Giants claim NFC East title

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Eli Manning threw three touchdown passes and the New York Giants won an all-or-nothing game to claim the final spot in the NFL playoffs, beating the Dallas Cowboys 31-14 on Sunday night.

New York Giants' Ahmad Bradshaw escapes a tackle by Dallas' Sean Lee to score on a 10-yard touchdown pass in the first half of the Giants' win over the Cowboys.  BILL KOSTROUN/ASSOCIATED PRESS
BILL KOSTROUN/ASSOCIATED PRESS
New York Giants' Ahmad Bradshaw escapes a tackle by Dallas' Sean Lee to score on a 10-yard touchdown pass in the first half of the Giants' win over the Cowboys.

The regular season went down to the last game, and it was coach Tom Coughlin’s Giants (9-7) who won the NFC East and returned to the postseason for the first time since 2008.

The loss left the Cowboys (8-8) out of the playoffs for the second consecutive year.

New York earned a wild-card home game next Sunday against the Atlanta Falcons (10-6).

Even without any Tim Tebow heroics, the Denver Broncos won the AFC West.

They did it despite falling 7-3 to the Kansas City Chiefs on Sunday because San Diego knocked off Oakland 38-26. The Broncos and Raiders tied for the division lead at 8-8, but Denver won on the tiebreaker, better results in common games.

Baltimore (12-4) took the AFC North and a first-round bye as a No. 2 seed when it outlasted Cincinnati 24-16. Even though the Bengals lost, their 9-7 record earned them a wild card in a head-to-head tiebreaker over Tennessee.

Pittsburgh (12-4) is the other wild-card. The Steelers, who beat Cleveland 13-9, will be at Denver next weekend. Cincinnati visits Houston (10-6).

The Patriots (13-3) earned the right to stay at home throughout the AFC playoffs after a 49-21 victory over Buffalo, which led 21-0.

San Francisco (13-3), under first-year coach Jim Harbaugh, the 49ers will be the No. 2 seed in the NFC behind Green Bay (15-1) after a 34-27 win at St. Louis.

New Orleans (13-3) is seeded third after a 45-17 win over Carolina.

The Saints will play host to Detroit (10-6), which lost at Green Bay 45-41.

WILD-CARD PLAYOFFS

Saturday

• Cincinnati (9-7) at Houston (10-6), 4:30 p.m.

• Detroit (10-6) at New Orleans (13-3), 8

Sunday

• Atlanta (10-6) at New York (9-7), 1 p.m.

• Pittsburgh (12-4) at Denver (8-8), 4:30


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