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Packers, Lions, Vikings all lose; Lions out of playoff race

Rough day in NFC North

Published: Sunday, Dec. 22, 2013 11:48 p.m. CDT
(Mike Roemer)
Packers quarterback Matt Flynn is sacked by the Steelers' Lawrence Timmons (94) during the first half Sunday in Green Bay, Wis. The Packers lost 38-31, setting up a showdown next weekend with the Bears for the NFC North title. (AP Photo/Mike Roemer)

Le’Veon Bell scored a 1-yard touchdown with 1:28 left and the Pittsburgh Steelers withstood Green Bay’s last throw into the end zone in a wild, 38-31 win Sunday at Lambeau Field.

It’s a long shot, but the Steelers (7-8) are still mathematically in the hunt for an AFC wild-card spot. They need a lot of help.

The loss by Green Bay (7-7-1), coupled with the loss by Chicago (8-7) in the Sunday night game in Philadelphia, means the Packers and Bears will play for all the marbles in the NFC North next Sunday afternoon at Soldier Field.

Bell’s TD came soon after scrambling Packers quarterback Matt Flynn fumbled while being tackled by Troy Polamalu. The Steelers recovered at the Packers 17, and scored five plays later.

Micah Hyde’s 70-yard kickoff return to the Steelers 31 gave the Packers one last chance.

Green Bay got to the 1, but after a Packers penalty, the game ended when Flynn’s pass to Jarrett Boykin sailed incomplete in the end zone.

Giants 23, Lions 20, OT: Josh Brown’s 45-yard field goal on the third drive of overtime gave New York the win in Detroit, and knocked the Lions (7-8) from postseason consideration. They lost for the fifth time in six games, blowing fourth-quarter leads in each setback that might seal Jim Schwartz’s fate.

The embattled coach chose to play for overtime by running out the clock with 23 seconds and two timeouts left from the Detroit 25. When the crowd reacted with a chorus of boos, Schwartz turned his head toward the stands and appeared to angrily shout back at the fans.

Schwartz has lost nine straight games in December or January, leading to his job being in jeopardy.

The Giants (6-9) overcame Eli Manning’s interception late in regulation, and Andre Brown’s fumble on the opening possession in overtime to win for the second time in five games.

Bengals 42, Vikings 14: Vincent Rey returned an interception 25 yards for a touchdown, and Andy Dalton threw four TD passes as Cincinnati clinched the AFC North.

The Bengals (10-5) remained perfect at home and secured an unprecedented third straight playoff appearance when Miami lost at Buffalo.

Then, the Bengals won the division when the Ravens fell to the Patriots.

In his past four home games, Dalton has thrown for five, three, three and four touchdowns. The Bengals have topped 40 points in each of their past four home games, a club record.

The Vikings (4-10-1) had knocked off playoff contenders Chicago and Philadelphia in the past 3 weeks. But even with Adrian Peterson back from a foot injury, they couldn’t keep up.

The Vikings had allowed the second-most points in the league heading into the game. They gave up 40 for the third time this season.

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