Baltimore clinch AFC North title and top seed in play-offs with Miami mauling

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The Baltimore Ravens underlined their Super Bowl credentials with a crushing 56-19 victory over closest AFC conference rivals the Miami Dolphins.

The Ravens, Super Bowl winners in 2000 and 2012, secured top seeding from the AFC and will have a bye when the opening play-off matches take place.

Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson was in imperious form as his team scored eight touchdowns, including two for tight end Isaiah Likely.

Top seeding in the NFC was confirmed for the San Francisco 49ers – the first time since 2019 – following a 27-10 success against the Washington Commanders, but there were also a number of close encounters during the regular season’s penultimate round.

James Conner’s touchdown with just 32 seconds remaining saw the Arizona Cardinals shock the stuttering Philadelphia Eagles 35-31 after it looked as though Jake Elliott’s 43-yard field goal would be enough for the hosts, who had led 21-6 at the start of the second half.

The Indianapolis Colts, meanwhile, pipped the Las Vegas Raiders 23-20, and Josh Allen claimed two touchdowns as the Buffalo Bills edged out the New England Patriots 27-21.

It was even closer between the New York Giants and the Los Angeles Rams, with the Rams claiming a 26-25 verdict thanks to Kyren Williams’ trio of touchdowns.

Elsewhere, the New Orleans Saints saw off the Tampa Bay Buccaneers 23-13 to join the NFC South leaders with 8-8 records, the Houston Texans defeated the Tennessee Titans 26-3, the Jacksonville Jaguars were 26-0 victors over the Carolina Panthers and the Chicago Bears brushed aside the Atlanta Falcons 37-17.

Jacksonville, Indianapolis and Houston now all have 9-7 records in the AFC South, while Carolina’s loss means Chicago will own the first overall pick in the 2024 NFL Draft for the second successive year.

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