ARLINGTON, Texas -- Justin Coleman put Seattle in front for good with a 30-yard interception return for a touchdown and the Seahawks won a playoff elimination game against Dallas, beating the Cowboys 21-12 on Sunday in Ezekiel Elliott's return from a six-game suspension.
Dak Prescott threw two interceptions and the Dallas offense didn't score a touchdown despite the reunion with his backfield mate, the one he shared a remarkable rookie season with a year ago when Cowboys had an NFC-best 13 wins.
Now Dallas (8-7) is eliminated from the postseason with the end of its three-game winning streak, and the Seahawks (9-6) still have a chance to keep their five-year playoff streak alive after Russell Wilson threw for two touchdowns despite a career-low 93 yards passing.
Coleman gave Seattle a 14-9 lead in the third quarter when he reached down to catch Prescott's badly overthrown pass to Elliott and ran untouched 30 yards for a touchdown.
It was the fourth pick-six of the season for Prescott, who threw just four interceptions last season when he was the NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year. He has 13 interceptions for the season (see full recap).
Panthers clinch playoff berth with win over Bucs
CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Cam Newton scored on a 2-yard touchdown run with 35 seconds remaining to lift the Carolina Panthers to a 22-19 win over the upset-minded Tampa Bay Buccaneers and clinch a spot in the NFC playoffs.
The Panthers (11-4) trailed most of the second half, but Newton drove the Panthers 59 yards completing 4 of 7 passes for 52 yards in the final 3 minutes before scoring on a what could have been a disastrous play. Newton fumbled the snap from the shotgun, alertly picked it up and then raced across the goal line for the go-ahead score.
Newton celebrated the score by using the football as a prop, pretending to light a candle on a cake in celebration of his son Chosen's 2nd birthday.
Carolina can clinch the NFC South championship with a win over Atlanta and a New Orleans loss to Tampa Bay.
The Panthers sealed the game when Kawann Short sacked Jameis Winston on Tampa Bay's final drive, and forced a fumble that Julius Peppers recovered. Winston threw for 367 yards and a touchdown but was sacked six times and fumbled three times. The Bucs are 4-11.
The Panthers offense struggled all day (see full recap).
Defense propels Saints past Falcons, into playoffs
NEW ORLEANS -- Rookie cornerback Marshon Lattimore corralled an unusual, momentum-turning interception off his back , New Orleans made two defensive stands from inside its own 2-yard line, and the Saints clinched their first playoff berth since 2013 with a 23-13 victory over the rival Atlanta Falcons.
Ted Ginn caught a 54-yard pass for a touchdown, which came just a few plays after Lattimore's interception and shortly before halftime. Mark Ingram used a sharp cutback to break loose for a 26-yard touchdown for New Orleans ( 11-4), which kept its tenuous hold on first place in the NFC South heading into the final week of the season.
While the loss eliminated the Falcons (9-6) from the NFC South race, Atlanta can clinch a wild-card berth by beating Carolina in the final regular season game on New Year's Eve.
The Falcons entered the game with a second straight division crown in their grasp, but they needed to beat the Saints. They squandered chances spectacularly, much to the delight of a deafening Superdome crowd -- and certainly to the chagrin of scattered fans wearing Falcons red. The Falcons were taunted on their way to the game by a plane towing a banner that read "28-3 Merry Xmas," a reference to Atlanta's Super Bowl collapse.
Atlanta trailed just 6-0 when Lattimore's interception of Matt Ryan set the Saints up to double their lead (see full recap).
Browns clinch No. 1 overall pick, move to 0-15
CHICAGO -- The Cleveland Browns got pushed to the brink of a winless season, hurt by two more interceptions by DeShone Kizer and two turnovers in the red zone on the way to a 20-3 loss to the Chicago Bears on a snowy Sunday.
One more loss and the Browns will join the 2008 Detroit Lions as the only teams to go 0-16.
And the Browns will wrap up the season at AFC North leader Pittsburgh next week.
Then again, the Browns (0-15) keep racking up losses no matter whom they're playing.
They're 1-30 in two seasons under coach Hue Jackson. And after beating the then-San Diego Chargers on Christmas Eve last year, there was no holiday celebration for them this time.
Kizer threw for 182 yards and ran his league leading-interception total to 21. One of those was to a wide-open Kyle Fuller in the end zone in the second quarter.
Defensive end Myles Garrett had what looked like a 42-yard interception return for a touchdown early in the third quarter wiped out because Carl Nassib was offside.
Rashard Higgins lost a fumble near the goal line that Chicago (5-10) recovered in the end zone (see full recap).
Chiefs beat Miami to win back-to-back AFC West titles
KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Alex Smith threw for 304 yards and a touchdown, Kareem Hunt ran for 91 yards and a score and the Kansas City Chiefs beat the Miami Dolphins 29-13 on Sunday to clinch back-to-back AFC West titles for the first time in franchise history.
Tyreek Hill had six catches for 109 yards, and Harrison Butker converted five field goals, as the Chiefs (9-6) dashed what faint postseason hope the Dolphins (6-9) still harbored.
Jay Cutler threw for 286 yards and a touchdown, but a chunk of that came on a 65-yard toss to Jakeem Grant late in the first half. Otherwise, Miami struggled against a Chiefs defense that has been stingy and opportunistic the past two weeks.
That's coincided with the return of Marcus Peters from his disciplinary suspension.
The Chiefs' star cornerback had two interceptions and forced a fumble against the Chargers last week, a win that pushed them to the brink of the playoffs. He recovered a fumble and forced another on Sunday, giving Peters a hand in five turnovers the past two weeks.
Both turnovers led to points, but they weren't the Dolphins' only costly miscues (see full recap).
Rams clinch 1st NFC West title since '03, beat Titans
NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Jared Goff threw a 14-yard touchdown pass to Cooper Kupp with 11:51 left, and the Los Angeles Rams held off the Tennessee Titans 27-23 on Sunday to clinch their first NFC West title since 2003.
The Rams (11-4) came in needing a win or a loss by Seattle to secure the division. They took care of business themselves, with Todd Gurley II and Goff leading the way again.
Gurley bolstered his argument for NFL MVP with 118 yards rushing and 158 yards receiving with two TDs. Goff finished with four touchdowns and 301 yards passing.
The Titans (8-7) lost their third straight game, damaging their chances of ending their own playoff drought stretching to 2008.
The Titans had the ball and a chance to win late in the game. On fourth-and-4 at the Rams 44, Marcus Mariota rolled right and chucked the ball incomplete under pressure from Connor Barwin.
The Rams ran out the final 1:35 for their second straight victory and fourth in five games (see full recap).