Falcons, Steelers clinch NFL playoff spots

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The Atlanta Falcons and Pittsburgh Steelers have clinched playoff berths, and neither team even needed to win.

Atlanta gets in because the Philadelphia Eagles rallied to beat the New York Giants 38-31 on Sunday. With their 34-18 victory at Seattle, the Falcons are 12-2 and first in the NFC South. At worst, they will be a wild card, but they have a two-game lead in the division over New Orleans, which lost at Baltimore 30-24. A win next week at home over the Saints will give the Falcons the division title.

Despite a 22-17 loss to the New York Jets, the Steelers (10-4) were told by the NFL nearly an hour after the game ended that they secured a playoff spot via a series of complicated strength-of-schedule tiebreakers.

Jacksonville could have clinched the AFC South, but lost at Indianapolis 34-24. The Colts and Jaguars are tied at 8-6.

THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. Check back soon for further information. AP’s earlier story is below.

The Atlanta Falcons are the only team to clinch a playoff berth Sunday, despite possibilities for six other clubs.

And they didn’t even need to take the field.

Atlanta gets in because the Philadelphia Eagles rallied to beat the New York Giants 38-31. With their 34-18 victory at Seattle, the Falcons are 12-2 and first in the NFC South. At worst, they will be a wild card, but they have a two-game lead in the division over New Orleans, which lost at Baltimore 30-24. A win next week at home over the Saints will give the Falcons the division title.

Jacksonville could have clinched the AFC South, but lost at Indianapolis 34-24. The Colts and Jaguars are tied at 8-6.

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