Tom Brady tossed a season-high four touchdowns and became the fourth quarterback in NFL history to complete 6,000 career passes as the New England Patriots clinched at least the No. 2 seed by cruising to a 38-3 victory over the visiting New York Jets on Sunday.
New England (11-5) clinched a bye for the 13th time in the Bill Belichick-Brady era since 2001 and the ninth straight season. The Kansas City Chiefs beat the Oakland Raiders later Sunday to clinch the top seed in the AFC playoffs and lock the Patriots in to the No. 2 seed.
Brady reached his 6,000th career completion on a 5-yard pass to Chris Hogan with 11:40 remaining. He joined Drew Brees (6,586), Brett Favre (6,300) and Peyton Manning (6,125) as the only players in NFL history to reach that milestone.
The Jets (4-12) finished the season by losing nine of their last 10 games and likely will fire coach Todd Bowles with two years remaining on his contract. The Jets are 24-40 under Bowles, who took over in 2015 following Rex Ryan.
Texans 20, Jaguars 3
Deshaun Watson capped his second season with a unique statistical accomplishment and host Houston claimed its third AFC South title in four seasons with a victory over woeful Jacksonville, becoming the second team to earn a division title after starting a season 0-3.
With 234 passing yards plus another 66 yards on the ground with a touchdown, Watson is the first quarterback in NFL history to total 4,000 yards (4,165) and at least 25 touchdowns (26) passing while rushing for 500 yards (551) with another five touchdowns on the ground.
Led by defensive end J.J. Watt, the Texans (11-5) harassed Jacksonville quarterback Blake Bortles throughout what likely was his last appearance with the Jaguars (5-11). Watt recorded 1 1/2 of the three sacks of Bortles, closing his season with 16. Watt and Hall of Fame member Reggie White are the only players in NFL history with four 15-plus sack seasons.
Cowboys 36, Giants 35
Dak Prescott threw four touchdowns passes and completed a two-point conversion to Michael Gallup with 1:12 left to lift Dallas Cowboys past host New York.
Prescott, who threw for 387 yards, completed a 32-yard touchdown pass in the back of the end zone to Cole Beasley on fourth-and-15 to set up the two-point conversion. Originally, Beasley was called out of bounds on the field, but after review was ruled to have gotten his knee down before his elbows landed out of bounds.
Though running back Ezekiel Elliott sat out the game, Dallas played most of its starters and heads into the postseason having won seven of eight games. The Cowboys (10-6) earned the fourth seed in the playoffs and will host Seattle at AT&T Stadium next weekend. The Giants finish the season 5-11.
Lions 31, Packers 0
Detroit blasted listless Green Bay, ending the season on a positive note and earning back-to-back victories at Lambeau Field for the first time since the 1990-91 seasons.
Matthew Stafford, throwing passes to the likes of Brandon Powell, Andy Jones and T.J. Jones instead of Kenny Golladay (inactive), Marvin Jones (injured reserve) and Golden Tate (traded), threw for 266 yards and a pair of touchdowns to T.J. Jones for the Lions (6-10).
His counterpart, Aaron Rodgers, exited following the third series with a concussion. A week after rallying three times from two-touchdown deficits to beat the New York Jets, interim coach Joe Philbin’s Packers (6-9-1) showed no fight against the Lions.
Bills 42, Dolphins 17
Josh Allen passed for three touchdowns and ran for two more as Buffalo defeated Miami in Orchard Park, N.Y.
Zay Jones caught two touchdowns from Allen, who completed 17 of 26 passes for 224 yards with an interception. Allen also ran nine times for 95 yards. Buffalo forced four turnovers and enjoyed its highest-scoring game of the season.
The game was the season finale for two teams out of playoff contention. Buffalo (6-10) finished 4-3 in its final seven games. Miami (7-9) concluded its season on a three-game losing streak, dropping nine of its final 13.
Panthers 33, Saints 14
Undrafted rookie quarterback Kyle Allen threw two touchdowns passes before leaving the game with a fourth-quarter shoulder injury as visiting Carolina won in New Orleans.
With the Saints (13-3) secure in their No. 1 seed in the NFC playoffs, they rested several starters. Drew Brees missed only his third start since coming to the Saints in 2006. He finished the season with an NFL-record 74.4 completion percentage (364 of 489) with 3,992 yards, 32 touchdowns and just five interceptions.
Carolina (7-9) scored touchdowns on its first three possessions, with Allen driving the Panthers 75, 89 and 90 yards — mostly against the Saints’ starting defense — to forge a 20-0 lead, and it climbed to 30-0 late in the third quarter.
Falcons 34, Buccaneers 32
Matt Bryant made a 37-yard field goal as time expired to give visiting Atlanta a victory in what turned out to be Dirk Koetter’s final game as Tampa Bay’s head coach.
The field goal was Bryant’s second of the game after a 49-yarder in the third quarter and gave the Falcons (7-9) a three-game winning streak to end the season despite trailing 17-0 late in the first half.
The Bucs (5-11) lost eight of their last 10 games, including the final four, and fell to 19-29 under Koetter, whom the team fired shortly after the game. Jameis Winston had four touchdown passes for the Bucs, including a score with five minutes remaining, and was 22 of 35 for 345 yards and an interception.
—Field Level Media