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Giants, Cowboys, Redskins win in tight NFC East

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Giants, Cowboys, Redskins win in tight NFC East

Winning was required to keep pace in the NFC East playoff race.

Losing was all that was needed in the AFC North.

The defending Super Bowl champion New York Giants beat New Orleans with an offensive eruption fueled by David Wilson's record-setting performance. That 52-27 romp kept the Giants one game in front of Washington, which rallied to beat Baltimore 31-28 in overtime despite a knee injury to outstanding rookie quarterback Robert Griffin III.

Dallas also remained a game behind New York with a comeback 20-19 victory at Cincinnati.

Pittsburgh completed the futility for AFC North contenders, falling at home to San Diego, 34-24.

Baltimore (9-4) kept its two-game lead in the division, but has jeopardized getting a bye for the playoffs if it wins the AFC North.

Also, NFC West leader San Francisco beat Miami 27-13, while runner-up Seattle set a franchise record for points in a 58-0 rout of Arizona.

Green Bay's 27-20 victory over Detroit, along with Chicago losing 21-14 at Minnesota, means the Packers take the NFC North with a win at Soldier Field next Sunday.

Indianapolis took a stronger hold on the top AFC wild card with a comeback 27-23 victory over Tennessee.

NFC South winner Atlanta blew a chance to clinch a first-round bye as it fell at Carolina, 30-20.

Also, it was Philadelphia 23, Tampa Bay 21; St. Louis 15, Buffalo 12; the New York Jets 17, Jacksonville 10; and Cleveland 30, Kansas City 7.

Monday night's matchup has two division leaders, with AFC South front-runner Houston (11-1) at AFC East champion New England (9-3).

The action began Thursday night when AFC West winner Denver (10-3) defeated Oakland (3-10), 26-13.

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REDSKINS 31, RAVENS 28 OT

At Landover, Md., with Griffin sidelined with a sprained right knee, the Redskins (7-6) rallied behind backup Kirk Cousins to tie the game in the final minute of regulation. Kai Forbath kicked a 34-yard field goal in overtime for the Skins' fourth consecutive victory.

Griffin was hurt at the end of a 13-yard scramble on the tying drive with the Redskins trailing 28-20. He left for one play, returned for four, then was no longer able to continue.

Cousins stepped in and hit Pierre Garcon for an 11-yard touchdown pass, then ran in the 2-point conversion with 29 seconds to play.

``He's ice. Like they used to say about Larry Bird, he got ice water in his veins. That's the best thing you can say about Kirk,'' receiver Joshua Morgan said. ``He was coming like nothing was even going on.''

Griffin was able to joke about his injury after the game.

``I knew as soon as I got hit. I screamed. Like a man, of course,'' Griffin said with a laugh. ``It hurt really bad.''

The Ravens (9-4) lost back-to-back games for the first time since 2009.

``We've had a tough run here,'' said Ravens coach John Harbaugh, whose team had won after each of its previous 15 losses.

COWBOYS 20, BENGALS 19

At Cincinnati, the grieving Cowboys rallied for a win on Dan Bailey's 40-yard field goal as time ran out. Dallas (7-6) overcame a nine-point deficit in the closing minutes behind Tony Romo, who held his hand over his heart during a moment of silence to honor teammate Jerry Brown before the kickoff.

Brown died in an auto accident early Saturday. Dallas defensive lineman Josh Brent, who was driving, remained in jail in Irving, Texas, charged with intoxication manslaughter.

The Cowboys (7-6) learned about Brown's death on their flight to Cincinnati on Saturday.

``It's a hard, hard situation we're in,'' Romo said. ``There's no playbook for this sort of thing in life.''

The Bengals (7-6) had won four straight.

CHARGERS 34, STEELERS 24

At Pittsburgh, Philip Rivers threw three touchdown passes, two to Danario Alexander, and San Diego won for the first time in 15 regular-season visits to Pittsburgh.

The Chargers (5-8), who snapped a four-game losing streak, dominated from the outset. They never let Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger get comfortable in his first game in nearly a month.

Roethlisberger completed 22 of 42 passes for 285 yards and three second-half touchdowns. But he also threw an interception and had a botched screen pass turn into an easy San Diego score as Pittsburgh (7-6) hardly played like a team ready for a postseason run.

GIANTS 52, SAINTS 27

At East Rutherford, N.J., rookie Wilson was unstoppable. He returned a kickoff 97 yards for one touchdown, ran for two more scores and piled up 327 all-purpose yards. He is the first NFL player with 200 yards on kickoff returns and 100 yards rushing in a game.

``To come up and have a breakout game like this is an excellent feeling,'' Wilson said. ``You want to have a good game every game.''

Manning threw four touchdown passes to lead the Giants (8-5) as they maintained their NFC East lead.

Manning had TD passes of 6 yards to Martellus Bennett, 5 yards to Domenik Hixon, 25 yards to Hakeem Nicks and 10 yards to Victor Cruz. Wilson scored on runs of 6 and 52 yards and finished with 100 yards on 13 carries on the biggest day of his career.

The loss all but ended the playoff hopes of Drew Brees and the Saints (5-8), who turned the ball over four times in losing their third straight.

49ERS 27, DOLPHINS 13

At San Francisco, Frank Gore ran for a 1-yard touchdown and reached 1,000 yards rushing for the sixth time in his career. Gore finished with 63 yards.

Anthony Dixon also had a 1-yard scoring run and Colin Kaepernick ran for a late 50-yard touchdown and threw for 185 yards in his fourth straight start since being promoted over Alex Smith.

NFL sacks leader Aldon Smith added two to his total for 19 1/2, passing Fred Dean's franchise-best single-season mark of 17 1/2 set in 1983. Smith moved within three sacks of the single-season record Michael Strahan set in 2001 with the New York Giants.

Michael Crabtree had nine catches for 93 yards and rookie LaMichael James ran for 30 yards in a solid NFL debut for the 49ers (9-3-1). Miami is 5-8.

SEAHAWKS 58, CARDINALS 0

At Seattle, Marshawn Lynch had three touchdown runs and Seattle set a franchise record for points. The Seahawks forced eight turnovers. Richard Sherman and Bobby Wagner each had two interceptions.

Seattle (8-5) kept firm grasp on the final NFC wild-card spot and kept alive slim chances of catching San Francisco in the NFC West. The Seahawks also picked up their first division victory and assured coach Pete Carroll of his first eight-win season in three years with the team.

The 58-0 victory was the biggest shutout in Seattle's history.

Arizona (4-9) was shut out for the first time since 2003 against Seattle. The effortless performance will only raise questions about Ken Whisenhunt's future as coach. Arizona lost its ninth straight overall.

``I apologize to our fans and everyone associated with our organization. That was embarrassing,'' Whisenhunt said.

PACKERS 27, LIONS 20

DaJuan Harris rushed for a score in his first game for the Packers, Aaron Rodgers added the longest TD run of his career, and Mike Daniels returned a fumble 43 yards as the Packers (9-4) opened that one-game lead over Chicago.

The Packers have won 22 straight at home against the Lions, the longest streak in the NFL.

The loss was the fifth straight for Detroit (4-9). Though this wasn't quite as excruciating as the previous three, when the Lions gave up fourth-quarter leads and fell by a total of nine points.

VIKINGS 21, BEARS 14

At Minneapolis, Adrian Peterson rushed for 154 yards and two touchdowns and Harrison Smith returned an interception for a score.

Peterson topped 100 yards before the first quarter was over, helping the Vikings (7-6) remain viable in the NFC wild-card picture.

``The guy's unbelievable. I don't know if he's human or not,'' Minnesota quarterback Christian Ponder said of Peterson, who wrecked his left knee last December, yet leads the NFL in rushing.

Jay Cutler threw for 260 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions and couldn't finish the game for the Bears (8-5), who have lost four of their last five. He took a wicked hit to the head from Everson Griffen in the fourth quarter and hurt his neck.

COLTS 27, TITANS 23

At Indianapolis, Andrew Luck led the Colts (9-4) back from a 13-point second-half deficit and Adam Vinatieri made two fourth-quarter field goals. Luck has now engineered six fourth-quarter comebacks for Indy, which has a two-game edge in the AFC wild-card race and still can win the AFC South.

Delone Carter cut the deficit to 20-14 with a 1-yard run on Indy's opening possession of the second half. And after Pat McAfee's 52-yard punt went out of bounds at the Titans 1-yard line, Cassius Vaughn jumped in front of Nate Washington, picked off Jake Locker's pass and scored on a 3-yard interception return to make it 21-20.

Rob Bironas gave the Titans (4-9) a 23-21 lead with a 25-yard field goal, but Vinatieri hit from 53 yards to retake the lead and from 40 to seal it.

PANTHERS 30, FALCONS 20

At Charlotte, Cam Newton threw for 287 yards and two touchdowns and scored on a 72-yard run. Newton piled up a career-high 116 yards on the ground, becoming the first NFL player with 250 yards passing, 100 rushing, a TD pass and a TD run.

The Panthers (4-9) racked up 475 total yards to avenge an early season loss to the Falcons. Matt Ryan, who they felt disrespected them after Atlanta's 30-28 come-from-behind win in September, threw for 342 yards and two scores and had a costly fourth-quarter interception for Atlanta (11-2).

EAGLES 23, BUCCANEERS 21

At Tampa, Nick Foles threw two touchdown passes in the final 4 minutes, including a 1-yarder to Jeremy Maclin with no time remaining. The Eagles (4-9) ended an eight-game losing streak - their longest in 42 years.

Foles completed 32 of 51 passes for 381 yards in his fourth start in place of the injured Michael Vick. The rookie threw an 11-yard TD pass to Clay Harbor with 3:55 remaining, then led the Eagles on a 64-yard winning drive.

Doug Martin rushed for 128 yards for Tampa Bay (6-7), which damaged itself in the NFC wild-card chase.

RAMS 15, BILLS 12

At Orchard Park, N.Y., Sam Bradford threw a 13-yard touchdown pass to Brandon Gibson with 48 seconds left, capping an 84-yard drive. St. Louis (6-6-1) continued its late-season resurgence by winning its third straight for the first time since closing the 2006 season with three victories.

The Bills (5-8) blew a lead in the final minute of the fourth quarter for the second time this season.

JETS 17, JAGUARS 10

At Jacksonville, Shonn Greene and Bilal Powell ran for short touchdowns and the Jets (6-7) kept their slim postseason hopes alive. Mark Sanchez, benched last week in a 7-6 win against Arizona, was hardly a factor. Neither was backup Tim Tebow, who spent his homecoming on the sideline.

Greene scored on a 1-yard plunge in the third quarter, and Powell added a 4-yarder early in the fourth. Greene finished with 77 yards rushing. Powell added 78 yards on the ground against the Jaguars (2-11).

BROWNS 30, CHIEFS 7

At Cleveland, rookie Travis Benjamin's 93-yard punt return touchdown sparked the Browns to their third straight win. The Browns (5-8) have one more win than last season, and their longest winning streak since 2009.

Trent Richardson had a pair of 1-yard TD runs for Cleveland. Jamaal Charles ran for 165 yards, breaking off an 80-yard TD run on the game's first play for Kansas City (2-11).

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Offensive, defensive and rookie of the year awards for Ravens' 2017 season

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USA Today Sports

Offensive, defensive and rookie of the year awards for Ravens' 2017 season

The Ravens' season had it's ups and down, but out of it came some bright spots.

The defense continued to prove dominate and the offense found its groove during the second half of the season, but who stood out the most?

Offensive MVP: RB Alex Collins

Collins was a late preseason pickup after being cut by the Seattle Seahawks and Ravens fans are grateful they let him go. After new acquisition Danny Woodhead injured his hamstring on the first drive in Week 1 and Terrance West injured his calf Week 5 in Oakland, Allen emerged as a saving grace. He finished the season with 973 yards, six touchdowns and 212 attempts averaging 4.6 yards-per-carry. His longest rushing attempt was 50-yards against the Steelers in Week 4, and then in Week 14, rushed 120-yards on their defense. 

RELATED: RAVENS' 2018 NFL MOCK DRAFT ROUNDUP

Defensive MVP: OLB Terrell Suggs

This one was a toss up between Suggs and inside linebacker C.J. Mosley, but considering the level at which Sizzle is playing at in his 15th season, his 2017 performance is MVP worthy.

The 35-year old finished the season with 49 combined tackles, 12 assist, 11 sacks and four forced fumbles. Suggs ranks 11th in the league in sacks and was voted to his seventh Pro Bowl, something that should be expected from the leader of a defense that finished the regular season ranked sixth in points allowed. During the Ravens' Week 12 matchup, Suggs proved he doesn't age when he strip sacked Texans QB Tom Savage with 4:44 remaining in the fourth, shifting the momentum back to the Ravens who were clinging on to a 23-16 win. He's suffered two Achilles tears and a torn bicep over the last 5.5 seasons but has remained Hall of Fame worthy. As of right now, T-Sizzle has no plans of retiring. 

RELATED: FIVE OFFSEASON QUESTIONS RAVENS MUST ANSWER

Rookie of the Year: CB Marlon Humphrey

The Ravens' 2017 first-round pick stepped up to the plate when starting CB Jimmy Smith's season was over after suffering a torn Achilles in Week 13. The rookie out of Alabama finished the season with 34 combined tackles, four assists and two interceptions. Pro Football Focus graded Humphrey the fifth-best cover corner in the league. QBs only had a 53.5 rating when they threw in his direction. PFF also gave Humphrey a 82.7 rookie rating. 

Humphrey will continue to prove his worth during the 2018 season if Jimmy Smith is still recovering come Week 1.

RELATED: IMPORTANT 2018 OFFSEASON DATES

Special Teams MVP: P Sam Koch

Koch is in his 12th season with the Ravens and he's continuing to prove how efficient that leg of his is. He had a season long of 67-yards and placed 40 of 84 punts inside the 20-yard line. Koch's accuracy earned him AFC special teams player of the week not once, but twice this season. The first came in Week 12 against the Houston Texans when he not only placed five punts inside the 20-yard line, but also faked a punt and threw a 22-yard pass to Chris Moore for a first down. The second honor came in Week 15 against the Cleveland Browns after placing four punts inside the 20-yard line, three of them inside the five. While neither Koch or kicker Justin Tucker were named to the Pro Bowl, Ravens fans never break a sweat when the game is in their hands, or should we say, legs.

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Important 2018 offseason dates for Baltimore Ravens

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USA Today Sports

Important 2018 offseason dates for Baltimore Ravens

Mark your calendars now because the Ravens are already gearing up for their 2018 season.

From the Pro-Bowl all the way to the start of the regular season, here are the key dates.

January 28th: Pro Bowl, Orlando, Fla. 

Safety Eric Weddle, outside linebacker Terrell Suggs and inside linebacker C.J. Mosley will all be in attendance. In addition, Suggs and Weddle were named starters. The game will take place at Camping World Stadium. Kickoff is at 3:00 p.m. ET on ABC and ESPN.

February 3rd: Pro Football Hall of Fame 2018 Class announced

This will be a very important day for Ray Lewis and the Ravens organization as Lewis waits to here if he will be sealed into football history, one day prior to Super Bowl LII. 

February 5th: Waiver system takes effect

The waiver system allows players' contracts or a club's NFL rights to a player available to other clubs in the league. Upon doing this, the other 31 teams can place a claim to obtain him or waive their chance. During this 24- hour period, once a club waives a player it can not take the player back or change his status. Assignments are based upon draft order until the third week of the regular season. If a player does not get claimed, he becomes a free agent. 

February 20th:  First day to franchise or transition tag a player

February 27th- March 5th: NFL Scouting Combine, Indianapolis, IN

This seven day period will be crucial for General Manager Ozzie Newsome to get a good look at potential Ravens.

March 6th: Deadline to franchise or transition tag a player

March 12-14th: Teams are allowed to contact and negotiate with agents of players scheduled to become unrestricted free agents

March 14th: Start of new league year at 4:00 p.m. ET

At this time, all 2017 player contracts expire meaning teams can begin seeking and signing free agents. Ravens free agents include Mike Wallace, Benjamin Watson, Ryan Jensen, Terrance West, James Hurst, Michael Campanaro, Steven Johnson, Ryan Mallet, Brandon Boykin, Crockett Gillmore, Brent Urban and Luke Bowanko.

March 25-28th: Owners Meeting, Orlando, FL

April 16th: Voluntary OTA's can begin

April 20th: Deadline for restricted FA's to sign offer sheets

April 26th-28th: 2018 NFL Draft, Arlington, TX

The Ravens will be heading down to Arlington, Texas in hopes of picking up their next franchise player. Positions needed include wide receiver, tight end, quarterback and outside linebacker.

May 4-7th or 11-14th: Potential three-day rookie minicamp

May 31-June 2nd: Ravens Beach Bash, Ocean City, MD

July 16th: Deadline to get long-term deal done with designated franchise tag player 

Mid-Late July: Training camp begins

August 2nd: Hall of Fame Game, Canton, OH

August 4th: Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony, Canton, OH

Again, keep this date marked as it could be the day Ray Lewis is inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

September 6th: Start of regular season