Cowboys rout Eagles for NFC East title; Ravens in playoffs

The Associated Press ~ staff The News
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Dallas won a division title, Baltimore earned a wild-card spot, the Super Bowl champs headed home, and the NFL's last playoff spot went down to the final game.
Next week's first round will include at least two rematches of games Sunday, and possibly three. The playoffs won't include the defending champion Pittsburgh Steelers.
While Tony Romo and the Cowboys romped over Philadelphia 24-0 to help set the NFC matchups, the AFC pairings still were unsettled.
The Ravens (9-7) grabbed one AFC wild-card spot when they beat Oakland 21-13, leaving only Houston and the New York Jets in contention for the other berth.
That left it all up to Sunday night's game between Cincinnati and the Jets at the frigid Meadowlands. New York gets a wild-card berth with a victory, the Texans get it with a Cincinnati win. A Jets victory guarantees they play at Cincinnati in the first round.
This much was certain: no cold-weather games in the second round. Hosts Minnesota, New Orleans and Indianapolis play inside domes, and San Diego is the other site.
For the second straight year, the Eagles-Cowboys showdown was a rout. This time, Dallas did the damage.
The Cowboys won the NFC East by defeating Philadelphia 24-0. The teams will meet again next weekend at Cowboys Stadium in the wild-card round. Dallas swept Philadelphia this season to earn the division crown, dropping the Eagles to the sixth seed, both at 11-5.
A year ago, the Eagles kept the Cowboys out of the post-season with a 44-6 victory in the season finale. That gave Philly a wild-card spot and the Eagles rode it to the NFC title game, where they led late before Arizona rallied to advance to the Super Bowl.
Kurt Warner and the Cardinals will host the Packers next weekend after Green Bay (11-5) beat them 33-7 Sunday. Arizona (10-6), the NFC's third seed a year ago, will be No. 4 this time.
Baltimore, which began the season 3-0 - as did the Jets - will be at either New England or Cincinnati in the wild-card round.
Minnesota's 44-7 blitz of the New York Giants gave Brett Favre and the Vikings (12-4) a first-round bye. New Orleans (13-3) is the NFC's No. 1 seed, but lost its final three games.
"I think it's proof of what we're capable of doing," said Favre, who completed 25 of 31 passes for 316 yards and four touchdowns in less than three quarters without a turnover. "Where it takes us from here, I have no idea. But it was definitely a momentum boost and confidence."
Indianapolis, which dropped its last two games, is the AFC's top seed at 14-2. San Diego (13-3) also has a bye and won its final 11 games.
Houston has never been to the playoffs and its 9-7 record this year makes for its first winning season. It beat AFC East winner New England 34-27 Sunday.
The Bengals already own the AFC North and were resting some regulars, including running back Cedric Benson, for the night matchup with the Jets.
Out of the playoffs are the Steelers, who finished 9-7 but lost out on tiebreakers.
"I'd rather we go out with a win than a loss," said Ben Roethlisberger, who threw three touchdown passes in a 30-24 win at Miami.

Organizations: Ravens, New York Jets, Cowboys NFL Eagles-Cowboys Cardinals New York Giants Vikings Bengals Steelers

Geographic location: Dallas, Cincinnati, Baltimore Minnesota New Orleans Indianapolis San Diego Houston Arizona Meadowlands New York Cowboys Stadium Philadelphia Green Bay New England Miami

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