Playoff races tightened in both conferences on Sunday, but the best teams seemed to already be in post-season form. Here's a recap of all the Week 14 action:

The Patriots Are Still The AFC’s Best Team

Tom Brady
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It might take all game, but the Patriots usually find a way to beat their opponents. After trailing the Chargers 14-13 both at halftime AND after the third quarter, New England (10-3) scored 10 fourth-quarter points to win 23-14 on Sunday night in San Diego. Tom Bradythrew for 317 yards and two TDs, including a 69-yard toss to Julian Edelman with 8:41 to play that all but sealed the victory.

The Chargers (8-5) now sit two games behind the Broncos in the AFC West — and dead even with the Steelers and Ravens in the AFC wild-card race. San Diego faces a gauntlet of Denver, San Francisco and Kansas City over the final three weeks of the regular season.

The Steelers Huge Fourth Quarter Saved Their Season

LeVeon Bell
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The Bengals were ahead 21-20 in the fourth quarter, when an Andy Dalton fumble helped pave the way to 25 unanswered points for the Steelers — and a 42-21 defeat for Cincy. Ben Roethlisberger threw three touchdown passes and Le'Veon Bell scored three times, as Pittsburgh (8-5) got a “must” win. The victory gave the Steelers a shot at the division title when the teams play in Week 17.

Coming into Sunday, Cincinnati (8-4-1) led the division by a game-and-a-half over the other three teams, but the Bengals’ late meltdown — coupled with the Ravens win over the Dolphins — tightened things up for the final three weeks. The Browns were also in the scrum, but they lost to the Colts in the final minute on Sunday.

Peyton Manning Didn’t Throw A TD Pass, But Denver Still Won

Peyton Manning
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For the first time since he joined the Broncos, Peyton Manning didn’t throw a touchdown pass, but his team still dominated the Bills, 24-17, on Sunday. C.J. Anderson ran for three touchdowns, which allowed Denver (10-3) to win despite the end of Manning's streak of 51 straight games with a touchdown pass — just three short of Drew Brees’ NFL record.

Manning will likely be OK — until a cold weather playoff game – but his fantasy owners may not be. Manning was 14 of 20 for 173 yards with two interceptions. The last time he had no passing TDs? Week 9 of the 2010 season, when he was playing for the Colts against the Bengals.

Regardless of Peyton’s plight, Buffalo (7-6) was never really in the game. The Bills rallied for two late scores in the fourth quarter which made the final outcome seem closer than it was.

The Seahawks Are Surging

Russell Wilson
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At the end of Week 7, the Seahawks were 3-3 and looked like they might not finish .500, much less defend their title. Now? You might not find anyone to bet against them. Seattle (9-4) picked up its sixth win in seven games, beating the Eagles, 24-14, on Sunday. The loss was the first at home for Philadelphia (9-4) this season.

The Seahawks controlled the ball for nearly 42 of the game’s 60 minutes, and Seattle’s incredible defense held the vaunted Eagles offense to just 45 plays and 139 total yards. As always, Seahawks’ quarterback Russell Wilson did just enough to get the win, throwing for 263 yards and two touchdowns and running untouched for another score.

Seattle stays a game behind Arizona in the NFC West. Philly faces Dallas next Sunday night for the NFC East lead.

The 49ers Are In The Tank; The Cardinals Are Not

Jim Harbaugh
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Maybe the Raiders will hire Jim Harbaughto coach against them? Somehow, Harbaugh’s talented 49ers were out-hustled and out-muscled by the Silver & Black, 24-13, on Sunday. Derek Carr completed 22 of 28 passes for 254 yards and three touchdowns. Oakland (2-11) notched its sweetest victory of the season, while the loss sent San Francisco (7-6) to the brink of elimination in the NFC playoff race. The Niners trail three teams by two games in the NFC wild-card race with just three weeks to go.

The Cardinals stopped their two-game losing streak by rallying past the Chiefs, 17-14. Arizona (10-3) stayed on top of the NFC West — and undefeated at home. If quarterback Drew Stanton and his team can continue their season-long magic act, they can still secure home-field advantage through the Super Bowl. Unlikely? Yes, but the Cardinals weren’t supposed to get 10 wins this season either. If Bruce Arians hasn’t already won Coach of the Year honors, the award means nothing.

Other Scores

Thursday, Dec. 4
Dallas 41, Chicago 28

Sunday, Dec. 7
St. Louis 24, Washington 0
N.Y. Giants 36, Tennessee 7
Carolina 41, New Orleans 10
Minnesota 30, N.Y. Jets 24 (OT)
Baltimore 28, Miami 13
Indianapolis 25, Cleveland 24
Detroit 34, Tampa Bay 17
Houston 27, Jacksonville 13

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