Wide receiver Brandon Aiyuk wrapped up the No. 1 seed in the NFC on Sunday and will not need to play its regulars until the divisional round on Jan. 20-21. Alex Brandon/Associated Press

The Dallas Cowboys got another big victory without taking the field Sunday. The Baltimore Ravens and San Francisco 49ers took care of business to make sure they get an extra week of rest.

The NFL’s playoff picture is clearer with one week to go.

Nine teams are in. Five spots remain open. Twenty clubs are still chasing the Super Bowl.

Baltimore secured the AFC’s No. 1 seed with a 56-19 victory over Miami. Lamar Jackson threw five touchdown passes and had a perfect passer rating, helping the Ravens (13-3) secure a first-round bye and home-field advantage throughout the playoffs while also boosting his chances to win his second NFL MVP award.

The 49ers wrapped up the NFC’s No. 1 seed with a 27-10 victory at Washington and help from Arizona. When the Cardinals rallied to beat Philadelphia 35-31, that gave San Francisco (12-4) the top spot.

The Ravens and 49ers can rest their starters next week and they don’t have to play until the divisional round on Jan. 20-21.


Arizona’s stunning comeback win over the Eagles (11-5) also gave the Cowboys (11-5) control of the NFC East. Dallas would secure the division and lock up the No. 2 seed with a win at Washington in Week 18.

Cowboys Coach Mike McCarthy nearly cost his team the game with poor clock management againt the Lions on Saturday, but Dallas caught a break when officials called a penalty on Detroit’s go-ahead point after attempt. Now, Dallas can win the NFC East in the final week of the season. Sam Hodde/Associated Press

The Cowboys got all the breaks over the weekend. After poor clock management by Coach Mike McCarthy nearly blew the game Saturday night, the officials gave Dallas a reprieve and the Cowboys held on to beat Detroit 20-19. The Lions were successful on a 2-point conversion to take the lead in the final minute only to have it negated by a penalty because offensive lineman Taylor Decker was an ineligible receiver when he caught the pass.

Referee Brad Allen said Decker never reported as eligible. Allen and his officiating crew missed a call on the previous drive by Dallas that may have prevented the wacky ending.

A tripping penalty on Cowboys tight end Peyton Hendershot turned a second-and-3 into a first-and-25 at the Detroit 44. The tripping penalty should’ve been called against Lions defensive end Aidan Hutchinson instead of Hendershot. There was no comment from the league about the call on Sunday.

Now the Cowboys are in position to start the playoffs at home, where they went 8-0. All they have to do is beat the Commanders (4-12) on the road.

The Dolphins (11-5) went from playing for the AFC’s No. 1 seed to having to beat Buffalo next week to clinch the division title. If the Bills (10-6) beat Miami on the road, they’d secure the AFC East and the Dolphins would drop to the No. 6 spot. Buffalo would finish sixth, seventh or out of the playoffs with a loss.


The defending Super Bowl champion Chiefs (10-6) took the AFC West for the eighth straight season by beating Cincinnati 25-17. The Chiefs will enter the playoffs as the No. 3 seed. They’ve hosted the AFC championship game five straight years, but the path to doing it again requires a couple of teams to get upset.

The Jaguars, Colts and Texans each won to stay in the race for the AFC South at 9-7 apiece. Jacksonville holds the tiebreakers and would clinch the division and the No. 4 seed for the second straight year with a win at Tennessee (5-11) next week. Indianapolis visits Houston with the winner advancing as division champion or wild-card winner and the loser eliminated.

The Steelers (9-7) kept their playoff hopes alive with a 30-23 win at Seattle. Pittsburgh needs a win over Baltimore plus help to get a wild-card spot.

Joe Flacco and the Cleveland Browns (11-5) already have the AFC’s No. 5 seed locked up and will play the AFC South champion in the wild-card round.

Tampa Bay missed an opportunity to clinch its third straight NFC South with a flat performance in a 23-13 loss at home to New Orleans. The Buccaneers (8-8) still can wrap up the division crown with a win at Carolina (2-14) next week.

The Saints (8-8) and Falcons (7-9) face off with a chance to win the division if the Panthers upset Tampa Bay. New Orleans still would have a shot at a wild-card spot if the Buccaneers win.

The Los Angeles Rams (9-7) edged the New York Giants 26-25 to clinch a wild-card berth. Green Bay routed Minnesota 33-10 to surpass Seattle and take control of the final wild-card spot. The Packers (8-8) would get in with a win at home over Chicago. The Vikings (7-9) need a win at Detroit and a lot of help. The Seahawks (8-8) have to win at Arizona and need the Packers to lose.

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