Kyle Shanahan said the ghosts of playing the Atlanta Falcons a fortnight ago were at the forefront of his mind as the San Francisco 49ers defeated fierce rivals the Seattle Hawhawks in dramatic circumstances.

The 49ers ran out 26-21 victors at CenturyLink Field to clinch the NFC West division, a first-round bye, the number one seed and home-field advantage throughout the NFC playoffs.

However, while general manager John Lynch sprinted on the field to celebrate rookie linebacker Dre Greenlaw holding up Jacob Hollister just a couple of inches from the goalline on fourth down, head coach Shanahan cut a far more reserved figure.

Shanahan explained the memories of their December 15 defeat to the Falcons, in which a similar incident went their way before being overturned on review, was still fresh in his mind.

"I wasn't ready to celebrate anything," Shanahan, whose team finished 13-3 in the regular season, told reporters. 

"[The Atlanta game] kind of ruined my celebration, to tell you the truth. I wanted to wait until I saw it on the scoreboard."

Victory completes an impressive turnaround for the 49ers, who missed out on the playoffs in each of the previous five seasons and endured a torrid 4-12 campaign last time around.

"We worked for this all year," Shanahan added. "That's always the goal going in, just to get in the tournament. 

"To get in there with the number one seed feels very good. We were going to be ready to deal with whatever we had to tomorrow, whether if we had to go play three games, but I know we're much happier that we can stay at home now when you're two games away from the big one. 

"We're going to enjoy this bye week, but I'm very proud of the guys. We've had to win a lot of different ways this year. I keep feeling like we've done it every way possible and then we find [another] way to do it."

The 49ers had not won in Seattle since December 2011 and Sunday's game was often on a knife edge.

Seattle went scoreless in the first half but the Niners responded impressively when met with a much more cohesive offense in the second.

"This whole season has been complementary football between our offense, defense and special teams, and tonight was no different," quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo said. 

"They'd step up and make a huge play, we'd step up and make a huge play. It was just everyone stepping up when their number was called."

The San Francisco 49ers edged the Seattle Seahawks 26-21 in a wild clash to clinch the NFC's number one seed and a first-round bye in the NFL playoffs.

San Francisco emerged as NFC West champions and the top seeds thanks to Sunday's incredible victory in Seattle.

The Philadelphia Eagles and Tennessee Titans booked their postseason berths with wins on the final day of the regular season.

Meanwhile, AFC top seeds the Baltimore Ravens head into the bye on the back of an impressive 28-10 victory over the Pittsburgh Steelers.

 

NINERS DOWN SEAHAWKS IN THRILLER 

The Seahawks appeared dead and buried against the 49ers, trailing 26-14 with less than four minutes remaining.

However, the final minutes were unbelievable as the 49ers somehow denied the Seahawks a first-round bye and top spot in the NFC.

Down 26-21 in the final seconds, Seahawks tight end Jacob Hollister charged towards the endzone and fell just inches short of the goal-line on a fourth-down play. It came after a delay of game penalty when Seattle had the ball at the one-yard line.

Dre Greenlaw made the tackle to hold out Hollister with nine seconds remaining as the 49ers earned homefield advantage throughout the postseason after sealing their first division crown since 2012, while the Seahawks will face the Eagles in the wildcard game.

49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo was 18 of 22 for 285 yards and no touchdowns, while Raheem Mostert (two) and Deebo Samuel (one) both rushed for TDs.

Seahawks QB Russell Wilson completed 25 of his 40 throws for 233 yards and two touchdowns.

 

EAGLES SOAR INTO PLAYOFFS, TITANS JOIN THEM

The Eagles moved through to the wildcard round after capturing the NFC East championship by beating the New York Giants 34-17.

Philadelphia (9-7) finished ahead of rivals the Dallas Cowboys (8-8), who eased past the Washington Redskins 47-16.

Failing to reach the playoffs thrust the future of out-of-contract Cowboys head coach Jason Garrett further into the spotlight but owner and general manager Jerry Jones said: "I'm not going to get into it at all, an evaluation or an assessment. I'm not. I'm going to do exactly what I always do and get up, go forward and do the best job that I can. We'll make those decisions accordingly."

The Titans, meanwhile, used a 35-14 victory against the Houston Texans to advance to the playoffs and set up a wildcard showdown with defending Super Bowl champions the New England Patriots.

The Oakland Raiders missed out on the playoffs following a narrow 16-15 defeat to the Denver Broncos.

 

RAVENS CAP SEASON WITH 12TH STRAIGHT WIN

Despite the absence of their star starters, the Ravens ended the regular season with another victory, this time against the Steelers.

The Ravens extended their winning streak to 12 as they improved to 14-2 for the season without Lamar Jackson, Mark Ingram, Marshal Yanda and Earl Thomas.

"That puts an exclamation point on an excellent season," said Ravens head coach John Harbaugh.

Pittsburgh required a Tennessee loss to have any chance of becoming only the seventh team since 1970 to reach the playoffs following a 0-3 start.

 

RAMS SAY GOODBYE TO COLISEUM

The Los Angeles Rams farewelled LA Memorial Coliseum with a 31-24 triumph against the Arizona Cardinals.

As the Rams prepare to relocate to SoFi Stadium in Inglewood, they celebrated one last victory at the historic 96-year-old venue.

"I will miss playing in the Coliseum," said quarterback Jared Goff said. "I'm really excited for SoFi. What Mr. [Stan] Kroenke has done there is going to be something that I don't think the world has ever seen, honestly. It'll be a lot of fun, but I will miss the Coliseum and will miss the history of it, the lighting of the torch, the fireworks, the whole thing. The fanbase we've built here, how much louder it was this year compared to my first year, and just seeing it grow, is really cool."

 

Week 17 results

New York Jets 13-6 Buffalo Bills
Cincinnati Bengals 33-23 Cleveland Browns
Green Bay Packers 23-20 Detroit Lions
Kansas City Chiefs 31-21 Los Angeles Chargers
Chicago Bears 21-19 Minnesota Vikings
Miami Dolphins 27-24 New England Patriots
Atlanta Falcons 28-22 Tampa Bay Buccaneers (OT)
New Orleans Saints 42-10 Carolina Panthers
Dallas Cowboys 47-16 Washington Redskins
Denver Broncos 16-15 Oakland Raiders
Los Angeles Rams 31-24 Arizona Cardinals
Philadelphia Eagles 34-17 New York Giants
San Francisco 49ers 26-21 Seattle Seahawks
Jacksonville Jaguars 38-20 Indianapolis Colts
Baltimore Ravens 28-10 Pittsburgh Steelers
Tennessee Titans 35-14 Houston Texans

Philadelphia Eagles star Carson Wentz said the team are "still hungry" after sealing the NFC East title and a wildcard berth on Sunday.

Wentz and the Eagles overcame a mounting injury list to see off the New York Giants 34-17 in their final regular-season game.

After topping NFL rivals the Dallas Cowboys (8-8) last week to seize control in the race for the NFC East and playoffs, the Eagles (9-7) made sure of their postseason place against the Giants.

Wentz, who set a franchise record for single-season completions (388) and became the first quarterback in Eagles history to reach 4,000 yards (4,039), finished 23 of 40 for 289 yards and a touchdown.

After two injury-hit seasons which forced him to miss Philadelphia's triumphant Super Bowl LII showdown in 2018, Wentz told reporters post-game: "I'm just extremely grateful to be healthy and to be playing in this meaningful game.

"And I know the guys are fired up. We're fired up. It was quite the regular season for us, with a lot of ups and downs, and the way we responded late in the year with our backs against the wall, to do what we did and to get to this moment, I think guys are thankful for it. But we're still hungry."

Philadelphia's injuries continue to add up after running back Miles Sanders (ankle) and Brandon Brooks (shoulder) were hurt against the Giants.

The Eagles – who will face either the San Francisco 49ers or Seattle Seahawks in the wildcard game – entered the contest without star tight end Zach Ertz due to a rib problem, all three of their original starting receivers, right tackle Lane Johnson and both starting cornerbacks.

"What I love about this football team is how we have stuck together the entire season through all the ups and downs, through all the injuries, we've battled, we've put ourselves in this position to win the NFC East," said head coach Doug Pederson.

"We've done that. But what I see from our players in they're already talking about next week, coming to work this week and preparing for next week, and it just tells me that the guys are in the right frame of mind."

Los Angeles Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers is open to playing for another team in 2020 as the veteran insisted he plans to continue in the NFL.

The Chargers ended their season with a 31-21 defeat at the Kansas City Chiefs in Rivers' possible farewell on Sunday.

Rivers – an eight-time Pro Bowler – is out of contract after this season and the 38-year-old's future remains up in the air.

Pressed on his future post-game, Rivers was overcome with emotion as he fronted the media amid the uncertainty.

"If this is the last time here or last time in this uniform, that's a possibility," Rivers told reporters. "I think in a year like this can drain you a bit and beat you up, but the love is still there. Nothing like competing at this level.

"Living the dream. Even in this situation at 5-10… that tells me that I still have some juice left… Do I still want to [play]? Absolutely."

Rivers – selected by the Chargers with pick four in the 2004 draft – added: "Yeah, I plan to play football. Where that's going to be, that will get sorted out. I've never been in this position. We will just see. I'm very thankful for the 16 years. With uncertainty, comes unknown.

"As I stand today, as long as someone wants me, I'll be playing somewhere. But in a month, I don't know, I might be ready to put on a headset and call a play. If one of 32 teams want me and it's the right situation and I can start that 255th game in a row, I'll be running out there."

Rivers ended the campaign with 390 completed passes for 4,615 yards, 23 touchdowns and 20 interceptions in 16 games this season for the Chargers (5-11).

It was Rivers' lowest number of TDs since throwing 21 in 2007, while his 20 interceptions were the most since tallying 21 in 2016.

"There's a lot of questions that have to be answered," Rivers said. "It's not just, 'Am I back?' And we'll win 12 games. We're far from that being, 'Check that box and we're good.' That would be inaccurate.

"There's a lot of question marks moving forward. As those get answered and how those get answered along with my personal question will clear up a lot of things."

The Cleveland Browns have sacked head coach Freddie Kitchens after one season in charge, the NFL franchise announced.

Cleveland made the decision to part with Kitchens following Sunday's 33-23 defeat to the lowly Cincinnati Bengals.

Already out of the playoff picture, the Browns (6-10) – without a postseason berth since 2002 – ended the campaign with three consecutive losses.

There were high hopes when Kitchens was handed the role permanently in January, having been promoted from his position as offensive co-ordinator in Cleveland, and star Odell Beckham Jr. arrived from the New York Giants.

However, Kitchens was unable to end the Browns' playoff drought as Cleveland decided to make a change.

"I would like to thank Freddie for his dedication and efforts this past season," Browns general manager John Dorsey said. "We are disappointed in our results and feel a change is necessary. Freddie is a good man and good football coach. We wish he and his family nothing but success."

Owners Dee and Jimmy Haslam added: "We thank Freddie for his hard work and commitment to this organisation but did not see the success or opportunities for improvement to move forward with him as our head coach.

"Our focus is on hiring an exceptional leader for this football team and we will take a comprehensive approach to this process. We are excited about the core players we have to build around and develop and we look forward to bringing in a strong head coach that will put this group of players in the best position to succeed."

 

Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Jameis Winston insisted "I'm going to be the best" despite making unwanted NFL history against the Atlanta Falcons.

Winston became the first player to throw for at least 30 touchdowns and 30 interceptions in a season as the Buccaneers ended their campaign with a 28-22 overtime loss to the Falcons.

Buccaneers QB Winston joined the dubious 30-30 club after he was pick-sixed by Falcons linebacker Deion Jones on the first play of overtime in Tampa on Sunday.

Winston's future is up in the air with his rookie contract expiring but the 25-year-old – who became the eighth quarterback in league history to throw for 5,000 yards in a season – is not concerned about interceptions possibly costing him a place on the Buccaneers' roster in 2020.

"That's the last thing on my mind," Winston told reporters. "I'm focused on how I can get better. I know if I eliminate those, I'm going to be the best. Bar none. You'd better check your sheet."

Winston – the number one pick in the 2015 draft – said: "If you look at the numbers, I'm balling. I've got to stop giving the ball to the other team. It's not a trick question. I know if I eliminate those [interceptions], I'm going to be the best, bar none."

With Winston set to become a free agent, Buccaneers head coach Bruce Arians added: "You look at it and there's so much good and so much outright terrible. We got to weigh that and see what happens."

On the loss, Arians said: "It smells as bad as it could possibly smell and it'll smell that way for a long time.

"I think an overtime loss, giving the ball away for a touchdown? I can't think of anything worse.''

 

Tom Brady lamented "bad mistakes" after reigning NFL Super Bowl champions the New England Patriots squandered the AFC second seed and dropped down to the wildcard game for the first time in a decade.

The Patriots sensationally blew a first-round bye for the playoffs after being upstaged by the Miami Dolphins 27-24 in Week 17 on Sunday.

New England conceded a touchdown with 24 seconds remaining as they suffered their first home loss to the Dolphins since 2008 and were pipped by the Kansas City Chiefs for the number two seed.

The Patriots will now contest a wildcard game for the first time since 2009 and star quarterback Brady told reporters: "We didn't play the way we're capable of playing and it ended up costing us. Just too many bad mistakes.

"I think we've got to think about trying to win one game and not think about many things other than that. So, we didn't play the way we were capable. We got beat, and now we've got to play next week and we've got to play a lot better next week."

"It was a great chance for us to not play next week," Brady added. "So, we didn't take advantage of it. We just didn't play good enough and we all wish we would have done a better job. Certainly I do."

Brady finished the game 16 of 29 for 221 yards, two touchdowns and an interception.

"I could always do things better," Brady said. "So, I don't think there's any one particular thing other than obviously I hate turning the ball over, but I just don't think we did a good enough job. I certainly didn't do a good enough job. We've got to do better next week."

Patriots head coach Bill Belichick added: "There's obviously not too much to say. Obviously, we didn't do anything well enough today to deserve to win.

"So, we'll be playing next week and we'll see who that is and still have opportunity in front of us here. We need our best football, and we didn't have it today, but hopefully it will be there next week."

The Kansas City Chiefs pipped the New England Patriots to a first-round bye in the NFL playoffs, while Mason Crosby's last-gasp field goal ensured the Green Bay Packers did not miss out.

With the Patriots suffering a surprise 27-24 loss to the Dolphins, a 31-21 victory over the Los Angeles Chargers saw the Chiefs snatch the number two seed in the AFC.

Unlike New England, the Packers were able to get the win they needed to head straight to the Divisional Round with a 23-20 comeback victory over the Detroit Lions at Ford Field.

The New Orleans Saints did enough to remain in contention for a first-round bye with a resounding 42-10 triumph over the Carolina Panthers, who saw Christian McCaffrey make history.

 

CHIEFS MAKE MOST OF PATS SHOCK

The Patriots looked to have staved off a potential upset against the Dolphins at Gillette Stadium when James White ran into the end zone on third and goal to give them their first lead with 3:53 remaining in the fourth quarter.

However, New England were unable to stop Ryan Fitzpatrick leading a 13-play drive that ended with a five-yard touchdown reception for Mike Gesicki with 24 seconds left.

Tom Brady, who went 16 of 29 for 221 yards, two touchdowns and one interception, moved beyond 4,000 yards in a season for the 11th time in his career and surpassed Peyton Manning for the second-most career touchdown passes in NFL history with his 540th, but was unable to conjure a miracle and help force overtime.

Defeat for the Patriots meant the Chiefs were able to deny them the final bye in the AFC.

After rookie Mecole Hardman's 104-yard kickoff return and an 84-yard rushing touchdown from Damien Williams for the Chiefs in their clash with the Chargers, Hunter Henry made it a three-point game. However, Williams' second score of the day locked up the win.

 

PACKERS MAKE SAINTS WAIT

Against the league's worst passing defense, Aaron Rodgers only had one completion for the Packers in a first quarter that saw his Lions opposite number David Blough take in a 19-yard touchdown pass from wide receiver Danny Amendola.

The Packers trailed by 14 points at half-time but were level when Allen Lazard reeled in a 28-yard touchdown pass from Rodgers with just over five minutes remaining in the final period.

A tremendous play from Aaron Jones got Green Bay into field-goal range and Crosby did not let them down at the death, making his attempt from 33 yards.

That meant the Saints had to wait to find out their fate, with a loss for the San Francisco 49ers against the Seattle Seahawks required to send them through as the second seed behind the Packers.

Drew Brees (253 yards) was key to New Orleans' victory over the Panthers as he became just the fourth player with at least three touchdown passes and no interceptions in four consecutive games in a single NFL season.

 

MCCAFFREY'S RECORD HUNT

The Panthers may have been blown out by the Saints, but McCaffrey did enough for a slice of history.

The third-year tailback joined Roger Craig and Marshall Faulk as the only players in NFL history with 1,000 rushing yards and 1,000 receiving yards in a single season.

McCaffrey finished the season with 2,392 scrimmage yards, the third-most in history and 117 shy of Chris Johnson's record.

 

WINSTON MAKES HISTORY

Jameis Winston's future is a source of great uncertainty and he did himself few favours against the Atlanta Falcons.

The fifth-year quarterback threw his 30th interception of the season in overtime for Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Deion Jones returned it for a game-winning touchdown.

It was the seventh pick six Winston has thrown this season – a new NFL record.

 

Week 17 scores:

New York Jets 13-6 Buffalo Bills
Cleveland Browns 23-33 Cincinnati Bengals
Green Bay Packers 23-20 Detroit Lions
Los Angeles Chargers 21-31 Kansas City Chiefs
Chicago Bears 21-19 Minnesota Vikings
Miami Dolphins 27-24 New England Patriots
Atlanta Falcons 28-22 Tampa Bay Buccaneers (OT)
New Orleans Saints 42-10 Carolina Panthers

It was a decade full of skill, unforgettable moments and remarkable storylines.

Grand slam titles, Olympic Games gold medals, Rugby World Cups, Women's World Cups and more.

However, the impact and influence of some athletes proved more transcending than others.

We look at the most influential sports people of the past decade as we prepare to farewell the 2010s.

 

COLIN KAEPERNICK

Kaepernick has never swayed from his beliefs, even if it cost him a career in the NFL.

Following five years with the San Francisco 49ers, Kaepernick hit the headlines when he kneeled during the United States national anthem in 2016.

The quarterback cited racial injustice and police brutality. He filed a grievance against the NFL in 2017, accusing owners of colluding to keep him out of a job. Kaepernick settled that grievance in February.

Despite some backlash, the 32-year-old inspired a nation – receiving support from Nike, Serena Williams, LeBron James, Megan Rapinoe and others. He even refused to meet the NFL's demands for a workout in November – all but ending his career. For Kaepernick, it has always been about more than American football…

SIYA KOLISI

South Africa captain Siya Kolisi lifted the Rugby World Cup in November. However, his influence stretches much further than a rugby pitch.

In a country embroiled in economic turmoil and racial unrest, Kolisi – the Springboks' first black captain in their 127-year history – is a beacon of hope.

Having come from an area marked by unemployment and lack of opportunity, Kolisi has become a household name and a genuine inspirational star, who can help unite a nation.

MEGAN RAPINOE

Outspoken on and off the field, Women's World Cup winner and United States star Rapinoe has transcended football.

From LGBT rights, gender equality and racial quality, Rapinoe has led the fights.

The 34-year-old has drawn the ire of US president Donald Trump, and even called out FIFA over the gulf in prize money for the women's and men's World Cups as she strives to make football and the world a better place, while maintaining her dominance on the pitch – winning the 2019 Ballon d'Or Feminin, last year's Golden Ball and Golden Boot.

ANDY MURRAY

A three-time grand slam champion and former world number one, Murray's lasting legacy may be his fight for gender equality – not just his on-court achievements.

Not one to keep quiet, just watch him play tennis, Murray has championed against sexism, especially after hiring Amelie Mauresmo as his coach in 2014. 

In 2015, Murray wrote: "Have I become a feminist? If being a feminist is about fighting so that a woman is treated like a man then I suppose I have."

SIMONE BILES

This decade saw the emergence of a gymnastics sensation, yielding four Olympic gold medals in 2016 and 19 World Championships golds - 25 in total - over the past six years.

Biles is the most decorated artistic gymnast of all time at just 22 years of age, establishing herself as one of the best athletes in the world in the face of adversity.

The once-in-a-lifetime talent won five gold medals in Stuttgart, while dealing with the Larry Nassar sexual abuse scandal.

In 2018, she claimed she was sexually abused by ex-Team USA gymnastics sports doctor Nassar, encouraging others to do the same. She continues to influence the sport in innumerable ways. 

ANTHONY JOSHUA

In a decade dominated by UFC and the emergence of mixed-martial arts, Joshua has stood tall for boxing. Flying the flag in the ring, the heavyweight champion consistently attracts crowds that have never been seen in British boxing.

A game-changer for the sport, Joshua has broadened boxing's appeal beyond traditional audiences. For his bout against Wladimir Klitschko at Wembley in April 2017, a post-ward record crowd of 90,000 attended.

An estimated 80,000 spectators also took in his clash with Carlos Takam in Cardiff six months later. Joshua also took a title fight to Saudi Arabia in December - regaining his belts.

ALEX ZANARDI

Zanardi survived one of the most horrific non-fatal crashes in the history of open-wheel racing. The Italian lost both his legs in 2001, while he was also red his last rites.

However, Zanardi – who said he went 50 minutes with less than a litre of blood and his heart stopped beating seven times – was not done.

The former CART champion turned to paracycling and won two gold medals in his 2012 Paralympics debut, followed by another two in 2016.

CASTER SEMENYA

A two-time Olympic Games gold medallist and athletics star, it has been a tough end to the decade for Semenya but the South African inspired a nation in 2019.

She missed the World Athletics Championships in October after the IAAF proposed regulations regarding athletes with differences of sex development (DSD).

The new rule instructed athletes such as Semenya – who compete in events from the 400m to a mile, to take medication to lower their testosterone levels to take part in women's track events.

Despite lengthy legal battles and years of questions, Semenya continued to fight for her rights, leading to a Nike video in which she spoke about acceptance, self-love and respecting people for who they are. "I'm one kind of an athlete. I run my own race. It's all about me," said Semenya.

The youngest son of Detroit Lions wide receiver Marvin Jones died on Friday, the player revealed.

Jones, 29, announced the death of his infant son Marlo via social media on Saturday before the Lions released a statement.

Marlo was reportedly six months old.

The father of five children, Jones wrote on Instagram: "Yesterday the Lord called home a piece of my family's heart, Marlo. It is hard to believe that our little angel, our fighter from day one, our son 'Marlito' has unfortunately passed away and is no longer here with us.

"Marlo, the joy that you brought to us everyday, with that smile, and that energy was like heaven on earth. You will always be in our hearts. We will always remember you.

"We did not get the chance to hear your first words [It would've been in Spanish too]. We didn't get to see you run with your brothers and sister, you ran with them with your eyes everyday.

"We know that everything that We do from here on out will be with you. Every step we take, you will be with us. Whenever we have a bad day,

"We will think of your smile. We miss you already buddy and will forever love you. Rest peacefully our sweet baby boy. You have gained your wings."

In a statement, the Lions said: "Earlier today, we were informed by Marvin and Jazmyn Jones about the sudden passing of their youngest son, Marlo. The Detroit Lions fully support Marvin and Jazmyn during his extremely difficult time.

"Marvin and Jazmyn embody the true meaning of family, and the example they set has made them an inspiration to so many in our community. We thank everyone for the outpouring of support. On behalf of the Jones family, we ask that everyone respect the privacy of the matter at this time."

The Jacksonville Jaguars have denied reports head coach Doug Marrone will be fired after Sunday's regular-season finale against the Indianapolis Colts.

Marrone's position is thought to be under threat with the team heading into the Colts clash with a 5-10 record and bottom of the AFC South.

An ESPN report suggested Marrone would be dismissed after the game but Jim Woodcock – a spokesman for owner Shad Khan – posted on Twitter that is not the case.

"Reports that Doug Marrone will be dismissed after Sunday's game are 100 per cent incorrect," he wrote.

"Owner Shad Khan will meet with his football staff, which includes coaching and personnel, midweek next week."

In 2017, Marrone's first season in charge, the Jaguars were 10-6 in the regular season and lost the AFC Championship game to the New England Patriots.

Antonio Brown is visiting with the New Orleans Saints as he seeks to resurrect his NFL career.

Brown has been without a team since being released by the New England Patriots in September amid allegations of sexual assault and rape.

He was traded from the Pittsburgh Steelers to the Oakland Raiders in March after a tumultuous 2018 campaign. 

However, he never played a down for the Raiders, who granted his release on September 7 following a series of controversies. Brown agreed to join the Patriots later that day.

Brown caught four passes for 56 yards and a touchdown in his lone appearance for the Patriots against the Miami Dolphins.

NFL Media's Ian Rapoport reported Brown is working out for the Saints. Brown posted an image of his free agent waiver from the Saints on Instagram. The post was later deleted. 

The seven-time Pro Bowler and four-time first-team All-Pro will hope his visit to New Orleans yields a return to the field with a Super Bowl contender in the Saints.

New Orleans have already won the NFC South and are 12-3 going into the final week of the regular season. They can still clinch the NFC's top seed and homefield advantage throughout the playoffs.

However, should he sign with the Saints, it is expected he will be placed on the Commissioner's Exempt List, preventing him from returning to the field until an investigation into the accusations against him is complete.

Head coach Dan Quinn and general manager Thomas Dimitroff will return to the Atlanta Falcons next season, the NFC South franchise have confirmed.

The 6-9 Falcons will miss the playoffs for the second straight campaign and will end this season with a losing record, regardless of whether they beat the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Week 17.

That had led to speculation about the futures of fifth-year head coach Quinn and GM Dimitroff, yet both men will retain their positions for 2020.

Quinn led Atlanta to Super Bowl LI in his second season only for the Falcons to squander a 28-3 lead against the New England Patriots, who won in overtime in Houston.

Dimitroff, a former front office member with the Patriots, became Atlanta's GM in 2008 and picked quarterback Matt Ryan with his first draft selection.

The Falcons have made the playoffs in six of the 12 seasons since Dimitroff was hired.

Having been 1-7 earlier this season, Atlanta have won five of their last seven since their Week 9 bye.

In a statement on Atlanta's website, owner Arthur Blank said: "After weighing several factors, including our team's statistical turnaround and our players' focus and effort the second half of the season, I feel the decision to retain Thomas and Dan, with [CEO] Rich [McKay] providing close day-to-day oversight of the football operation, will provide the timeliest route for the Atlanta Falcons to return to contention in 2020 and beyond."

Blank added: "In my time as owner, and particularly since 2008, we have been one of the winningest teams in the NFC - ranking fourth in wins and across the NFL, tied for seventh in wins, and that remains the only acceptable result for us now and in the future."

Former Buccaneers head coach Raheem Morris will be the team's defensive coordinator for next season.

The NFL regular season comes to a close this week, with plenty still on the line.

Defending Super Bowl champions, the New England Patriots, need a win against the Miami Dolphins to lock up the second seed in the AFC playoffs, though they are guaranteed a spot in the postseason.

The Tennessee Titans' postseason hopes are in their own hands – a win against the Houston Texans will see them through. Meanwhile, a victory over the Seattle Seahawks for NFC West leaders the San Francisco 49ers will ensure their place in the playoffs as the top seed and give them home advantage throughout.

However, the 49ers know that if they slip up then Seattle will win the division and the Green Bay Packers, New Orleans Saints or Seahawks will take top spot in the conference.

The Philadelphia Eagles will clinch a playoff berth and the NFC East title if they win against the New York Giants. A shock defeat would give the Dallas Cowboys the opportunity to atone for last week's loss in Philadelphia and reach the postseason ahead of them by beating the Washington Redskins.

Using data from Stats Perform, we take a closer look at all the Week 17 fixtures.

SUNDAY (all times Eastern)

Chargers (5-10) at Chiefs (11-4) 1pm

- The Chiefs have won 10 of the last 11 meetings with the Chargers, but the last time these teams met at Arrowhead Stadium, 2018 Week 15, the Los Angeles triumphed 29-28.

- With Keenan Allen at 1,117 receiving yards and Mike Williams (963) and Austin Ekeler (950) within striking distance of 1000 receiving yards, the Chargers have a realistic chance of becoming the sixth team in NFL history with three players with 1,000+ yards receiving.

- The Chargers have already suffered their third 10+ loss season in the last five years, after going 11 seasons (from 2004-14) without a single 10-loss season.

 

Bears (7-8) at Vikings (10-5) 1pm

- The Bears have won three successive games against the Vikings, their longest streak since winning six straight over Minnesota from 2009-12.

- Entering 2019, Kirk Cousins had four straight seasons of at least 4000 passing yards, trailing only Matt Ryan and Philip Rivers for the longest active streaks in the NFL. Cousins needs 397 passing yards for a 4000-yard season in 2019, something he's never done in a home game in his career.

- Minnesota's 139 total net yards against the Packers last week were the fourth-fewest by any team in any game this season – only the Jets (twice) and Broncos have had fewer.

 

Jets (6-9) at Bills (10-5) 1pm

- Josh Allen has accounted for 29 total touchdowns this season (20 passing, nine rushing). Jim Kelly in 1991 is the only Buffalo player ever to account for at least 30 total touchdowns in a season (33 passing, one rushing).

- The Bills are 5-2 at home versus the Jets since 2012, with a +81 point differential over these seven games.

- The Jets have the second-fewest rushing yards in the NFL and have allowed the second-fewest rushing yards. They would be the first team since the 1954 Eagles to rank bottom two and top two in rushing yards and opponent rushing yards, respectively.

 

Saints (12-3) at Panthers (5-10) 1pm

- The Saints defeated the Panthers at home in Week 12. New Orleans have also won the last two meetings in Carolina.

- New Orleans have never had back-to-back 13+ win seasons and the 25 wins over the past two seasons are already the most by the Saints in a two-season span all-time.

- Having won the division title for the third straight season, the Saints have tied the longest NFC South title streak that was set by the Panthers from 2013 to 2015.

 

Browns (6-9) at Bengals (1-14) 1pm

- The Browns' home win over the Bengals in Week 14 was a third straight win over their in-state rivals. Cleveland have not managed four consecutive wins over Cincinnati since a seven-game streak from 1992 to 1995.

- Cleveland were eliminated from playoff contention with a loss to the Ravens. Their streak of 17 seasons without a playoff berth is tied for the fifth-longest in NFL history.

- The Bengals locked up the first pick in the 2020 NFL draft after a 38-35 overtime loss to the Dolphins in Miami last week. Cincinnati has drafted first overall three times in its history, taking defensive tackle Dan Wilkinson in 1994, running back Ki-Jana Carter in 1995 and quarterback Carson Palmer in 2003.

 

Packers (12-3) at Lions (3-11-1) 1pm

- The Packers clinched the division title with their win over the Vikings in Week 16. Green Bay has won the NFC North title six times this decade, the most division titles by any NFC team.

- Davante Adams hauled in 13 receptions for 116 yards in that triumph, bringing his career receiving yards to 5,101.

- Green Bay holds a 99-72-7 advantage in the all-time series against the Lions and could become the third franchise to win 100 games against another franchise.

 

Dolphins (4-11) at Patriots (12-3) 1pm

- New England will be trying to earn a first-round bye for the 10th consecutive season. Since the playoffs expanded to 12 teams in 1990, no other team has earned a first-round bye in more than four straight seasons.

- Tom Brady has 3,836 passing yards this season. If he can reach 4,000 passing yards, it would be the third time he has thrown for 4,000 yards in a season at age 40 or older.

- Ryan Fitzpatrick leads the Dolphins with 228 rushing yards this season. No team has finished a 16-game season without a player having at least 300 rushing yards.

 

Falcons (6-9) at Buccaneers (7-8) 1pm

- Since 2015, the Falcons and Buccaneers have combined for 55.1 points per game against one another, the highest-scoring matchup between divisional opponents in the NFL.

- The Buccaneers rank third in the NFL in points (436) and third-worst in the NFL in points allowed (421).

- The Falcons have 19 touchdowns in the fourth quarter, tied with the Titans for most in the NFL.

 

Cardinals (5-9-1) at Rams (8-7) 4:25pm

- The Rams won 34-7 when these teams met in Week 13 and have outscored the Cardinals 164-32 during their five-game winning streak against Arizona.

- Tyler Higbee had his first career game with at least 100 receiving yards in Week 13 against Arizona, and has now had at least 100 yards in each of the three games since.

- Arizona beat the Seahawks 27-13 in Week 16, their second straight win following six consecutive losses. Both wins came by 14 points – the first time they have won back-to-back games by at least 14 since December 2015.

 

Raiders (7-8) at Broncos (6-9) 4:25pm

- The Broncos have won six of the last seven home games against the Raiders.

- Oakland has gone 17 straight seasons without winning the AFC West, tied for the fourth-longest streak not winning their division.

- The Broncos will finish with a losing record for the third consecutive season, the second-longest streak of losing seasons in franchise history (10 straight from 1963-1972).

 

Redskins (3-12) at Dallas Cowboys (7-8) 4:25pm

- The Cowboys have won six of their last seven over the Redskins, including three straight in Dallas.

- Last week, the Redskins became the third team in the NFL this season to allow 300+ passing yards and 200+ rushing yards in a game.

- Dallas have had at least 400 total net yards in all seven home games. No team since at least 1950 has had eight home games with 400+ total net yards in a season.

 

Titans (8-7) at Texans (10-5) 4:25pm

- Following their 24-21 win at Tennessee two weeks ago, the Texans look to secure the first season sweep by either team since 2015, and to square the all-time series at 18 wins each.

- The Texans clinched their second straight AFC South title with a 23-20 win at Tampa Bay – Houston's fifth victory this season by three points or fewer.

- Houston quarterback Deshaun Watson did not throw a touchdown pass last week; his season total sits at 26, matching the number he threw one season ago.

 

Steelers (8-7) at Ravens (13-2) 4:25pm

- Since John Harbaugh became head coach in 2008, the Ravens are 12-11 against the Steelers, and 14 of the 23 meetings have been decided by three points or fewer.

- Pittsburgh has lost back-to-back games after winning seven of its previous eight games. The Steelers have failed to score a fourth-quarter touchdown in eight straight games.

- The Ravens have clinched home-field advantage throughout the AFC playoffs, and they have tied a franchise record with 13 wins.

 

Colts (7-8) at Jaguars (5-10) 4:25pm

- Jacksonville have won four straight home games against Indianapolis, tied for its third-longest home winning streak against any opponent in the team's history.

- The Jaguars lead the NFL with a 96.8 field-goal percentage this season (30-for-31), all attempted by Josh Lambo.

- Chris Conley had 56 receiving yards and a touchdown catch in Jacksonville's Week 16 loss to the Falcons, his third touchdown reception in the last two games.

 

Eagles (8-7) at Giants (4-11) 4:25pm

- The Eagles got a 23-17 overtime win at home when these teams met in Week 14, their sixth straight win over the Giants and 10th in the last 11.

- Philadelphia has converted 57.1 percent of its red zone third downs this season, the highest mark in the league.

- The Eagles' six-game winning streak is tied for their second-longest all-time against New York – they won 12 straight between 1975 and 1981.


49ers (12-3) at Seahawks (11-4) 8:20pm

- Seattle got a 27-24 overtime win in San Francisco when these teams met in Week 10. Including their win in the 2014 NFC Championship Game, the Seahawks have won 13 of their last 15 games against the 49ers.

- Indeed, San Francisco have not won in Seattle since Week 16 in 2011.

- The 49ers beat the Rams on Saturday, reaching 12 wins for the first time since 2013. With another victory, they will clinch the NFC's top seed for the first time since 1997.

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