GREEN BAY, Wisconsin — The NFL’s regular season came to its climax on Sunday as Minnesota clinched the NFC North title with a win at Green Bay and Denver wrapped up the top seed in the AFC playoffs while the New York Jets ruined their own playoff hopes with a loss against Buffalo.
Minnesota’s Adrian Peterson ran for a touchdown and cornerback Captain Munnerlyn returned a fumble 55 yards for a score as the Vikings won 20-13 at Green Bay to secure their first division title since 2009.
The Vikings will host the Seattle Seahawks in a wild-card playoff game next weekend while the Packers will travel to Washington after watching their four-year reign atop the NFC North end.
Minnesota hung on despite a shaky finish. The defense knocked away a desperation pass to the end zone from Aaron Rodgers as time expired.
Denver’s veteran quarterback Peyton Manning replaced Brock Osweiler in the third quarter and led the Broncos to a 27-20 victory over San Diego that clinched the top seed in the AFC.
The Broncos were facing the possibility of tumbling into the wild-card round because of Kansas City’s win over Oakland, but Manning came to the rescue.
The Chargers wrapped up what might have been their final season in San Diego as ownership tries to move the team to Los Angeles.
New York Jets quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick threw interceptions on each of his team’s final three drives, triggering a 22-17 loss to Buffalo, destroying the Jets’ playoff hopes.
The Jets would have made the postseason for the first time since 2010 with a win, but the defeat combined with Pittsburgh’s win at Cleveland ended those hopes.
New York had a five-game winning streak stopped, and the loss came against former Jets coach Rex Ryan — fired by New York and hired by the Bills.
Pittsburgh advanced at the Jets’ expense after winning 28-12 at Cleveland.
Ben Roethlisberger threw three touchdown passes and Pittsburgh’s defense dominated to secure a place in the wild-card round at Cincinnati next weekend.
Shortly after the defeat, the Browns fired coach Mike Pettine and general manager Ray Farmer following a 3-13 season.
New England missed a chance to clinch the top seed in the AFC with a 20-10 loss at Miami.
Tom Brady was sacked twice and knocked down at least half a dozen times, and watched the final drive from the sidelines as the Patriots saved him for the playoffs.
New England ends up as a No. 2 seed behind Denver.
Houston secured the AFC South title with a 30-6 victory over Jacksonville.
J.J. Watt — who had three sacks — and Whitney Mercilus led the defense and Jonathan Grimes scored with a pass reception and a rush as the Texans got on top early.
Houston will host Kansas City next weekend in the a wild-card game.
Cincinnati beat Baltimore 24-16 to notch its 12th win of the season and match a franchise record.