There will be no repeat for the New York Giants. Not even a playoff berth.
The Giants (9-7 ) saw their playoff hopes end minutes after posting a 42-7 win over the Philadelphia Eagles when Chicago beat Detroit 26-24 to eliminate the defending Super Bowl champions from playoff contention.
It marks seven straight seasons the Super Bowl champion has failed to win a playoff game the following year.
The Giants came into the regular-season finale needing to beat the Eagles (4-12 ), have Chicago and Minnesota lose and have Dallas either lose or tie against Washington to advance to the postseason.
The Bears ended the Giants' hopes on a day Eli Manning threw a career-high five touchdown passes.
Meanwhile, Jay Cutler and the Chicago Bears held on late against turnover-prone Detroit. Cutler threw for 257 yards and a touchdown and helped seal the game with a late scramble, and Chicago kept its playoff hopes alive - for now - with a 26-24 win over the Lions Sunday.
The Bears (10-6 ) still need a Minnesota loss to Green Bay to reach the postseason.
The Lions (4-12 ) lost their last eight games and turned the ball over four times in the finale. Calvin Johnson fell short in his attempt to become the first player with 2,000 yards receiving in a season.
Detroit trailed 20-3 late in the first half but pulled within two and had the ball at its own 9-yard line before a three-and-out forced a punt.
The Bears ran out the last 3:40, with Cutler's 19-yard run on third down keeping the drive going.
Johnson, who broke Jerry Rice's record of 1,848 yards receiving the previous weekend, finished at 1,964 after catching five passes for 72 yards. Detroit's Matthew Stafford went 24 of 42 for 272 with three touchdowns and an interception.
Falcons lose momentum
The Falcons couldn't follow through with their plan to gain momentum for the playoffs as Josh Freeman threw a touchdown pass to Mike Williams, Doug Martin ran for 142 yards and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers beat Atlanta 22-17 Sunday.
The Falcons (13-3 ) had little to play for as they already have home-field advantage through the NFC playoffs. Coach Mike Smith said he wanted to "finish the regular season the right way," and he stayed with his starters through the game.
The danger to Smith's strategy was losing a top starter to an injury. Defensive end John Abraham, Atlanta's best pass rusher, left with an apparent left ankle injury in the fourth quarter. Abraham couldn't put his weight on the ankle as he was helped off the field. Starting cornerback Dunta Robinson suffered a head injury in the first quarter and did not return.
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