American Football: Ravens and Jets in play-offs but Steelers lose grip on title

THE Baltimore Ravens and New York Jets wrapped up play-off berths on the final day of the National Football League's regular season but the Super Bowl champions Pittsburgh Steelers were not as fortunate.

The Ravens (9-7) used a 21-13 win over the Oakland Raiders (5-11) to grab one of two AFC wild-card spots and end the slim post-season hopes of the Steelers (9-7), who had earlier beaten the Miami Dolphins (7-9) 30-24.

The Jets (9-7) clinched their postseason spot with a 37-0 victory over the playoff-bound Cincinnati Bengals (10-6) in the final game of the NFL regular season.

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The victory set up a post-season rematch with the Bengals in Cincinnati on Saturday.

Baltimore will play at New England in the other AFC wildcard game this Sunday.

In the NFC, the Dallas Cowboys (11-5) galloped to a 24-0 victory over the Philadelphia Eagles (11-5) to win the East Division title and set up a play-off rematch between the two teams in Texas on Saturday.

The other NFC play-off game will have the Arizona Cardinals (10-6) hosting the Green Bay Packers (11-5) in another rematch on Sunday.

Green Bay crushed Arizona 33-7 yesterday as the Cardinals, like a number of teams, rested most of their starters.

The Minnesota Vikings (12-4) rolled to a 44-7 victory over the New York Giants (8-8) to join the top-seeded New Orleans Saints with NFC first-round byes.

The Saints (13-3) suffered a 23-10 defeat to the Carolina Panthers (8-8) that did not affect their play-off status.

Seven AFC teams went into the final day with a chance of grabbing the conference's two wildcard berths.

Defeats eliminated Denver, Jacksonville and Miami with Pittsburgh and Houston going out despite final-day wins.

Denver (8-8) fell 44-24 to the Kansas City Chiefs (4-12) and Jacksonville (7-9) lost 23-17 to Cleveland (5-11).

Houston's surprising Texans (9-7) defeated the New England Patriots (10-6) 34-27 but were eliminated by the Jets' win over the Bengals.

Indianapolis (14-2), the AFC's top seeds, dropped a 30-7 decision to the Buffalo Bills (6-10) in a game that did not affect the Colts' play-off status. The Colts will have home field advantage throughout the AFC post-season.