New England Patriots clinch 10th consecutive AFC East title

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The New England Patriots landed their 10th consecutive AFC East title, beating the Buffalo Bills 24-12 at Gillette Stadium.

Tom Brady threw for 126 yards and a touchdown in the Patriots’ victory, but receiver Cordarrelle Patterson was forced off with a knee injury.

In the end, the victory was not even needed, with the Miami Dolphins’ 17-7 loss to the Jacksonville Jaguars handing New England the landmark achievement.

Miami’s defeat in the final home match saw them eliminated from play-off contention.

Both sides traded touchdowns in the opening quarter, only to then draw a blank through to the closing stages.

The Jaguars, though, made the telling plays in the fourth quarter. A field goal from Kai Forbath followed by a converted touchdown from linebacker Telvin Smith, who ran in a 33-yard interception, proved decisive at the Hard Rock Stadium.

The Patriots are also back in control of the AFC second seed position after the Philadelphia Eagles edged out the Houston Texans 32-30 at Lincoln Financial Field.

The defending Super Bowl champions, though, needed a late 35-yard field goal from Jake Elliott to make sure of victory.

The Dallas Cowboys secured the NFC East title with a 27-20 win over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

They reeled off three touchdowns in their win at the AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Jaylon Smith collecting a fumble and returning it 69 yards late in the first quarter.

Elsewhere, the Cleveland Browns defeated the Cincinnati Bengals 26-18, the Atlanta Falcons beat the Carolina Panthers 24-10 and the Minnesota Vikings defeat the Detroit Lions 27-9.

The Indianapolis Colts edged out the New York Giants 28-27 and the Green Bay Packers clinched a 44-38 win over the New York Jets in overtime.

In the night’s later games, the Chicago Bears earned their eighth win in nine games with a 14-9 victory over the San Francisco 49ers, guaranteeing at least the third seed in the NFC play-offs.

The New Orleans Saints, meanwhile, clinched the NFC top spot after rallying against the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Drew Brees, who finished the game with 326 passing yards, found Michael Thomas with a two-yard pass with 1:25 left on the clock to close out the 31-28 win.

The Seattle Seahawks claimed an NFC wild-card berth with a 38-31 win over the Kansas City Chiefs.

With 7:31 remaining, Russell Wilson connected with Ed Dickson for his third touchdown to help lead the Seahawks back to the play-offs for the seventh time in nine seasons.

And the Los Angeles Rams (12-3) continued their impressive season form, thrashing the Arizona Cardinals 31-9. CJ Anderson, in place of injured Todd Gurley, proved his worth, rushing for 167 yards, just short of his career-high 168.

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