San Diego, Arizona and Minnesota clinched division titles yesterday, while the Eagles surged into the playoffs as at least a wild card.

The Chargers (11-3) edged Cincinnati, 27-24, and when Denver lost to Oakland, the AFC West belonged to San Diego for the fourth straight season.

"It's an incredible feeling," outside linebacker Shawne Merriman said.

"It's all kind of a blur," added Nate Kaeding, whose 52-yard field goal won it. He hadn't gotten a division championship cap until team president Dean Spanos walked by in the locker room and gave the kicker his.

The Cardinals (9-5) won the NFC West for the second straight year by beating Detroit, 31-24, and with San Francisco's loss to the Eagles, who moved into the postseason with that win.

"We're not happy with how we played," the Cardinals' Larry Fitzgerald said. "We know we need to improve, but the opportunity to win double digits, I don't know the last time a Cardinals team was able to do that."

That would be 1976 when they represented St. Louis.

Green Bay's 37-36 defeat at Pittsburgh gave the Vikings (11-2 and playing at Carolina on Sunday night) the NFC North.

Indianapolis already clinched the AFC South and New Orleans owns the NFC South.


* Chicago Bears general manager Jerry Angelo said the fate of coach Lovie Smith has not yet been decided.

Before the game against the Ravens, Angelo shot down a report from Comcast SportsNet/Chicago on Friday that cited unnamed sources saying Smith would return for the next to last year of his contract in 2010.

A review of Smith will be conducted after the Bears finish the season.

"At the end of the year, we sit down, we talk," Angelo said.

After the Bears' 31-7 loss to Baltimore, Smith said he didn't expect any resolution to his contractual situation during the remainder of the regular season. The Bears close out the season with a home game against Minnesota and a road game at Detroit.

"What's a vote of confidence at this time?" Smith asked. "You don't talk about things like that during the year. [We're] disappointed in our play, disappointed in our record. I'm the head football coach, so I'm sure a lot of people aren't knocking down the door wanting to pat me on the back."

The Bears owe Smith $11 million for the next two seasons. Angelo said the remainder of Smith's contract will have no impact on decisions the team makes.

"It's not about money, it's about doing what we feel we need to do to be a better football team," Angelo said.

Angelo also said the injury suffered by Pro Bowl middle linebacker Brian Urlacher in the season's first game would not be a factor in any decisions that will be made about Smith.