NFL: Patriots and Cowboys claim division titles, playoff spots

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 РChicago Bears (NFC North), New Orleans Saints (NFC South) and Los Angeles Rams (NFC West) Рwith two more assured of playoff spots Рthe 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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