Ravens and Jets make playoffs, Steelers eliminated

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NEW YORK (Reuters) - The Baltimore Ravens and New York Jets wrapped up playoff berths on the final day of the regular season on Sunday but the Super Bowl champion Pittsburgh Steelers were not as fortunate.

The Ravens (9-7) used a 21-13 win over the Oakland Raiders (5-11) to grab one of two AFC wild card spots and end the slim post-season hopes of the Steelers (9-7), who had earlier beaten the Miami Dolphins (7-9) 30-24.

"It's been a tough road," Ravens coach John Harbaugh told reporters. "We have suffered our share of disappointments (but) our players and coaches made it happen under difficult circumstances."

The Jets (9-7) clinched their postseason spot with a 37-0 victory over the playoff-bound Cincinnati Bengals (10-6) in the final game of the NFL regular season.

"At 4-6 (record) to start with, we had a mission with our team," said Jets coach Rex Ryan of the team's up-and-down season. "We said 'impossible.' Then it went to improbable, then it went back to impossible, then it became inevitable."

The victory set up a postseason rematch with the Bengals in Cincinnati on Saturday.

"We definitely are not satisfied," said Ryan. "This is just the start."

Baltimore will play at New England in the other AFC wildcard game on Sunday, January 10.

The other NFC playoff game will have the Arizona Cardinals (10-6) hosting the Green Bay Packers (11-5) in another rematch on Sunday. Green Bay crushed Arizona 33-7 on Sunday as the Cardinals, like a number of teams, rested most of their starters.

The Minnesota Vikings (12-4) rolled to a 44-7 victory over the New York Giants (8-8) to join the top-seeded New Orleans Saints with NFC first-round byes.

The Saints (13-3) dropped a 23-10 decision to the Carolina Panthers (8-8) that did not affect their playoff status.


Seven AFC teams went into the final day with a chance of grabbing the conference's two wildcard berths.

Defeats eliminated Denver, Jacksonville and Miami with Pittsburgh and Houston going out despite final-day wins.

Denver (8-8) fell 44-24 to the Kansas City Chiefs (4-12) and Jacksonville (7-9) lost 23-17 to Cleveland (5-11).

Houston's surprising Texans (9-7) defeated the New England Patriots (10-6) 34-27 but were eliminated by the Jets' win over the Bengals.

Patriots leading receiver Wes Welker most likely tore both the anterior cruciate ligament and medial collateral ligaments in his left knee in the loss, the Boston Globe reported quoting a source. Patriots officials said they had no update on the injury, which, if as serious as reported, would end Welker's season.

Indianapolis (14-2), the AFC's top seed, dropped a 30-7 decision to the Buffalo Bills (6-10) in a game that did not affect the Colts' playoff status. The Colts will have home field advantage throughout the AFC postseason.

The conference's number two seed San Diego (13-3) rallied for a 23-20 win over Washington (4-12) in what is likely to be Redskins coach Jim Zorn's final game with local media reporting they expect him to be fired on Monday.

(Reporting by Gene Cherry in Salvo, North Carolina; Editing by Greg Stutchbury/Nick Mulvenney)