New York — FOOTBALL
Detroit and Atlanta are in, Philadelphia and Chicago are out, Cincinnati is closing in on a playoff berth, and the New York Jets and Oakland need some help.
With one game remaining — Atlanta at New Orleans on Monday night — before teams hunker down for their finales next week, the most notable news was made by Detroit.
The last time the Lions were a force, Barry Sanders was in their backfield. Sanders retired after the 1998 season, and Detroit made the postseason the next year then plummeted to the bottom of the league. In 2008, the Lions posted the only 0-16 record in NFL history. Now, they're in the chase for the championship. Their 38-10 rout of San Diego on Saturday secured an NFC wild card.
At 10-5, the Lions join North champion Green Bay, West winner San Francisco, South leader New Orleans, and the Atlanta in the postseason parade. Either Dallas or the New York Giants also will get there — they meet Sunday night at the Meadowlands in a winner-take-all matchup for the NFC East title.
So if the Cowboys and Giants, both 8-7, are battling for the NFC East crown, where does that leave the Eagles (7-8)? Dreaming of the playoffs.
The Bengals (9-6) are in control in the AFC wild-card race, but if they lose to Baltimore (11-4), which needs a victory to clinch the AFC North over Pittsburgh (also 11-4), it brings three other teams into play for the final berth: Tennessee, Oakland and the New York Jets.
LANDOVER, Md. (AP) — Minnesota running back Adrian Peterson tore a ligament in his left knee Saturday after taking a direct hit in the Vikings' 33-26 victory over Washington.
The torn ACL would likely sideline Peterson for some nine months and make it difficult for him to return for the start of next season.
On the play after Peterson was hurt, Minnesota's Christian Ponder sustained a head injury when sacked by Adam Carriker and London Fletcher. Ponder remained in the game for one more play — a third-down incomplete pass — before heading to the locker room. Coach Leslie Frazier said Ponder had "concussion-like symptoms."