Titans seal NFL playoffs bye with victory

AAPPress Association
Tennessee wide receiver Julio Jones (R) celebrates his touchdown in the win over Houston.
Camera IconTennessee wide receiver Julio Jones (R) celebrates his touchdown in the win over Houston. Credit: AP

The AFC playoffs will be running through Music City, and the Tennessee Titans should have Derrick Henry back for their first game this postseason.

Tennessee (12-5) clinched their first No.1 seed since 2008 and third overall. They needed only a win on Sunday, though they made it interesting before holding off the Houston Texans 28-25 to clinch the AFC's top spot.

"We understand we're in the Elite Eight," Titans coach Mike Vrabel said.

"We've moved onto the second round of the playoffs without having to play a playoff game."

This postseason will feature seven teams who missed the playoffs last season: Arizona, Cincinnati, Dallas, New England, Philadelphia, San Francisco and the Las Vegas Raiders, who clinched their berth in the regular season's final game. It wound up a 35-32 overtime thriller over the Los Angeles Chargers when a tie would've put both in.

"We knew no matter what we didn't want a tie," Raiders quarterback Derek Carr said.

"We wanted to win the football game."

The Chiefs (12-5) needed Tennessee to lose to clinch the AFC's top seed. The Titans' win locked Kansas City in the No.2 seed and will host the Pittsburgh Steelers in the wildcard round.

Only the Green Bay Packers had their playoff seeding set as the NFC's No.1 seed going into the final week of the NFL regular season.

The Indianapolis Colts only needed to beat Jacksonville to reach the playoffs but instead blew a wildcard berth by losing to the Jaguars 26-11.

Ben Roethlisberger will play at least one more game after Daniel Carlson ended the possibility of a chaotic tie in Las Vegas. The Steelers beat Baltimore 16-13 in overtime to clinch the No.7 seed.

"I'm just happy for Ben," Steelers kicker Chris Boswell said.

"We're sending him to the playoffs. This team deserves it."

The fifth-seeded Raiders (10-7) will visit No.4 seed Cincinnati (10-7) in the first game of the wildcard round despite the AFC North champion Bengals losing 21-16 to the Cleveland Browns.

The Buffalo Bills (11-6) clinched their second straight AFC East title and the No.3 seed by beating the New York Jets 27-10 and will host the sixth-seeded Patriots (10-7), who lost 33-24 to the Miami Dolphins.

In the NFC, the defending Super Bowl champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers (13-4) clinched the No.2 seed by downing the Carolina Panthers 41-17, and will host Philadelphia (9-8) in a wildcard contest.

Third-seeded Dallas will host No.6 seed San Francisco (10-7) in another wildcard clash after the 49ers beat the LA Rams 27-24 in overtime to earn their playoff berth.

The Rams (12-5) won their third NFC West title in five seasons when Arizona lost 38-30 to the Seattle Seahawks, and will host the fifth-seeded Cardinals (11-6) in the wildcard round.

With AP.

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