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Falcons, Giants clinch playoff berths

After a four-year hiatus, the Atlanta Falcons are back in the playoffs.

The Falcons secured a postseason berth after Oakland's win over Indianapolis clinched the strength of victory tiebreaker for Atlanta over Detroit. The Falcons dismantled the Panthers earlier Saturday to move to 10-5 as they appear to be peaking at just the right time.

Joining the Falcons are the New York Giants, who are returning to the playoffs after a five-year wait.

Despite their loss to the Philadelphia Eagles on Thursday night, the Giants clinched an NFC playoff berth Saturday with the Buccaneers' loss to the Saints. It marks the first time since New York's Super Bowl run in 2011 that Big Blue has clinched a postseason berth.

Tampa Bay's loss also clinched the NFC South crown for the Falcons.

After getting off to a rocky 2-3 start, the Giants won six consecutive games to rise back to near the top of the conference. They're the only team this season to have beaten the Cowboys, who claimed the NFC's No. 1 playoff seed with the Giants' loss Thursday.

New York closes out the regular season against the Washington Redskins on Jan. 1. If they win, they'll post their first 11-win season since 2008.

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