NFL Week 16 Blitz Read: Cowboys, Patriots win divisions; Saints clinch No. 1 seed in NFC playoffs

NFL Week 16 Blitz Read: Cowboys, Patriots win divisions; Saints clinch No. 1 seed in NFC playoffs

The Cowboys and Patriots clinched their divisions Sunday with victories, while the Saints wrapped up the No. 1 seed in the NFC with a win that jeopardizes the Steelers’ postseason hopes.

In Dallas, the Cowboys (9-6) held off the Buccaneers, 27-20, to win the NFC East title, their third in the past five seasons. Quarterback Dak Prescott had an efficient if unspectacular outing, completing 20-of-25 passes for 161 yards and a touchdown. Ezekiel Elliott added 85 yards on the ground as Dallas won for the sixth time in seven games.

The Patriots (10-5) took care of the Bills 24-12 in Foxborough to wrap up their 10th straight  AFC East championship. Sony Michel had a big day on the ground (18 carries for 116 yards and a touchdown), which is a good thing, because Tom Brady passed for only 126 yards and was picked off twice.

In New Orleans, the Saints (13-2)  wrapped up the No. 1 seed in the NFC playoffs with a 31-28 win over the Steelers. New Orleans forced a fumble by JuJu Smith-Schuster in the final minute to put the game away. Drew Brees passed for 326 yards.

The loss dealt a terrible blow to the 8-6-1 Steelers’ playoff hopes. Pittsburgh could have clinched the AFC North with a victory, but now, the Ravens will win the division if they beat the Browns at home next week. The Steelers could still make the playoffs with a win over the Bengals, but it would take a tie between the Colts and Titans next week.

Elsewhere, the Texans had a chance to wrap up the AFC South, but the Eagles shot down those plans with a 32-30 victory in Philadelphia on Jake Elliott’s field goal as time expired. That win keeps the Eagles’ playoff hopes alive. The Texans can still win their division with a win next week against the Jaguars, but the Colts and Titans, who play each other in Week 17, are still alive in race. The Texans did clinch a playoff spot, though, thanks to Pittsburgh’s loss.

In the Sunday night game, the Seahawks defeated the Chiefs, 38-31, to clinch an NFC wild-card playoff spot.

Injury report

— Bengals linebacker Vontaze Burfict left the game in the first half with a concussion. Browns cornerback Denzel Ward is in the concussion protocol after getting hurt in the fourth quarter.

— Bucs wide receiver DeSean Jackson left in the second half with a foot injury.

— Bears WR Allen Robinson was injured making a diving catch of a 43-yard pass in the first quarter against the 49ers.

— Colts tight end Eric Ebron left in the first half with a concussion, and center Ryan Kelly went out early with a neck injury.

— Receiver Cordarrelle Patterson left the Patriots game against Buffalo with a knee injury.

By the numbers

Tom Brady passed the 4,000-yard plateau Sunday, making him only the fourth QB in NFL history to top that mark in at least 10 seasons. Peyton Manning, Drew Brees and Philip Rivers are the other three.

Christian McCaffrey caught 12 passes against the Falcons, giving him 106 receptions this year, a single-season record for running backs. Chicago’s Matt Forte had set the previous mark (102) in 2014. McCaffrey also broke the Panthers’ single-season receptions record of 103, set by Steve Smith in 2005.

JuJu Smith-Schuster (106 catches in 2018) and Antonio Brown (104 catches) are the first Steelers teammates to top 100 receptions in the same year.


Aaron Rodgers and Davante Adams call game in OT.

Fifteen seasons in the NFL and Larry Fitzgerald had never thrown a touchdown pass … until Sunday.

Malik Hooker seals the Colts’ win with a pick.

Jarvis Landry looks like a quarterback with this 63-yard bomb.

Deshaun Watson to Vyncint Smith, great throw, maybe a better catch. 

Nick Foles heaves the ball almost 60 yards down field to Nelson Agholor, who trots into the end zone.

Jake Elliott nails the game winner against the Texans as the clock expires to keep the Eagles alive in the playoff chase.

Big Ben and AB hook up once again.

Russell Wilson knows how to put some air under the ball and find a receiver.

Alvin Kamara shows once again he’s more than just fast, he’s powerful.

With Todd Gurley out, the Rams get creative with this 4-yard handoff to Robert Woods for the score.


Odell Beckham Jr. tweeted out condolences to Steelers receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster, whose last-minute fumble ended a possible game-tying or winning drive against the Saints. “Head High killa! These moments make u… never break u! The ultimate measures of a man is not where he stands at moments of comfort n convenience but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.”

Jets coach Todd Bowles ripped the officiating after his team’s overtime loss to Green Bay. “I thought we were playing two teams … the Packers and the striped shirts.”

Dak Prescott downplayed the fact Dallas gained only 232 total yards against the Bucs’ 28th-ranked defense in its victory. “We won the game. At the end of the day if you won the game, you scored more points than they did. That’s all that matters.”

Week 16 NFL scores

Saturday’s games
Titans 25, Redskins 16
Ravens 22, Chargers 10

Sunday’s games
Colts 28, Giants 27
Eagles 32, Texans 30
Jaguars 17, Dolphins 7
Packers 44, Jets 38 (OT)
Browns 26, Bengals 18
Cowboys 27, Buccaneers 20
Vikings 27, Lions 9
Patriots 24, Bills 12
Falcons 24, Panthers 10
Bears 14, 49ers 9
Rams 31, Cardinals 9
Saints 31, Steelers 28
Seahawks 38, Chiefs 31

Monday’s game
Broncos at Raiders, 8:15 p.m.