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Defending champion Ravens eliminated from playoff contention

Baltimore Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco (5) is helped up by guard Marshal Yanda (73) after being hit in the end zone in the first half of an NFL football game against the Cincinnati Bengals, Sunday, Dec. 29, 2013, in Cincinnati. (AP Photo/David Kohl)
December 29, 2013 - 5:38 PM

The defending NFL champion Baltimore Ravens will be at home for the playoffs.

So will the Miami Dolphins, putting the Pittsburgh Steelers in position to sneak off with the final AFC wild-card berth Sunday. But only if San Diego loses a late game to Kansas City, which already has earned a wild card and was resting many starters.

AFC North winner Cincinnati beat Baltimore 34-17, ensuring the Ravens (8-8) were eliminated once Pittsburgh (8-8) defeated Cleveland 20-7. Miami (8-8) lost to the New York Jets 20-7, putting the Steelers — who began the season 0-4 — in position to advance if San Diego (8-7) slips up at home.

The Chiefs are the AFC's fifth seed.

Carolina (12-4) won the NFC South and a first-round playoff bye with a 21-20 victory at Atlanta. That meant New Orleans would get the final NFC wild card with a win at home against Tampa Bay.

Already in the NFC playoffs were San Francisco, which was at Arizona on Sunday, and Seattle, which was hosting St. Louis. The Seahawks would earn the top NFC seed with a win.

The Packers were at the Bears to decide the NFC North, and the Eagles visited the Cowboys at night for the NFC East crown.

New England, Denver and Indianapolis already owned AFC playoff slots. The Colts, winners of the AFC South, beat Jacksonville 30-10 to finish 11-5.

A Denver win at Oakland would give the Broncos the top seed in the AFC.

Baltimore made the playoffs in each of coach John Harbaugh and quarterback Joe Flacco's first five seasons. They took the AFC North title last season on the way to beating the 49ers in the Super Bowl.


AP NFL website:

News from © The Associated Press, 2013
The Associated Press

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