Don't believe it. If any team is, as

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Don't believe it.

If any team is, as they say, "just glad to be here," it has to be Arizona. The Cardinals have spent 16 years struggling to get to the postseason before finally making it Sunday the way they've done things all season _ in a struggle.

Arizona became the final team to qualify for the postseason by beating San Diego 16-13 on Chris Jacke's 52-yard field goal as time expired. It came just 16 seconds after the Chargers had tied the game on a 30-yard touchdown pass from Craig Whelihan to Ryan Thelwell on a fourth-and-20.

Kwamie Lassiter tied an NFL record with four interceptions for Arizona and Eric Metcalf had a 46-yard kickoff return that set up the winning field goal.

"I've got to pinch myself to see if this is a dream or not," said fullback Larry Centers, who has spent nine seasons with a team that hadn't had a winning season before this year since moving to Arizona in 1988, hadn't made the playoffs since 1982, hadn't made it in a non-strike year since 1975 and hasn't won a playoff game since 1947.

"But we're actually in the dance. There were times I didn't feel like this day would come."

It did, but it could end in Dallas on Saturday, where the Cards (9-7) have lost nine straight games. They've lost 16 of their last 17 overall, including 38-10 and 35-28 this season. The Cowboys capped their comeback season with a 23-7 win over Washington Sunday night.

The Arizona win knocked out Tampa Bay and the New York Giants, who were also in the running for that last NFC playoff berth entering the day. The Bucs and Giants both won to finish 8-8.

Tampa Bay eliminated the Giants by beating Cincinnati 35-0 then waited and hoped New York would win and Arizona would lose to put the Bucs in.

The Giants complied, beating the Eagles 20-10, but Tampa Bay was finally knocked out by the Cardinals' latest squeaker _ they were 7-1 this season in games decided by three points or less.

"We won what we could control. It's disappointing things didn't work out," said Robb Thomas, who caught a 50-yard pass for Tampa Bay's first touchdown.

"I think we all felt that it was going to work out. We just had a feeling it was going to be our week. But the breaks didn't happen in the Arizona game."

The playoffs begin Saturday with Buffalo (10-6) at Miami (10-6) and the Cardinals at the Cowboys (10-6)

The Bills moved up one spot in the seedings with a 45-33 win Sunday in New Orleans. The Dolphins lost 38-16 to Atlanta, which got a pregame pep talk from coach Dan Reeves, who underwent heart bypass surgery two weeks ago.

Next Sunday, New England (9-7) will be at Jacksonville (10-5), who plays Pittsburgh tonight, and Green Bay (11-5) will be at San Francisco (12-4). The Patriots lost 31-10 to the Jets on Sunday, denying them a home playoff game.

The Packers won in Chicago 16-13, then the 49ers ensured the game would be in San Francisco by beating St. Louis 38-19, their 17th straight regular-season home win and 17th straight win over the Rams (4-12).

The following week, the top two teams in each conference get into action.

Atlanta (14-2) will be home in an early game Jan. 9 against Green Bay, San Francisco, or Dallas. Then Denver (14-2) will host Buffalo, Miami or New England.

On Jan. 10, the New York Jets (12-4) will play Buffalo, New England or Miami, then Minnesota (15-1) will take on Arizona, Green Bay or San Francisco.

The Broncos' 28-21 win over the Seahawks was notable for a number of milestones.

John Elway became only the third quarterback to throw for more than 300 touchdowns in his career and Terrell Davis became just the fourth running back to gain more than 2,000 yards in a season by getting 178. He finished with 2,008, 97 yards short of Eric Dickerson's record of 2,105.

But most important was the win itself, which ended a two-game slide by a team that had been 13-0 and looking at an unbeaten season.

"It was crucial for us to get back and get the feeling of winning again and really get over that hump of 13 wins," Elway said. "Thirteen scared me. You don't want to go into the playoffs with three losses in a row, so it was huge."

In other games Sunday, it was Carolina 27, Indianapolis 19, and Baltimore 19, Detroit 10.

The loss to the Giants ensured that Philadelphia (3-13) will have the second pick in next April's draft, after expansion Cleveland. Cincinnati (3-13) will be third, while Indianapolis (3-13) will be fourth.

The rest of the order will be determined on Monday, with ties broken by giving the team that played the easier schedule the higher pick in the first round.

In other milestones:

_ The Cowboys' Emmitt Smith scored his record 124th rushing touchdown against Washington, putting him at the top of the NFL's career list in that category, one ahead of Marcus Allen. He added his 125th later in the game.

_ The Colts' Marshall Faulk fell 92 yards receiving short of joining Roger Craig, the NFL's only thousand-thousand man (rushing and receptions).

_ Detroit's Barry Sanders, who reached 2,000 yards rushing on the final day of last season, fell 9 yards short of his fifth consecutive 1,500-yard rushing season.

_ Philadelphia's Irving Fryar, retiring after the season, came up 17 yards short of becoming the eighth receiver in NFL history with 12,000 receiving yards.

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