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Ravens beat Bengals 24-16 for AFC North title

Posted: January 02, 2012 2:37 PM ; Updated: January 03, 2012 10:27 AM

CINCINNATI (AP) -- Standing in the raucous Ravens locker room, Dennis Pitta slipped the blue AFC North Champions cap onto his head and tugged it tight.

"The hat fits great," the tight end decided.

Not just great, but perfect.

Baltimore finished a perfect run through the division on Sunday night, beating the Cincinnati Bengals 24-16 for its third AFC North title behind Ray Rice 's two long touchdown runs.

The Ravens (12-4) ran off the field with helmets raised in celebration, slipped into their championship shirts and caps, then headed home - the only place they want to be at this time of the year.

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Tebow, Broncos in playoffs despite 7-3 loss to KC

Posted: January 02, 2012 2:27 PM ; Updated: January 03, 2012 10:27 AM

DENVER (AP) -- Even in defeat, Tim Tebow came out a winner.

Tebow fell short in his latest comeback bid, yet his Denver Broncos still made it the playoffs Sunday.

As the AFC West champions, no less. Meaning more Tebowmania, at least for another week.

Former Denver quarterback Kyle Orton got his revenge in leading the Kansas City Chiefs over the Broncos 7-3. But the Broncos wound up in the postseason anyway when San Diego knocked off Oakland minutes later.

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Brady leads Pats to top seed, beats Bills 49-21

Posted: January 01, 2012 5:45 PM ; Updated: January 01, 2012 5:45 PM

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. (AP) -- Falling behind means nothing to Tom Brady and the New England Patriots . And because no deficit seems too big for them, the Patriots own home-field advantage throughout the AFC playoffs.

Brady led the Patriots back from three touchdowns as they scored 49 straight points for a 49-21 victory over the Buffalo Bills on Sunday.

Brady finished the regular season with the second most yards passing in NFL history, 5,235, after throwing for 338. Drew Brees , who last week broke Dan Marino's record of 5,084 with the Miami Dolphins in 1984, added 389 Sunday for the Saints and ended with 5,486.

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Miami knocks Jets out of playoff race, 19-17

Posted: January 01, 2012 5:41 PM ; Updated: January 01, 2012 5:41 PM

MIAMI (AP) -- -The New York Jets will sit out the playoffs, and that's guaranteed.

The Jets failed to fulfill coach Rex Ryan's pledge to win a Super Bowl title, with Sunday's 19-17 loss at Miami eliminating them from the chase for an AFC wild-card berth.

Mark Sanchez threw three interceptions, the last coming with the Jets threatening to take a late lead. They gave up six third-down conversions during the Dolphins' 21-play, 94-yard drive for their only touchdown.

The Jets (8-8) came into the game needing a win along with losses by three other teams to reach the playoffs. Instead, they finished the season with three consecutive defeats, a big step backward for a team that reached the AFC championship game each of the past two years.

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Colts lose finale, win Luck sweepstakes

Posted: January 01, 2012 5:39 PM ; Updated: January 01, 2012 5:39 PM

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (AP) -- Peyton Manning might be welcoming Andrew Luck to the Indianapolis Colts in four months.

The Colts locked up the top pick in April's NFL draft, setting the stage to select the Stanford quarterback. They fell to 2-14 when Maurice Jones-Drew ran for a season-high 169 yards, clinching the NFL rushing title and breaking Fred Taylor 's single-season franchise record in the Jacksonville Jaguars ' 19-13 victory Sunday.

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Manat Kaur