Packers, Eagles secure spot in playoffs
By Barry Wilner ,AP
December 31, 2013, 12:07 am TWN
The Philadelphia Eagles and Green Bay Packers pulled out memorable road victories on Sunday to secure berths in the NFL playoffs.
Philadelphia completed a terrific turnaround under new coach Chip Kelly by beating Dallas 24-22 to win the NFC East.
Green Bay quarterback Aaron Rodgers played the role of returning hero, along with Randall Cobb, in the Packers' 33-28 victory at Chicago to capture the NFC North title.
The Eagles (10-6) will host New Orleans (11-5) on Saturday while Green Bay (8-7-1) is home against San Francisco (12-4) on Sunday.
The wild-card round begins Saturday with Kansas City (11-5) at Indianapolis (11-5). The early game Sunday is San Diego (9-7) at Cincinnati (11-5).
Philadelphia's Brandon Boykin made an interception in the final 2 minutes to clinch the Eagles' win. One year after they finished with a woeful 4-12 record, they claimed a division title by winning seven of their final eight games.
“A huge win for Philly, a huge win for us, just a great moment,” Boykin said.
Dallas (8-8) has lost three straight showdown finales for the NFC East title.
At Chicago, in his first game back from a broken left collarbone, Rodgers threw a 48-yard touchdown pass to Cobb on fourth-and-8 with 38 seconds left for the go-ahead score.
Rodgers had been out since getting injured in a loss to Chicago on Nov. 4, and Cobb missed the previous 10 games with a knee problem. Still, the Packers edged the archrival Bears (8-8) for the division crown by winning three of their last four games.
“He is the best quarterback in the league,” said Packers receiver Jordy Nelson, who caught 10 passes for 161 yards. “To be gone for that many weeks and to play as well as he did — it was great to have him back.”
San Diego also completed a rally to get into the postseason, beating undermanned Kansas City 27-24 in overtime for its fourth consecutive victory. After Miami and Baltimore lost earlier in the day, the Chargers sealed their spot via Nick Novak's 36-yard field goal with 5:30 left in overtime.