After couple of close calls in recent weeks, the Patriots were again dominant in a 34-13 victory over the Pittsburgh Steelers, with New England quarterback Tom Brady tossing four touchdown passes.
New England became the fifth team in NFL history to start a season 13-0, and the first since the Indianapolis Colts in 2005.
Randy Moss had seven catches for 135 yards, including two touchdowns. He took his total of touchdown passes to 19 — a club record and second only to Jerry Rice’s career NFL record of 22 for receivers set in 1987.
New England are now within three games of the first 16-0 season in NFL history.
The Patriots host the New York Jets and winless Miami Dolphins before finishing the regular season at the New York Giants.
Brady, who completed 32-of-46 attempts for 399 yards, has 45 touchdowns this season — the third-highest total in league history and four short of the single-season record set by Peyton Manning in 2004.
Pittsburgh quarterback Ben Roethlisberger finished 19-of- 32 for 187 yards and a touchdown as the Steelers saw their two-game winning streak snapped. The Steelers fell to 9-4 and hold a one-game lead over Cleveland in the AFC North.
Dallas clinched the NFC East division crown in dramatic fashion as Tony Romo fired a 16-yard touchdown pass to Jason Witten with 18 seconds left to give the Cowboys a 28-27 victory over Detroit.
Romo drove Dallas 83 yards on 11 plays in the last two minutes — without any time outs — for the victory, which saw the Cowboys improve to 12-1.
“Ninth time that we’ve come from behind this year, and it shows you the character and the heart of this team,” Cowboys coach Wade Phillips said.
The Cowboys claimed their first division crown since 1998 and stayed one game in front of Green Bay in the fight for home-field advantage throughout the playoffs.
The Packers claimed their first NFC North division crown since 2004 with a 38-7 drubbing of the Oakland Raiders.
Will Blackmon scored two special teams touchdowns, returning a punt 57 yards for a touchdown and recovering Tim Dwight’s fumble in the end zone.
Packers quarterback Brett Favre made his 250th straight start, shrugging off a bruised right elbow and separated left shoulder suffered in Green Bay’s 37-27 loss to Dallas earlier this month.
Despite his injuries, Favre threw a pair of touchdown passes in the second half.
The Seattle Seahawks claimed the NFC West crown with a 42-21 victory over the Arizona Cardinals.
Matt Hasselbeck threw for four touchdowns as the Seahawks won their fifth straight game and their fourth consecutive division title.
Tampa Bay missed a chance to wrap up the NFC South, and instead saw their four-game streak end with a 28-14 loss to the Houston Texans.
Super Bowl champions Indianapolis overwhelmed the Baltimore Ravens 44-20 to punch their post-season ticket.
Peyton Manning threw four touchdown passes, including the 300th of his career. The victory, along with San Diego’s 23-17 overtime victory over the Tennessee Titans, secured the Colts’ sixth straight playoff berth.
Manning left the game in the third quarter, having joined John Elway, Fran Tarkenton, Dan Marino and Favre as the only quarterbacks with at least 300 career touchdown passes.
The Chargers remained two games in front of the Denver Broncos atop the AFC West. The Broncos romped past Kansas City 41-7.
Jacksonville kept their slim hopes of overtaking the Colts atop the AFC South alive with a 37-6 victory over Carolina.
Even if they can’t wrest the division from Indianapolis, the Jaguars remain in the wildcard mix with Tennessee, Cleveland and Buffalo.
Buffalo beat the hapless Miami Dolphins 38-17 and Cleveland held off the New York Jets 24-18, while Cincinnati beat St Louis 19-10.
The Minnesota Vikings beat the lowly San Francisco 49ers 27-7 to move one game ahead of Arizona and Detroit for an NFC wild card spot.
The New York Giants also kept their postseason hopes alive with a 16-13 victory over Philadelphia, who failed to fire despite the return of quarterback Donovan McNabb.