Redskins in NFL playoffs as East champions
By Barry Wilner
08:14 AEST Tue Jan 1 2013

The Washington Redskins are heading to the NFL playoffs as NFC East champions, clinching the title with a 28-18 victory over the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday, the final day of the regular season.

By winning their seventh straight game, the Redskins rolled to their first division title in 13 years. Next up for rookie quarterback Robert Griffin III and co. is a home playoff match next Sunday with the Seattle Seahawks - the third straight post-season game for Washington against that team.

"It's just a mindset change," Griffin said. "When you have all these guys coming to work every day, putting it on the line, we knew we couldn't afford to lose one game - we made sure we didn't."

Thanks to Houston's late-season slump, Denver and New England will have byes when the AFC playoffs begin next week.

The Texans fell from first to third in the conference on Sunday when they lost 28-16 at Indianapolis, who welcomed back coach Chuck Pagano after almost three months' treatment for leukemia.

AFC West champion Denver won their 11th straight game, 38-3 over Kansas City to secure the top seed. New England blanked Miami 28-0 for the second spot.

Minnesota edged Green Bay 37-34 to grab the final NFC wildcard, sinking the Packers to the third seed. Those teams will meet again next Saturday at Lambeau Field.

The other NFC match-up will have Seattle, who beat St Louis 20-13, at Washington on Sunday.

Cincinnati will be at Houston on Saturday, and Indianapolis go to Baltimore on Sunday in the AFC wildcard rounds.

The divisional round games will be hosted by Denver and San Francisco on January 12. The following day, Atlanta will host the early game, followed by New England.

Denver's Peyton Manning threw for three touchdowns as the Broncos routed the Chiefs. New England secured the second seed despite having the same record as Houston because they beat the Texans, who lost three of their final four games.

Minnesota's Adrian Peterson had 199 yards against the Packers, finishing with 2097 for the season, just short of the single-season rushing record of 2105. But it was rookie kicker Blair Walsh who won the game with a 29-yard field goal as time expired.

Green Bay would have been seeded second in the NFC if they had beaten Minnesota.

The Ravens had a chance to move up to the AFC's third seed with a win and a New England loss. But Baltimore lost 23-17 at Cincinnati.

The defending Super Bowl champion New York Giants are out of contention. When Chicago beat Detroit 26-24, the Giants were eliminated, even though they routed Philadelphia 42-7.

"It hurts," said Eli Manning. "Each year you want to make the playoffs to give yourself an opportunity to win a championship; 9-7 last year was good enough. It wasn't good enough this year and we knew it wouldn't be."

Minnesota's win eliminated Chicago.

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