Sun sets on NY Giants' Super Bowl defence
Updated: Sunday, 30 Dec 2012 23:11
The New York Giants’ Super Bowl defence is over after they failed to make the postseason.
The Giants beat the Philadelphia Eagles 42-7 in their final regular-season match, but results elsewhere saw their slim play-off hopes dashed.
The Giants (9-7) needed to beat the Eagles (4-12) and have other results go their way, but Chicago's win in Detroit ensured Tom Coughlin's side could not qualify for the post-season.
Jay Cutler threw for 257 yards and a touchdown and helped seal the game with a late 19-yard run as the Bears kept their own play-off hopes alive, for now, with a 26-24 win over the Lions.
Chicago (10-6) still need the Minnesota Vikings to lose to the Green Bay Packers to reach the post-season.
Elsewhere, the Atlanta Falcons could not follow through with their plan to gain momentum for the play-offs as they went down 22-17 to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
The Falcons (13-3) had little to play for as they already have home-field advantage throughout the NFC play-offs.
Andrew Luck threw for two touchdowns and Deji Karim scored a 101-yard kick-off return in the third quarter as the Indianapolis Colts beat the Houston Texans 28-16.
In Chuck Pagano's first game back as coach since starting treatment for leukaemia in September, the Colts (11-5) headed into the play-offs as the number five seeds.
The Texans (12-4) have lost three of their last four games and saw JJ Watt fail to break Michael Strahan's single-season sacks record.
Tennessee became the first team in NFL history with two players scoring twice on returns in a game as the Titans (6-10) beat the Jacksonville Jaguars 38-20.
Darius Reynaud scored on two punt returns and rookie linebacker Zach Brown returned two interceptions for touchdowns.
The Jaguars (2-14) wrapped up their worst season with their 12th loss in 13 games.
CJ Spiller scored on a 66-yard catch and run as the Buffalo Bills beat the New York Jets 28-9, with both sides ending the season with a 6-10 record.
The Pittsburgh Steelers (8-8) at least avoided their first losing season in almost a decade with a 24-10 victory over the Cleveland Browns (5-11), while the Cincinnati Bengals secured a 23-17 victory over the Baltimore Ravens in a game that did not matter much to either team.
The Ravens (10-6) had already clinched their second straight AFC North title, while the Bengals (10-6) were locked into the sixth seed as the final wild-card team.
A high-scoring encounter in New Orleans saw the Saints beaten 44-38 by the Carolina Panthers as both teams ended the season 7-9.