The Buffalo Bills face an offseason where they must continue to work to find a way to beat Patrick Mahomes after being left sick to their stomach by his incredible late heroics in the NFL Divisional Round.

Buffalo appeared destined to knock off the AFC's dominant power in Kansas City, striking what looked to be the decisive blow when Josh Allen found Gabriel Davis, who reeled in his fourth touchdown catch of the game to set a postseason record, to give the Bills a 36-33 lead with just 13 seconds left as an incredible weekend of playoff matchups saved its most remarkable for last.

Yet 13 seconds proved more than enough time for Mahomes to thwart the Bills again, driving the Chiefs down to the Buffalo 31-yard line to set Harrison Butker up for a 49-yard field goal to force overtime.

And Mahomes then ensured the Bills will be stewing over their inability to close the game out until the start of the 2022 campaign as the Chiefs won the overtime coin toss and sealed victory with an eight-play drive capped by his eight-yard touchdown throw to Travis Kelce, whose superb catch sealed a 42-36 triumph that will go down in NFL folklore.

While Bills fans will understandably want to extinguish the memory of a painful defeat, McDermott, having seen his team defeated by Mahomes and Co. in last year's AFC Championship Game, must now reflect on an astonishing late turnaround and determine how they can stop the quarterback who continues to haunt them.

McDermott said of Mahomes in his post-game media conference: "That's the reality of our situation, and we’ve got to continue to work to beat him.

"Give him the credit. He made a couple plays down the stretch. That’s what great players do. They make big plays in big moments in big games.

"The game came down to, pretty much, 13 seconds. I think they all feel the same way I do; we're all sick to [our] stomach and it hurts. We worked really hard to get here.

"I know the fans are disappointed. I wish I could take that off of them, take it off the team. But we can't."

Asked about the bizarre decision to send the kick-off after Davis' fourth touchdown out of the endzone for a touchback rather than taking time off the clock by kicking it in play, McDermott replied: "We talk about a lot of things. I'm just going to leave it at execution and it starts with me."

Allen, meanwhile, echoed McDermott's sentiments after once again being left to take in the agony of another loss to Mahomes, whose game-winning connection with Kelce marked the fifth and final lead change following the two-minute warning in the fourth quarter.

"It was tough to be in that moment," Allen said. "I have a lot of respect for Pat. He throws a winning touchdown, and he comes straight over and finds me.

"To be in that situation and to do that, that was pretty cool of him. Obviously, it just sucks the way it happened. We wanted to win that game and had our opportunities.

"I was taking it all in and holding on to that feeling and making sure that we don't feel like this again. Back-to-back years in the same spot, it's tough to take in, but it's part of the game; it's part of the learning process.

"We've got to use this and figure out how to be better and how to accomplish what we want to accomplish."

Patrick Mahomes put Sunday's incredible win for the Kansas City Chiefs among his career highlights as he propelled his team to within one victory of a third straight Super Bowl appearance.

A thrilling contest between the Chiefs and the Buffalo Bills was settled in Kansas City's favour when Mahomes found Travis Kelce for a game-winning touchdown in overtime.

The Chiefs have now reached the AFC Championship for the fourth straight season, as they look to go on and replicate their Super Bowl success from two years ago.

Buffalo seemed to have the game tied up in regulation time when Josh Allen picked out Gabriel Davis for a record-breaking fourth touchdown with just 13 seconds left on the clock, making it 36-33 to the Bills.

Yet Mahomes got the Chiefs within field-goal range and Harrison Butker did the rest to send the roller coaster encounter into overtime.

Mahomes – who completed 33 of 44 attempts for 378 yards with three touchdowns as well as getting into the endzone himself for the Chief's first TD – then kept his composure to find Kelce in the corner four minutes and 15 seconds into overtime after Kansas City had won the coin flip.

"To be in this moment in this game against that team, to make a play to walk off a game at Arrowhead, I'll remember this game for the rest of my life.

"It was definitely special to win a game like this at Arrowhead. Obviously the Super Bowl was probably number one for me but this one is right up there.

“To be able to come back a couple of times, get points when we needed to get points, score touchdowns, get in field goal range, I'll remember it forever."

Asked what words of wisdom he offered to the Chief's talisman before overtime, head coach Andy Reid replied: "When it's grim, be the Grim Reaper and go get it.

"He did that. He made everyone around him better, which he's great at, and he just does it effortlessly. When it gets tough, he's going to be there battling."

"This is definitely another step for him into the Hall of Fame," Mahomes' team-mate Tyreek Hill added of the QB.

"He had the chance to prove once again he's at the top of when it comes to quarterbacks in this league.

"He definitely doesn't flinch, especially in moments like that."

Across 17 regular-season appearances in 2021, Mahomes threw for 37 touchdowns, tied for fourth in the NFL alongside Dak Prescott and Aaron Rodgers.

Only Matthew Stafford (4,886), Justin Herbert (5,014) and the league-leading Tom Brady (5,316) had a higher yardage than Mahomes' 4,839 in the regular season, with just Herbert and Brady completing more passes in total.

Mahomes has already accumulated eight touchdowns this postseason, doubling his tally from last year and is just two shy of his previous postseason best of 10, set in the Chief's triumphant 2019 campaign.

Kansas City will face Cincinnati in the AFC Championship game, with the Bengals having won 34-31 in the most recent meeting between the teams on January 2, a defeat that snapped an eight-game winning streak for the Chiefs.

Patrick Mahomes put Sunday's incredible win for the Kansas City Chiefs among his career highlights as he propelled his team to within one victory of a third straight Super Bowl appearance.

A thrilling contest between the Chiefs and the Buffalo Bills was settled in Kansas City's favour when Mahomes found Travis Kelce for a game-winning touchdown in overtime.

The Chiefs have now reached the AFC Championship for the fourth straight season, as they look to go on and replicate their Super Bowl success from two years ago.

Buffalo seemed to have the game tied up in regulation time when Josh Allen picked out Gabriel Davis for a record-breaking fourth touchdown with just 13 seconds left on the clock, making it 36-33 to the Bills.

Yet Mahomes got the Chiefs within field-goal range and Harrison Butker did the rest to send the roller coaster encounter into overtime.

Mahomes – who completed 33 of 44 attempts for 378 yards with three touchdowns as well as getting into the endzone himself for the Chief's first TD – then kept his composure to find Kelce in the corner four minutes and 15 seconds into overtime after Kansas City had won the coin flip.

"To be in this moment in this game against that team, to make a play to walk off a game at Arrowhead, I'll remember this game for the rest of my life.

"It was definitely special to win a game like this at Arrowhead. Obviously the Super Bowl was probably number one for me but this one is right up there.

“To be able to come back a couple of times, get points when we needed to get points, score touchdowns, get in field goal range, I'll remember it forever."

Asked what words of wisdom he offered to the Chief's talisman before overtime, head coach Andy Reid replied: "When it's grim, be the Grim Reaper and go get it.

"He did that. He made everyone around him better, which he's great at, and he just does it effortlessly. When it gets tough, he's going to be there battling."

"This is definitely another step for him into the Hall of Fame," Mahomes' team-mate Tyreek Hill added of the QB.

"He had the chance to prove once again he's at the top of when it comes to quarterbacks in this league.

"He definitely doesn't flinch, especially in moments like that."

Across 17 regular-season appearances in 2021, Mahomes threw for 37 touchdowns, tied for fourth in the NFL alongside Dak Prescott and Aaron Rodgers.

Only Matthew Stafford (4,886), Justin Herbert (5,014) and the league-leading Tom Brady (5,316) had a higher yardage than Mahomes' 4,839 in the regular season, with just Herbert and Brady completing more passes in total.

Mahomes has already accumulated eight touchdowns this postseason, doubling his tally from last year and is just two shy of his previous postseason best of 10, set in the Chief's triumphant 2019 campaign.

Kansas City will face Cincinnati in the AFC Championship game, with the Bengals having won 34-31 in the most recent meeting between the teams on January 2, a defeat that snapped an eight-game winning streak for the Chiefs.

Patrick Mahomes found Travis Kelce for a game-winning touchdown in overtime as the Kansas City Chiefs reached the AFC Championship game for the fourth straight season beating the Buffalo Bills 42-36 on Sunday.

The Bills thought they had wrapped up the victory when quarterback Josh Allen found Gabriel Davis for his record-breaking fourth touchdown to lead 36-33 with 17 seconds left.

But the Chiefs rallied their way down the field led by Mahomes, getting within field-goal range with Harrison Butker sending it to over-time.

Mahomes was heroic, throwing for 177 yards after the two-minute warning, with three lead changes inside the final two minutes, before Butker's tying field goal.

The composed Chiefs QB, who completed 33 of 44 attempts for 378 yards with three touchdowns as well as 69 rushing yards including a TD, found Kelce in the corner to settle the game 4:15 into overtime after they had won the crucial overtime coin flip.

Mecole Hardman, Byron Pringle and Tyreek Hill also scored TDs, the latter restoring the Chiefs' lead in the final two minutes after Allen had combined with Davis.

Allen completed 27 of 37 passes for 329 yards and four touchdowns, while wide receiver Davis had eight catches for 201 yards and four TDs. Running back Devin Singletary scored the Bills' other TD.

The Chiefs will host the Cincinnati Bengals in the AFC Championship Game at Arrowhead on Sunday.

Patrick Mahomes revealed the Kansas City Chiefs were motivated by being "p****d off" by a slow start to the Wild Card round against the Pittsburgh Steelers in their 42-21 blowout win.

The Chiefs were shut out in the first quarter by a Steelers team that snuck into the playoffs as the seven seed and then fell behind when T.J. Watt returned a Mecole Hardman fumble for a touchdown.

But Mahomes took over thereafter, throwing for 404 yards and five touchdowns, a sole interception in the first quarter the only blemish on a blistering performance.

Tight end Travis Kelce also threw a touchdown on a trick play as the Chiefs turned on the style in setting up a rematch of last year's AFC Championship Game with the Buffalo Bills in the Divisional Round.

"I think we were all p****d off at ourselves," Mahomes said in his media conference. "We felt like we weren't playing with enough energy, we felt like we weren't executing at a high enough level and not playing with enough urgency.

"So, I feel like guys really motivated themselves. We all kind of talked, it wasn't like one person talking, it was everybody talking to each other, and we came with a different urgency starting in the second quarter and carried it the rest of the game.

"Playing in the postseason games, we have young dudes who hadn't played yet, so they got to get that experience this week.

"And we have those vets that have been in here before and showed that with how Tyreek [Hill] and Trav [Kelce] stepped up in big ways to kind of get us sparked and get us rolling again."

On the matchup with the Bills, who crushed the New England Patriots on Saturday behind a sensational five-touchdown performance from quarterback Josh Allen, Mahomes said: "Yeah I mean you expect a really good football team that's going to play really hard. We're expecting a fight, we're expecting a battle. 

"They have a great offense, great defense, great special teams, and we played them in the AFC Championship last year, and we know that it's going to be another fight for us if we want to try to move on to the AFC Championship Game this year."

Ben Roethlisberger reflected with pride on an 18-year career with the Pittsburgh Steelers as he looks ahead to the next chapter.

There was to be no magical ending for Roethlisberger as Pittsburgh fell to a 42-21 reverse against the Kansas City Chiefs in the Wild Card round on Sunday.

The Steelers quarterback threw for 215 yards and two touchdowns on 29-of-44 passing, but he also had to watch Patrick Mahomes' brilliance cut open his side and end their postseason bid.

While Roethlisberger has not specifically said he is retiring, he hinted at as much after bidding a tearful farewell to Heinz Field following a Week 17 win over the Cleveland Browns.

On Sunday, the two-time Super Bowl winner, who has donned the Steelers' black and gold for his entire career, spoke glowingly of his time in Pittsburgh as he looked back on his time with the franchise.

He said post-game: "Yeah it's tough, but I'm proud to play with these guys. God has blessed me with an ability to throw a football and has blessed me to play in the greatest city, in Pittsburgh, with the greatest fans and the greatest football team and players. 

"And it has just been truly a blessing, and I'm so thankful to him for the opportunity that he's given me.

"Just a bunch of guys that fought for each other, that fought their butts off and just competed. It wasn't always pretty, but there are a lot of games that we found a way. 

"I'm so proud of this group of men and the way they fight for each other, for the black and gold, for our fans. It's just been an honour to play with them."

Roethlisberger's opposite number Mahomes finished with 404 passing yards and five touchdowns, and the veteran heaped praise on his fellow quarterback, who will next face the Buffalo Bills.

Mahomes responded in kind as he congratulated Roethlisberger on his Hall of Fame career.

"[He is] a tremendous player that I have a ton of respect for – the way he plays the game, the competitor that he is," Mahomes said. 

"He's won Super Bowls. He's a guy that I've watched growing up, and I have a ton of respect for him. That's what I told him, that if this is his last game, he did it the right way."

Roethlisberger is now hoping this Steelers team can carry on the legacy he has left behind.

"I've been here a long time, and it's been a lot of fun," Roethlisberger added. 

"Like I said, God has blessed me. We joke about the Browns and going there [in the NFL Draft], but it was meant to be that I was going to wear black and gold. Draft day I had a black suit on with a gold tie.

"I'm just so thankful. I hope that I'm able to pass the legacy of what it is to be a Steeler from Dan Rooney. We all miss him, anyone that knew him misses him. 

"Hopefully I can pass some of that on to some of the guys and they can continue the tradition of what it means to be a Steeler and get passed down.

"Whenever you get a bunch of new guys, once you start to lose some of the old regime if you will, you've got to find ways to pass it down. 

"And we've got some guys in there that will continue to do that. I gave Cam [Heyward] a big hug and told him it's on him now. It's his job to pass it down and to keep teaching and holding guys to the Pittsburgh standard."

As Roethlisberger prepares for whatever the next challenge is that is thrown his way, he remains thankful for the opportunities he has had, including the Steelers' improbable progression to the playoffs following a dramatic end to the regular season.

"We thought last week was going to be the end," he continued. "We didn't know what was going to happen and God blessed me to play another football game. 

"It didn't end the way we wanted it to. But it's a blessing to be able to play this game. I try and tell those guys how lucky we are that we get to play football for a living. We need to count our blessings and understand how lucky we are. 

"We're out there getting beat up and this and that, but we get to entertain millions of fans and throw, catch, run, do what we've all done as kids. That's our job and when we say our prayers thank God for that.

"I don't know if it's emotional because it's the end of the season. I mean, this would be emotional no matter what. We never like to lose and go out and I'll miss these guys. It'll probably really hit me come training camp time."

The Kansas City Chiefs set up a mouth-watering AFC Divisional Round matchup with the Buffalo Bills with a 42-21 blowout Wild Card round win over the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Pittsburgh snuck into the playoffs as the seventh seed and, when T.J. Watt returned Mecole Hardman's fumble for a touchdown to open the scoring after a hugely impressive defensive performance in the first quarter, the Steelers would have been forgiven for thinking about a monumental upset.

Yet any such thoughts were quickly proven to be pipe dreams as the Chiefs took over, with Patrick Mahomes in blistering form as he threw for 404 yards and five touchdowns, a sole interception in the first quarter the only blemish on an otherwise sensational showing.

It means Mahomes will face off with Bills quarterback Josh Allen, himself fresh off a remarkable performance against the New England Patriots, in a repeat of last year's AFC Championship Game, while Ben Roethlisberger's career is likely over, the Steelers quarterback having said a tearful farewell to Heinz Field after their Week 17 win over the Clevaland Browns.

Roethlisberger will call it a career with two Super Bowl titles to his name, and Mahomes appears excellently positioned to tie that tally this season after dicing up the Steelers after the first-quarter shutout.

Touchdown throws to Jerick McKinnon and Byron Pringle restored order for the Chiefs after the Steelers' strong start and Mahomes capped the first half with a 48-yard toss to Travis Kelce, the tight end rumbling into the endzone after his former MVP quarterback executed a deep pass while rolling to his right with a degree of nonchalance.

A short scoring toss to offensive lineman Nick Allegretti and a 31-yard teardrop to Tyreek Hill ended any doubt over the final outcome, the final flourish coming when Kelce connected with Pringle on a two-yard trick play.

That touchdown sandwiched by two for Roethlisberger on passes to Diontae Johnson and James Washington before the seconds ticked down on a Hall of Fame career.

After the Patriots saw their playoff campaign emphatically come to an end on Saturday, the man who left New England to further his legacy begins his quest for an eighth ring on Sunday.

Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers will be expected to win in routine fashion in their Wild Card round matchup with the Philadelphia Eagles, while the team they beat in last season's Super Bowl, the Kansas City Chiefs, are anticipated to end Ben Roethlisberger's career with a routine victory over the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Sandwiched between those two potential blowouts is the game of the weekend as two storied rivals, the San Francisco 49ers and Dallas Cowboys, contest a long overdue renewal of acquaintances in the postseason.

As Stats Perform's look at Sunday's action explains, both the Niners and the Cowboys possess the offense firepower to ensure the matchup lives up to its lofty expectations.

Philadelphia Eagles @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers

The defending champion Bucs are unsurprisingly the heavy favourites against an Eagles team that claimed nine wins in the regular season, none of which came against an opponent that made the postseason.

Not much stock will be put in the history of this encounter, even if it does make pleasant reading for any Eagles fans looking for reason for hope.

The Eagles and Buccaneers have split their 20 all-time meetings, with each team winning eight regular-season games and two in postseason play. Their only postseason matchup in Tampa was a 24-17 win by the Bucs in 1979, their first-ever playoff win.

All eyes at Raymond James Stadium will be on Bucs quarterback Tom Brady, who is set for another piece of history in his seemingly endless career.

Brady will be playing in his 19th postseason and in his 46th career playoff start, the most by any player in NFL history. At age 44, Brady will break his own record for the oldest quarterback to start a playoff game. Brady has more playoff wins since turning 36 years old (17) than any other QB has in his entire career.

The Pittsburgh Steelers have activated wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster off injured reserve ahead of their playoff showdown with the Kansas City Chiefs.

Smith-Schuster has not played since Week 5, when he suffered what was thought to have been a season-ending shoulder injury against the Denver Broncos.

After recovering from surgery, he is expected to play at least some part against the Chiefs in the Wild Card round game on Sunday after practising on Thursday and Friday.

"God answered my prayers and I've recovered from my season-ending shoulder injury earlier than expected," Smith-Schuster wrote on Twitter.

"I can't believe I get another chance to take the field with this team and play in a playoff game to keep our season alive."

Kansas City beat Pittsburgh at home in Week 16, 36-10, their largest win over the Steelers in 36 all-time meetings.

The Steelers go in as heavy underdogs against the Chiefs, though they received a further boost when running back Najee Harris was removed from the injury report after recovering from an elbow injury.

This could be Smith-Schuster's last game with the Steelers given he is due to enter free agency after the season, while eyes are also on quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, who is expected to retire after the playoffs.

"He had a pretty significant injury," Roethlisberger told 102.5 WDVE this week about the receiver's possible return.

"The way JuJu plays the game is physical. We all know it. We all love it. He could boost this offense. Even if it's just a few plays, the energy, the encouragement he brings on the sideline. 

"Anything like that, to have one of your guys out there would be huge for us."

Roethlisberger has thrown for 970 yards in his last two postseason games, both losses. That is the most passing yards by any player in a span of two playoff games. 

The veteran will face off against Chiefs star Patrick Mahomes.

Chiefs QB Mahomes has thrown for two touchdowns and four interceptions in his two Super Bowl appearances, but in his six other playoff games, he has thrown 15 touchdown passes and no picks. 

Per Stats Perform data, Mahomes is just the second player ever (after Drew Brees) with 17+ passing touchdowns and no more than four interceptions in his first eight playoff starts.

Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes says his side will be ready to win during the playoffs irrespective of whether they claim the AFC's top seeding.

The Chiefs improved their record to 12-5 with Saturday's 28-24 win over the Denver Broncos, which was Kansas City's 13th straight road win against AFC West opposition.

The result means the Tennessee Titans have to beat the Houston Texans on Sunday to move above the Chiefs to claim the AFC's top seed.

"We'll watch the game and everything like that," Mahomes told ESPN after the game.

"We handled our business today. We'll see what happens tomorrow. Regardless we'll be ready to win some football games."

The Chiefs may have clinched the top seed on Saturday had they not gone down 34-31 to the Cincinnati Bengals last weekend, snapping their eight-game win streak.

Mahones, who threw two touchdowns and completed 27 of 44 passes for 270 yards, said the Chiefs needed to improve if they were going to make a long playoffs run.

"We've got to be better. We've got what it takes," Mahomes said.

"We've got everybody in the locker room to do what we want to do but we've got to be better if we want to make a run through the AFC because it's a tough division."

The Chiefs appeared in danger of a loss to the Broncos until ex-Los Angeles Chargers linebacker Melvin Ingram's tackle on Broncos running back Melvin Gordon forced a fumble which rookie Nick Bolton scooped and scored from in the fourth quarter.

"That was a heck of a play by Melvin Ingram," Mahomes said. "That's the reason why we got him here. He makes plays like that."

Patrick Mahomes threw two touchdown passes but Missouri rookie Nick Bolton came up with the key play as the Kansas City Chiefs kept their AFC top seeding hopes alive with a seesawing 28-24 win over the Denver Broncos.

Bolton delivered a 86-yard scoop and score to give the Chiefs a lead they would not relinquish in the fourth quarter after Melvin Ingram's tackle forced a fumble from Broncos running back Melvin Gordon.

The result means the Chiefs (12-5) will claim the AFC top seed if the Tennessee Titans (11-5) fail to beat the Houston Texans on Sunday.

The victory was also the Chiefs's 13th straight road win against AFC West opponents.

Mahomes completed 27 of 44 passes for 270 yards with two TD passes for Travis Kelce in the first quarter and Jerick McKinnon in the third. The Kansas City QB also rushed 54 yards from nine carries.

The Broncos, who will finish last in the AFC West with a 7-10 record, were difficult to shake all game, with QB Drew Lock rushing two touchdowns, while running back Gordon scored a 47-yard TD to put them up 20-17 in the third.

The Chiefs found the match-winning play in the fourth quarter as the Broncos closed the nine-yard line after a 10-play drive with Ingram forcing the error and Lock unable to tackle Bolton.

The 18th and final round of the NFL regular season is upon us and there remains plenty of intrigue in a frantic scramble to make it to the playoffs.

Five teams from the AFC are competing for two postseason berths, while one spot is up for grabs in the NFC. 

Away from the Super Bowl picture, there are a number of other intriguing subplots ahead of an action-packed weekend.

Stats Perform previews some of the standout games and the best of the rest.


Los Angeles Chargers (9-7) @ Las Vegas Raiders (9-7)

The winner of this contest is guaranteed a playoff spot, while there is also a scenario whereby a tie could see both advance. Interestingly, six of the previous seven games in Oakland/Las Vegas have been decided by three points or fewer.

The Raiders beat the Colts on a last-second field goal last week to prevail 23-20 – their fifth win of the season by four points or fewer, tied with the Packers and the Titans for the most in the NFL.

Justin Herbert set the single-season passing touchdowns record for the Chargers last week with his 35th of the campaign. He now requires 172 yards this week to also take the passing-yards record.

The Chargers' 34-13 win against the Broncos was their fourth victory in a win while scoring 30 points or more. They have averaged 33.9 points per game in wins this season, second most in the NFL behind the Bills (35.1).

Pittsburgh Steelers (8-7-1) @ Baltimore Ravens (8-8)

The Steelers have won three in a row against the Ravens, with all three of those victories being decided by less than a touchdown, the most recent coming by a 20-19 scoreline last month.

Last week's 12-point win over the Browns was the Steelers' largest of the season, though not since 1969 have they gone a full campaign without winning by at least 13 points.

The Ravens are coming off the back of a 20-19 loss to the Rams, their league-leading eighth game decided by three or fewer points this season – no team in NFL history has had more than nine games decided by three or fewer points.

Najee Harris rushed for 188 of the Steelers' 190 rushing yards against the Browns and accounts for 77.9 per cent of his side's rush yards this season, the highest share of any player in the NFL.

 

Kansas City Chiefs (11-5) @ Denver Broncos (7-9)

The Chiefs will be looking to respond to their defeat against the Cincinnati Bengals in week 17 when they take on the Broncos, whom they have defeated in 12 successive meetings – the league's joint-longest active winning streak along with the New England Patriots against the New York Jets.

Despite last week's defeat, the Chiefs have scored at least 30 points in four successive games, which is the longest-running streak in the NFL and one short of their all-time record of five set in 2004 and 2018.

Kansas lead the way in the NFL with 391 first downs this season and, with nine more this weekend, will become the fifth team in the last 70 years with 400 or more first downs in a season.

The Broncos were defeated by the Chargers last time out to ensure a losing season for the fifth straight year, an unwanted run they last went on from 1963 to 1972 with 10 straight losing seasons.

Elsewhere...

The Jaguars require a victory against the Colts to avoid becoming the fourth team in the last 30 years to have consecutive seasons with two or fewer wins. The Colts have lost three games this season by exactly three points – the Seahawks are the only team this season that has failed to win a single game by three or fewer points with more losses in such games (0-5).

The Rams can clinch their third NFC West title in six seasons season since moving back to Los Angeles with victory over the 49ers. However, the Niners have won each of their last five meetings with the Rams.

The Falcons have three successive wins against the Saints in Atlanta and are seeking a fourth in a row for the first time since between 1991 and 1994. Following defeat to the Bills last week, the Falcons have alternated between wins and losses over their last seven games.

The Bills can clinch their second consecutive division title with victory against the Jets, following on from a previous run of 24 straight seasons without finishing top. All 10 of Buffalo's wins this season have come by 12 points or more.

Melvin Gordon has expressed his frustration after the Denver Broncos missed out on the playoffs despite having what he believes is a roster good enough to reach the Super Bowl.

The Broncos host the Kansas City Chiefs in their final game of the 2021 season on Saturday sitting at 7-9, certain to miss the postseason and end up with a losing record.

They lost 34-13 to the Los Angeles Chargers last week, part of a three-game streak which also contained losses to the Cincinnati Bengals and Las Vegas Raiders, scuppering their hopes of reaching the playoffs.

Gordon will be a free agent at the end of the season, with head coach Vic Fangio also facing an uncertain future, and the running back cannot believe how the season is ending.

"You sit back and get frustrated because we are so much better than what our record shows," Gordon said to SI.com. 

"It's frustrating. It's frustrating as a player, as coaches, as an organization. It's frustrating. 

"We're such a good football team. So talented across the board it is ridiculous. For us to be sitting here and not having a chance for the playoffs, all that work you put into the offseason, it's tough to say the least.

"After the Raiders game, I was so mad, just because I was thinking about from the D-line, from the secondary, from our receivers, tight ends, the linemen we have – young but yet a lot of moxie.

"Running backs, even the ones, the twos, the threes, even the guys that don't get as much love, the linebackers – it was so frustrating because it's such a well-built team. It's a Super Bowl team."

Gordon has formed a strong rushing attack with rookie Javonte Williams – both players rank in the top 13 in the NFL for rushes of 10+ yards – while the team's defense has only allowed 268 offensive points in 16 games, good for second in the NFL behind only the New England Patriots (250).

But the quarterback position and passing attack has again proved problematic for the Broncos.

After Drew Lock's struggles in 2020, this year's starting QB Teddy Bridgewater's yards per attempt rate of 7.16 ranks in the bottom half (17th) of the league and Courtland Sutton is the team's top receiver with just 763 yards.

The Chiefs (11-5), meanwhile, will go into Saturday's game still in with a chance of being the number one seeds in the AFC.

They must beat the Broncos and will then be reliant on the Tennessee Titans dropping their game at the Houston Texans one day later.

In-form quarterback Joe Burrow says everyone laughed off the Cincinnati Bengals' divisional hopes in preseason in the wake of clinching the AFC North with Sunday's 34-31 win over the Kansas City Chiefs.

Burrow starred with four touchdown passes but ended the game on the bench with a knee issue as the Bengals won the division for the first time since 2015.

The Bengals had finished last in the AFC North last year with a 4-11-1 record, which makes this season's accomplishments more impressive.

"In the preseason we were talking about the playoffs and I said the goal was the playoffs and the easiest way to do that is to win the division," Burrow said at the post-game news conference.

"Everyone laughed at us a little bit, but we knew the kind of team we had and the kind of guys in the locker room we had, and we knew we could go out and do it."

The Bengals QB insisted the knee complaint that had him benched was "good enough" in the wake of throwing 971 yards in the past two games, which is the most in consecutive wins in NFL history.

Burrow completed 30 of 39 attempts for 446 yards with four touchdown passes and no interceptions against the Chiefs.

Wide receiver Ja'Marr Chase also made history with the rookie record for most single game receiving yards (266). It was also a Bengals franchise record and the most ever against the Chiefs.

Chase added: "We can go as far as we want to. We just won the AFC North."

Matthew Stafford inspired the Los Angeles Rams to move one step closer to securing their second straight NFC West title with a 20-19 win over the slumping Baltimore Ravens on Sunday.

The defeat for the Ravens, who were without quarterback Lamar Jackson for the third straight game, leaves them perilously close to slipping out of the Wild Card hunt after their fifth consecutive loss.

Justin Tucker's field goal had put the Ravens up 19-14 with 4:33 left but Stafford launched a game-winning 75-yard drive to overhaul the deficit.

Stafford completed a 15-yard pass to Tyler Higbee and a 24-yarder to Cooper Kupp, before finding Odell Beckham Jr twice in a row, with the latter being the decisive TD.

The Rams QB finished with 26 of 35 passes for two touchdowns but also two interceptions, including a Chuck Clark first-quarter pick six, as well as a sack.

Clark's TD was the Ravens' only for the game, as QB Tyler Huntley completed 20 of 32 passes for 197 yards.

Rams running back Sony Michel had 19 carries for 74 yards including a TD along with wide receiver Kupp with six receptions for 95 yards and one touchdown.

Over a month ago the Ravens had been 8-3 and looking good for the AFC top seed but now they are scrapping for a playoffs spot after a series of narrow defeats and desperate for Jackson's return.

Carlson field goal gives Raiders edge in Wild Card race

The Las Vegas Raiders claimed a crucial last-gasp win from Daniel Carlson's 33-yard field goal in the AFC Wild Card race with a 23-20 victory over the Indianapolis Colts.

Colts quarterback Carson Wentz cleared protocols for the game but completed 16 of 27 passes for 148 yards and one touchdown, while running back Jonathan Taylor had one TD from 20 carries for 108 yards, with the defeat marking the first this season when he has rushed more than 100 yards.

The Raiders pipped the Colts in the final quarter, trailing 17-13 at the final break with QB Derek Carr hitting Hunter Renfrow on a fourth-down play for a TD, before Michael Badgley squared the game with a 41-yard field goal, only for Carlson to win it with one from 33 yards as time expired. The Raiders improve to 9-7, pulling ahead of the 9-7 Colts in the AFC Wild Card race.

 

Bengals clinch maiden AFC North title

The Cincinnati Bengals clinched their first-ever AFC North title as Evan McPherson kicked a late 20-yard field goal to secure a 34-31 victory over the Kansas City Chiefs.

Bengals wide receiver Ja'Marr Chase set an NFL rookie record and franchise record with 266 yards and three touchdowns on 11 catches, while QB Joe Burrow threw 30 of 39 passes for 446 yards and four touchdowns.

Burrow got the better of opposing QB Patrick Mahomes who completed 26 of 35 passes for 259 yards and two touchdowns as the Chiefs, who have already won the AFC West title, moved to 11-5.

 

Brady cool after Brown meltdown

Tom Brady was cool in a crisis after Antonio Brown stormed off the field as the NFC South-winning Tampa Bay Buccaneers rallied to win 28-24 over the New York Jets.

Brady completed 34 of 50 attempts for 410 yards and three touchdowns, including leading them on a 93-yard drive in the final minutes to clinch the victory.

The game was marred after Brown's meltdown, storming off the field in the third quarter with the Bucs 24-10 down, with head coach Bruce Arians confirming "he is no longer a Buc" after the game.

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