to be available against the Saints after he was not listed.

The 25-year-old has 15 touchdowns this season and was selected to the Pro Bowl this week but had been dealing with a hamstring issue.

While Tennessee will be boosted by Henry's involvement, there were blows at cornerback and wide receiver.

Jackson, out since December 1 with a foot problem, was a limited participant on Wednesday but missed practice on Thursday and was then downgraded to out.

Humphries has an ankle injury and is also unavailable, while defensive lineman Jeffery Simmons is questionable due to a knee ailment.

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