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Broncos have a chance to get No. 1 seed

Posted at 10:23 AM, Jan 03, 2016
and last updated 2016-01-03 17:09:31-05

The latest from NFL games on the 17th Sunday of the regular season (all times EST):

4:15

The road to the Super Bowl in the AFC is up for grabs.

The Patriots lost their hold on the No. 1 seed by losing 20-10 at Miami. The Broncos now can secure the top spot and home-field advantage throughout the playoffs with a win over San Diego.

If the Broncos lose to the Chargers, they would drop to a wild-card spot if the Chiefs beat the Raiders.

New England still has a first-round bye and at least one playoff game at Foxborough.

The Bengals have big interest in the outcome of the Broncos-Chargers game. Cincinnati earns a first-round bye if the Broncos lose. If not, the Bengals would be the No. 3 seed and play home next weekend.

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4:12 p.m.

Rex Ryan and the Buffalo Bills knocked the New York Jets out of the playoffs.

The Bills beat the Jets 22-17, allowing the Steelers to clinch the final AFC wild-card spot with a 28-12 win at Cleveland.

The Jets, Ryan's former team, entered the game in control of their playoff hopes. They needed a win to get in.

When New York's Ryan Fitzpatrick threw an interception in the final seconds at Buffalo, Steelers fans in Cleveland started waving their yellow towels and players congratulated each other on the sideline.

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3:28 p.m.

New York Jets wide receivers Brandon Marshall and Eric Decker each scored touchdowns against Buffalo on Sunday, extending their NFL record for most games each recording a receiving touchdown. The duo has now scored in nine games this season, two more times than previous record holders Cris Carter and Randy Moss of Minnesota, who scored in seven games during the 1998 season

Earlier in the second half, the Jets lost star defensive tackle Muhammad Wilkerson to a right ankle injury. Wilkerson had tears in his eyes while being carted off.

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2:39 p.m.

Terrelle Pryor's first NFL catch as a wide receiver was an impressive one.

The former Oakland quarterback, who changed positions to prolong his pro career, hauled in a 42-yard reception from Browns quarterback Austin Davis late in the first half on Sunday against Pittsburgh.

With cornerback Antwon Blake in coverage, the 6-foot-4, 225-pound Pryor made a leaping grab down the sideline to help set up Travis Coons' 33-yard field goal. Pryor was released at the end of training camp by the Browns, who signed him following a rash of injuries at the position.

It was Pryor's second career grab. He made one as a quarterback with the Raiders.

-Tom Withers reporting from Cleveland.

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2:31 p.m.

The New England Patriots were on the run at Miami in the first half, when Tom Brady threw only five passes, the lowest halftime total in any game he has started, according to STATS.

Already assured of a first-round bye, the Patriots were eager for Brady to avoid injury. They held the ball for 16:24, rushing 21 times for 62 yards. Brady targeted five different receivers, completing four passes for 20 yards.

Brady tweaked his left ankle and was examined on the sideline after getting rolled but didn't miss a snap.

The Dolphins led 10-3 at halftime. Miami's Andrew Franks (46 yards) and New England's Stephen Gostkowski (46 yards) both missed field-goal tries.

The Patriots clinch the No. 1 seed with a win or Denver loss.

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2:11 p.m.

Colts kicker Adam Vinatieri and Titans tight end Delanie Walker hit milestone numbers.

Vinatieri extended his own NFL record with a 52-yard field goal in the second quarter, becoming the only player to score 100 or more points in 18 consecutive seasons.

Walker became just the ninth tight end to catch 90 or more passes in a season. Walker also is the first tight end in team history to go over 1,000 yards receiving.

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2:10 p.m.

Bills running back Karlos Williams surpassed 500 yards before injuring his knee on a 2-yard TD run, giving the Bills three players with more than 500 yards rushing in the same season for the first time since 1962.

Williams joins LeSean McCoy (895) and Tyrod Taylor (535). In 1962, Cookie Gilchrist (1,096), Wayne Crow (589) and Wray Carlton (530) all reached the 500-yard mark.

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1:54 p.m.

Steelers running back DeAngelo Williams has been helped from the field with a lower leg injury.

Williams did not put any weight on his right leg as he was assisted to the sideline. He was then placed in the front seats of a cart and driven to the locker room for further evaluation.

Williams broke off a 6-yard run on the left side before he was tackled by Browns lineman John Hughes, who appeared to roll on the back of his leg.

The Steelers need to beat the Browns and hope Buffalo can beat the New York Jets to make the playoffs. Williams has been starting since the Steelers lost star running back Le'Veon Bell with a torn knee ligament in November.

-Tom Withers reporting from Cleveland.

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1:51 p.m.

Kirk Cousins isn't slowing down in a meaningless finale for the playoff-bound Washington Redskins.

Already the first Washington quarterback to throw for at least 300 yards with at least four touchdowns and no interceptions in consecutive games, Cousins threw three scoring passes in the first quarter against Dallas on Sunday.

The first scoring toss, a 5-yarder to Ryan Grant, made Cousins the first Redskins quarterback to throw for a touchdown in all 16 regular-season games. Cousins also had a 39-yarder to Pierre Garcon and a 3-yarder to Jamison Crowder.

Washington clinched the NFC East title last week. The Cowboys, who came in at 4-11, are on their way to their most losses since going 1-15 in 1989, the year owner and general manager Jerry Jones bought the team.

-Schuyler Dixon reporting from Arlington, Texas.

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1:22 p.m.

Antonio Brown has his hands on an NFL record.

Brown became the first player in league history to have 125 catches in two straight seasons. Brown entered Sunday's game with 123 receptions, and quickly grabbed a couple passes from Ben Roethlisberger early in the first quarter against the Browns.

The Pro Bowl receiver also passed his club record for yards receiving in a season and is trying to lead the league in both catches and yards.

Brown had 129 catches for 1,698 yards in 2014. Before he caught his 125th pass, Brown fumbled following a 13-yard reception.

-Tom Withers reporting from Cleveland.

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1:05 p.m.

Giants coach Tom Coughlin posed for a pre-game photo with his entire family, including 11 grandchildren wearing "Coughlin's Crew" sweatshirts.

Coughlin could be coaching his last game with the Giants after 12 seasons and two Super Bowl championships. New York missed the playoffs for the fourth straight season after beating New England in the Super Bowl.

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1 p.m.

Meet your backup quarterback, Peyton Manning.

Brock Osweiler is getting his seventh straight start when the Broncos try to wrap up a fifth consecutive AFC West title and a first-round bye in the playoffs.

Kickoff against the Chargers is at 4:25. Manning will be suited up for the first time since Nov. 15, when a left foot injury thrust his understudy into the starting job.

This marks Manning's first game as a backup since his freshman year at Tennessee.

On Sept. 24, 1994, Manning replaced an injured Todd Helton in a game against Mississippi State.

So, he went 7,771 days between backup roles.

-Arnie Stapleton reporting from Denver.

-- Previous article --

The Denver Broncos have already secured a spot in the playoffs, but the team needs a win over the San Diego Chargers to get a bye week during the playoffs.

Home-field advantage has yet to be clinched in either conference.

Here's a look at the breakdowns in each conference:

AFC

BREAK TIME: New England is already assured of having the first weekend off. The Patriots can wrap up home field advantage with a win over Miami or a Denver loss to San Diego.

The Broncos tweeted a good luck message to Miami Sunday.

Denver needs just a win over the Chargers to get a bye, while Cincinnati needs a win over the Ravens and a Broncos loss to earn a No. 2 seed.

WILD WILD CARD: Pittsburgh's flop in Week 16 losing to Baltimore left the Steelers needing some help. The Jets are in with a win in Buffalo, but a loss and the Steelers can swoop in and claim the No. 6 seed with a victory over the Browns.

DON'T FORGET US: Anyone talking at all about Kansas City? The Chiefs have won nine straight and still have an outside shot of winning the AFC West. Kansas City must beat Oakland and have the Broncos lose to the Chargers. While that would get Kansas City the division title, it won't get them a first-round bye.

SOUTH BY DEFAULT: OK. Can the Texans simply just win? That is the cleanest, easiest route to figuring out the AFC South champion. Houston wins and it hosts the No. 5 seed in the wild card round. But if the Texans lose and Indianapolis can beat Tennessee then it gets really messy. The Colts would then need Atlanta, Baltimore, Buffalo, Denver and Miami to win, and Oakland and Pittsburgh to win or tie - but both not tie - to edge out the Texans on strength of schedule tiebreaker.

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NFC

REST TIME: Carolina and Arizona have already earned byes. But the Panthers loss last week against Atlanta left open the chance of Arizona earning home-field advantage. The Cardinals need to beat Seattle and have the Panthers lose to Tampa Bay and the path to the Super Bowl would go through Glendale.

NFC FROZEN: The NFC North will be decided late on Sunday night when the temperatures in Green Bay are expected to dip into the teens for the Packers and Vikings. The winner gets the No. 3 seed in the conference. The loser will be a wild card and face a road-heavy slate to get through the postseason.

After starting 6-0 the Packers are 4-5 down the stretch, including last week's 38-8 drubbing by Arizona. But Green Bay was on a three-game losing streak when it routed the Vikings 30-13 in Minnesota in Week 11.

FILING A FLIGHT PLAN: Seattle has the most uncertainty of where it's headed going into the final day with the chance of ending up in Minnesota, Green Bay or Washington. The Seahawks were in line for the No. 5 seed before stumbling last week at home against St. Louis. Beating Arizona won't guarantee Seattle the No. 5 seed because if Minnesota beats Green Bay, the Packers have the tiebreaker over the Seahawks. No matter the Seahawks outcome in Arizona, they'll likely be back in Seattle late Sunday night before knowing where they're headed to open the playoffs.