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Who's in, who's out

Posted: Monday, December 24, 2001

The Green Bay Packers and New England Patriots clinched playoff berths Sunday in vastly different manners.

The Packers beat the Cleveland Browns 30-7 on a snowy day in Green Bay to improve to 10-4. Green Bay is one game behind Chicago (11-3) in the NFC Central, but is guaranteed of at least a wild-card berth.

''It would be real big to get a team up here in mid-January, especially in these conditions,'' said Ahman Green, who ran for 150 yards on 21 carries against the Browns.

The Packers missed the playoffs the last two seasons.

''I don't want to sound like I'm not excited, but we have two games left,'' Brett Favre said. ''Just getting in the playoffs to me is just not enough. It's a start and, of course, we haven't been there in several years.''

New England got in when the Seattle Seahawks lost to the New York Giants 27-24. The Patriots (10-5) beat Miami 20-13 on Saturday and have a bye next weekend.

Pittsburgh needs one more victory in its final two games -- against Cincinnati and Cleveland -- to get home-field advantage for the AFC playoffs. The Steelers (12-2) beat Detroit 47-14.

Two teams expected to be much more successful were eliminated from postseason contention Sunday. Washington was ousted when it lost to Chicago 20-15, while Minnesota fell out after a 33-3 defeat at home to Jacksonville.

The New York Jets knocked out four teams by beating Indianapolis 29-28 Sunday night. Cleveland, Tennessee, Denver and the Colts are out of the playoff picture. But the Jets (9-5) did not secure a spot for themselves.



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