The Seahawks took a big step closer to an NFC West title and a first round bye Sunday night with an upset win over the New England Patriots in Foxborough, 31-24. They helped themselves, and got help from others around the league.
Let's start in the NFC West. The Arizona Cardinals beat the San Francisco 49ers on a field goal as time expired, 23-20. The 49ers continue their run toward a possible No. 1 draft pick next year.
For the second time this season, the L.A. Rams won after scoring less than ten points. They beat the New York Jets. 9-6. There were were as many punts as points -- 15.
Here are the updated NFC West Standings:
Teams directly behind the Seahawks in NFC standings lost. But Seattle didn't get the help they needed most -- from the team in front of them.
The Dallas Cowboys won their eighth in a row, beating the Pittsburgh Steelers 35-30. The Steelers scored with 42 seconds left to take a 30-29 lead, but the Cowboys went 75 yards in 33 seconds to win the game on Ezekiel Elliott's 32-yard run.
The NFC South-leading Atlanta Falcons lost to the Philadelphia Eagles 24-15, and the NFC North-leading Minnesota Vikings fell to the Washington Redskins 26-20. It's the fourth-straight loss for Minnesota.
The Green Bay Packers couldn't take advantage of Minnesota's misfortunes, losing 47-25 to the Tennessee Titans.
The NFC Champion Carolina Panthers lost to the Kansas City Chiefs 20-17 after Panthers receiver Kelvin Benjamin fumbled on his team's final drive, setting up Kansas City's game-winning field goal.
The New Orleans Saints lost 25-23 to the Denver Broncos in the most bizarre finish of the day. The Saints tied the game with 1:22 to play. But on the extra point, Broncos safety Justin Simmons did his best Kam Chancellor / Bobby Wagner impersonation by leaping over the line and blocking the kick. Safety Will Parks ran the ball back for two points to give the Broncos to win, although we'll never know for certain if he stepped out of bounds on the return. Replays could not show conclusively if his white shoes stepped on the white sideline.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers were the only team in the NFC South to win Sunday, beating the Chicago Bears 36-10.
The New York Giants will play Monday night against the Cincinnati Bengals. The Detroit Lions were on their bye week.
Here are the updated playoff standings if the postseason started today (Positions 5 and 6 may change depending on outcome of Monday night's game):
1. Cowboys 8-1 (NFC East Leader; Home field advantage)
2. Seahawks 6-2-1 (NFC West Leader; 1st Round Bye)
3. Falcons 6-4 (NFC South Leader; host Wild Card game)
4. Lions 5-4 (NFC North Leader; host Wild Card game)
5. Giants 5-3 (Wild Card; at Lions)
6. Redskins 5-3-1 (Wild Card; at Falcons)
7. Eagles 5-4
8. Vikings 5-4
9. Cardinals 4-4-1
10. Buccaneers 4-5
11. Saints 4-5
12. Packers 4-5
13. Rams 4-5
14. Panthers 3-6
15. Bears 2-7
16. 49ers 1-8
Seven weeks to go!
Copyright 2016 KING