NFL report

The New England Patriots proved they’re still the beasts of the East as they crushed the New York Jets to take control of the AFC East. The Patriots rolled to a 45-3 victory over New York and in doing so leapt to the front in the tight race for the number one seed in the AFC at 10-2.

Tom Brady enhanced his claims for league MVP with four touchdowns, while their porous defence produced its best display of the season picking off Mark Sanchez three times in a game that contrasted hugely with the two sides meeting in September when the Jets cruised to a 28-14 victory.

In the NFC North, the Pittsburgh Steelers look primed to retake their crown following their dramatic Sunday night win away to the Baltimore Ravens. The Steelers trailed for almost the entire game before a Ben Roethlisberger pass to Isaac Redman with just over two minutes to go game them their decisive first lead of the game.

With that win the Steelers improved their record to 9-3 while Baltimore fell to 8-4 giving the Steelers the edge in the seeding race for the playoffs.

Meanwhile over in the AFC West the Kansas City Chiefs (8-4) pulled out a narrow 10-6 victory over the Denver Broncos avenging the drubbing they suffered at the hands of the Broncos just three weeks ago. The week got even better for the Chiefs as the San Diego Chargers (6-6) had their four game winning streak snapped by the Oakland Raiders meaning the Chiefs will take a two game lead in the division into the last four weeks.

The loss for Denver led to the firing of Coach Josh Mc Daniels following the game. Mc Daniels who took over at the start of last season and led Denver to six straight victories had seen his side lose 17 of their last 22 since then. This coupled with some poor personel moves – most notably trading the trio of Jay Cutler, Brandon Marshall and Peyton Hillis – and a fine for illegal videotaping within the organisation proved to be too much for owner Pat Bowlen to take.

In the south the Jaguars edged in front following a 17 -3 victory over the Titans that moved them to 7-5. The Colts missed out on the opportunity to match them, but lost out in overtime to a rejuvenated Dallas Cowboys on the back of four picks by Peyton Manning, which dropped to 6-6.

Manning has struggled greatly in recent weeks throwing 11 picks in his last three games, after throwing just four in his first 8 games. With the Colts decimated by injuries, they are in serious danger of missing the playoffs for the first time in a decade – a sure sign of how  wide open the NFL is this year.

The Cowboys won’t be going to the Playoffs but they can still alter the course of the NFC East division as they will face off against the Philadelphia Eagles (8-4) who, along with the New York Giants (8-4), currently control the division, thanks to the rejuvenated play of Mike Vick. Vick is having an MVP type season and playing with the sort of talent he promised during his first spell in Atlanta. This division could go down to the wire.

In the NFC, things are just as tight. Another division that looks like it will go down to the wire is the NFC South, where Atlanta (10-2) holds a slim lead over the defending champion New Orleans Saints (9-3). The two sides will meet later in the season in what could be a battle for the difference between the first and fifth seeds in the NFC.

Likewise the Chicago Bears (9-3) and Green Bay Packers (8-4) are fighting a closer battle than many expected in the NFC North.  Earlier in the season Chicago appeared to be a distinctly average football team but, with their defence playing the way, it is at the moment they are reminiscent of the 2006 team that went to the Super Bowl.  The Aaron Rodgers led Packers appear to be legitimate Super Bowl contenders, so this division battle could go right to the wire.

The NFC West has been the runt of the NFL all year with no team in the division holding a winning record. Both St. Louis and Seattle are in pole at 6-6, but the 4-8 San Francisco 49rs are not out of it yet.

With just four weeks to go in the regular season, the Playoff spots are beginning to take shape and the cliché of any given Sunday has never been truer.

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