Bears miss chance to clinch NFC North title.
It’s Week 16 in the NFL and it was another enthralling weekend of action as the playoff picture continues to get become clearer with a number of teams learning their fate.
Perhaps the most entertaining conclusion was seen in the NFC North, where the Detroit Lions were defeated by the New York Giants and as a result saw their playoff hopes come to an end.
A late-season collapse saw the Lions fall from potential division winners and coach Jim Schwartz is now reportedly facing uncertainty over his future with the franchise.
The Lions dropped to 7-8 for the season after losing five of their last six games and blowing fourth-quarter leads in each setback. Meanwhile, the Green Bay Packers were also undone by the Pittsburgh Steelers, although they remain in the hunt after the Bears were crushed by the Philadelphia Eagles.
Chicago fell to a heavy 54-11 loss as they entered the game knowing that victory would secure their playoff place, but nerves perhaps got the best of them as they will now face a winner takes all clash with the Packers next weekend.
Elsewhere, Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning regained his record of touchdown passes in one season by throwing his 51st of the campaign and simultaneously helped his team to a third straight AFC West title.
Manning surpassed the 50 TD passes thrown by Tom Brady in 2007, and led the Broncos (12-3) to a 37-13 win over the Houston Texans.
“I think it’s a unique thing and a neat thing to be a part of NFL history, even though it may be temporary,” he said, according to ESPN.
“So I’m going to enjoy it as long as it lasts, and hopefully the Hall of Fame will send the ball back once somebody throws for more.”
Meanwhile, it is all to play for the NFC East as the Dallas Cowboys set up a showdown encounter with rivals the Eagles next week after securing a much needed win over the Washington Redskins.
Tony Romo threw a late touchdown pass to help seal the result, and it sets up an intriguing conclusion to the season.
There were also shocks on Sunday as the Arizona Cardinals ended the Seattle Seahawks unbeaten home record with a 17-10 win at CenturyLink Field.
Miami Dolphins 0-19 Buffalo Bills
Minnesota Vikings 14-42 Cincinnati Bengals
Indianapolis Colts 23-7 Kansas City Chiefs
Tampa Bay Buccaneers 13-23 St. Louis Rams
Cleveland Browns 13-24 New York Jets
Dallas Cowboys 24-23 Washington Redskins
New Orleans Saints 13-17 Carolina Panthers
Tennessee Titans 20-16 Jacksonville Jaguars
Denver Broncos 37-13 Houston Texans
New York Giants 23-20 Detroit Lions
Arizona Cardinals 17-20 Seattle Seahawks
PIttsburgh Steelers 38-31 Green Bay Packers
Oakland Raiders 13-26 San Diego Chargers
New England Patroits 41-7 Baltimore Ravens
Chicago Bears 11-54 Philadelphia Eagles
— NFL (@nfl) December 23, 2013