Sun sets on NY Giants' Super Bowl defence
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.