NFL: Patriots and Cowboys claim division titles, playoff spots


Dec 23, 2018; Foxborough, MA, USA; New England Patriots defensive tackle Malcom Brown (90) celebrates with defensive end Trey Flowers (98) after recover a fumble during the second half against the Buffalo Bills at Gillette Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports

(Reuters) – The New England Patriots and Dallas Cowboys are headed to the NFL playoffs after victories in early games on the penultimate Sunday of the regular season.

The five-time Super Bowl champion Patriots (10-5) wrapped up their 10th consecutive American Football Conference (AFC) East title with a 24-12 win over the Buffalo Bills.

The Cowboys (9-6) claimed the National Football Conference (NFC) East crown by turning back the Tampa Bay Buccaneers 27-20.

The reigning Super Bowl champion Philadelphia Eagles (8-7) kept their slim playoff hopes alive by upsetting the Houston Texans 32-30 on a 35-yard field goal as time expired.

Three teams had clinched divisional titles before Sunday’s games – Chicago Bears (NFC North), New Orleans Saints (NFC South) and Los Angeles Rams (NFC West) – with two more assured of playoff spots – the Kansas City Chiefs and Los Angeles Chargers,

The playoffs begin on Jan. 5 with the Super Bowl set for Feb. 3 in Atlanta.

Reporting by Gene Cherry in Raleigh, North Carolina, editing by Pritha Sarkar

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