Patriots in playoffs, Falcons on the verge

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Visiting Philadelphia (9-4) ended a three-game skid to its NFC East rival and moved a half-game ahead of the Giants in the division race. Dallas (4-9) fell behind in the opening minutes, yet kept it close and even led 20-14. But Philadelphia was relentless, dropping the Cowboys to 3-2 under interim coach Jason Garrett. They are guaranteed their first losing season since 2004.

Jackson’s performance helped mask an otherwise rocky outing by Michael Vick: two interceptions, matching his season total, and trouble converting on third downs. Dallas sacked him twice and blasted him with hard hits all night, including one that drew a penalty for a helmet-to-helmet hit.

Lions 7, Packers 3(equals)

At Detroit, Drew Stanton threw a 13-yard touchdown pass to Will Heller midway through the fourth quarter, and Green Bay couldn’t come back without an injured Aaron Rodgers.

Detroit (3-10) snapped a five-game losing streak and a 19-game skid against the NFC North, the NFL’s worst slump within a division since the merger four decades ago.

Green Bay (8-5) lost Rodgers, knocked out in the second quarter with his second concussion this season. Matt Flynn couldn’t compensate.

Saints 31, Rams 13(equals)

At New Orleans, Dew Brees threw for three scores, Malcolm Jenkins returned one of his two interceptions 96 yards for his first career touchdown, and New Orleans won its sixth straight game.

Marques Colston had a pair of touchdown catches in traffic as the Saints (10-3) raced to a 14-0 lead and never trailed. Lance Moore made a 31-yard touchdown catch.

Brees finished 25 of 40 for 221 yards and was intercepted twice.

Rookie QB Sam Bradford scored the only touchdown on a short keeper for the Rams (6-7).

Chargers 31, Chiefs 0(equals)

At San Diego, Philip Rivers threw two touchdown passes to Malcom Floyd. The four-time defending AFC West champion Chargers (7-6) pulled within one game of the Chiefs (8-5). Rivers was 18 of 24 for 226 yards and the Chargers outgained the Chiefs 426 yards to 67. Kansas City had only five first downs. It was San Diego’s first regular-season shutout against the Chiefs, who played without quarterback Matt Cassel, who didn’t travel after having an emergency appendectomy Wednesday.

Cassel’s backup Brodie Croyle completed 7 of 17 passes for 40 yards and was sacked four times in his first start since the 2009 opener.

Dolphins 10, Jets 6(equals)

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