DEFENDING NFL CHAMPIONS the New York Giants failed to make to the playoffs despite winning last night, while the Washington Redskins advanced.
Needing to beat Philadelphia on the final day of the regular season and hope the Detroit Lions got the better of the Chicago Bears, the Giants did what they had to do by smashing the Eagles 42-7.
Giants quarterback Eli Manning finished with 13 for 21 for 208 yards but it was not enough as the Bears defeated the Lions 26-24 in Detroit. At FedEx Field, the Redskins upstaged the Dallas Cowboys 28-18 to win the NFC East title, their first since 1999.
With both teams knowing a win would see them through to the playoffs, it was the Redskins who progressed thanks to a seventh successive triumph.
In other results, the Minnesota Vikings edged NFC North champions the Green Bay Packers 37-34 to seal a wildcard spot and the Seattle Seahawks got their hands on the remaining wildcard after accounting for the St Louis Rams 20-13.
NFC top seeds the Atlanta Falcons were beaten 22-17 by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, who were already out of playoff contention, while the Carolina Panthers capped the season with an entertaining 44-38 success over the New Orleans Saints.
Meanwhile, the Denver Broncos sealed the number one seed in the AFC after dismantling the hapless Kansas City Chiefs 38-3. Peyton Manning was the star of the show, throwing for 304 yards and three touchdowns as the Broncos won their 11th successive game and secured home field advantage in the play-offs.
The Colts claimed a wildcard berth into the playoffs following their 28-16 victory over AFC South winners the Houston Texans, who had already booked a place in the post-season festivities. Joining the Colts in the playoffs are the Cincinnati Bengals, who took the remaining wildcard spot with a 23-17 triumph against AFC North champions the Baltimore Ravens.
Elsewhere, AFC North winners the New England Patriots made light work of the Miami Dolphins, recording a straightforward 28-0 win as Tom Brady threw two touchdown passes, while the Buffalo Bills ran out 28-9 winners against the New York Jets.
NFC West winners San Francisco defeated the Arizona Cardinals 27-13, while the Pittsburgh Steelers edged the Cleveland Browns 24-10, the Tennessee Titans ended a disappointing season with a comfortable 38-20 win against the lowly Jacksonville Jaguars, and the Oakland Raiders fell to a 24-21 defeat at the hands of the San Diego Chargers.