BALTIMORE -- Logan Ryan had two interceptions, LeGarrette Blount scored twice and the playoff-bound New England Patriots breezed past Baltimore 41-7 Sunday, ending the Ravens’ four-game winning streak and diminishing the postseason hopes of the defending Super Bowl champions.
This rematch of the AFC championship game was a mismatch from the outset. New England took a 17-0 lead early in the second quarter and never let up behind a defense that forced four turnovers and had four sacks.
The Patriots (11-4) were assured their fifth straight AFC East title before the game started when Miami lost at Buffalo. It’s the 11th division crown for New England coach Bill Belichick, tied with Don Shula for most since the 1970 merger.
The loss eliminated the Ravens (8-7) from contention in the AFC North and dropped them into a tie with Miami and San Diego for the final AFC wild-card slot. Baltimore closes the regular season at Cincinnati, which displaced the Ravens as division champs.
PANTHERS 17, SAINTS 13
CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Cam Newton threw a 14-yard touchdown pass to Domenik Hixon with 23 seconds left to lift the Panthers to the team’s first playoff berth since 2008. Carolina (11-4) can wrap up the NFC South and a first-round bye with a win next Sunday at Atlanta.
BENGALS 42, VIKINGS 14
CINCINNATI -- Vincent Rey returned an interception 25 yards for a touchdown as Cincinnati’s defense set up another fast start. Andy Dalton threw four touchdown passes.
The Bengals (10-5) remained perfect at home and clinched an unprecedented third straight playoff appearance when Miami lost at Buffalo. In his past four home games, Dalton has thrown for five, three, three and four touchdowns. The Bengals have topped 40 points in each of their past four home games, a club record.
CHIEFS 23, COLTS 7
KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Andrew Luck threw for 241 yards and a touchdown, Donald Brown ran 51 yards for another score in a potential preview of an AFC wild-card game.
The Colts (10-5), who have already wrapped up the AFC South, took advantage of four turnovers by the Chiefs (11-4) to win for the fifth time in their last six tries against Kansas City.
If Indianapolis ends up as the No. 4 seed in the playoffs -- the Chiefs are assured the fifth seed -- the teams will meet again in the warmer environs of Lucas Oil Stadium.
BILLS 19, DOLPHINS 0
ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. -- The Dolphins had a three-game winning streak snapped and are in jeopardy of missing the playoffs for a fifth consecutive season. With the loss, Miami (8-7) needs help from other teams. Miami hosts the New York Jets next weekend.
The Dolphins’ loss clinched the AFC East for New England.
Kyle Williams had two of Buffalo’s season-best seven sacks to key a stifling defensive performance.
COWBOYS 24, REDSKINS 23
LANDOVER, Md. -- Tony Romo recovered from a bad interception and rallied the Cowboys from a nine-point, fourth-quarter deficit. He found DeMarco Murray for a 10-yard touchdown pass on fourth down with 1:08 remaining.
The victory ended a two-game Dallas skid -- as well as a five-game December losing streak -- and sets up a winner-take-all regular season finale for the NFC East title next week, when the Cowboys (8-7) host the Philadelphia Eagles.
RAMS 23, BUCCANEERS 13
ST. LOUIS -- Robert Quinn got three of St. Louis’ seven sacks and set a franchise season record. Quinn leads the NFL with 18 sacks. He broke Kevin Carter’s franchise record of 17 in that 1999 Super Bowl title season.
JETS 24, BROWNS 13
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- Geno Smith threw two touchdown passes to David Nelson and ran for another score. Smith had his first game with at least two TD passes since October, with no turnovers or sacks. The rookie was 20 of 36 for 214 yards and also ran for 48 yards -- including a 17-yard scoring scamper in the fourth quarter.
TITANS 20, JAGUARS 16
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Nate Washington scored on a 30-yard reception in the fourth quarter and Tennessee got a much-needed defensive stop late to end a three-game losing streak.
Tennessee (6-9) overcame a 10-point deficit in the second half and won for just the third time since September. Washington finished with six catches for 117 yards.
The Jaguars (4-11) were in position to take the lead after that, but Ropati Pitoitua stuffed Maurice Jones-Drew on a fourth-and-1 play at the Tennessee 20 with 5:21 remaining.
The highlight for the Jaguars came when Jacksonville honored retiring center Brad Meester with a reception.