Matt Ryan helps Falcons end Panthers' unbeaten run


The Carolina Panthers' bid for an unbeaten season was defeated by the most unlikely of teams as the Atlanta Falcons held out for a 20-13 victory on home turf.

The Panthers had the ball with 90 second and no timeouts remaining but failed to convert as Vic Beasley Jr. fumbled, allowing Atlanta's Adrian Clayborn to recover for the Falcons and seal the win after Matt Ryan threw for 306 yards and one touchdown, and Devonta Freeman ran for 73 yards with a touchdown.

Cam Newton completed 17 of 30 attempted passes, throwing for 142 yards, completing seven carries for 46 yards and one touchdown.

The Arizona Cardinals produced a dominant display at home to destroy the Green Bay Packers 38-8 and secure a first-round playoff bye and a ninth-straight win.

Arizona sacked Packers' quarterback Aaron Rodgers eight times and returned two of his fumbles for touchdowns, as Carson Palmer threw for 257 yards and two touchdowns for Arizona.

The New York Jets remain in playoff contention after a 26-20 home win the New England Patriots, who have already clinched a record equalling seventh consecutive AFC East division title, while the Minnesota Vikings booked their spot in the playoffs with a dominant 49-17 win over the struggling New York Giants.

Brandon Weeden found a good time to score his first rushing touchdown, throwing 15 passes for 200 yards and another two touchdowns to help the Houston Texans to a crushing 34-6 win over the Tennessee Titans, taking a big step towards clinching the AFC South title.

The Chicago Bears defeated the Tampa Bay Buccaneers 26-21, while the Miami Dolphins suffered an 18-12 home loss at the hands of the Indianapolis Colts.

The New Orleans Saints picked up their sixth win of the season as Drew Brees passed for 412 yards and three touchdowns to help the Saints to a 38-27 win against the Jacksonville Jaguars, while the St. Louis Rams defeated the Seattle Seahawks 23-17.

In Kansas City, the Chiefs defeated the Cleveland Browns 17-13, as the Buffalo Bills defeated the Dallas Cowboys 16-6.

The Detroit Lions beat the struggling San Francisco 49ers 32-17, while the Baltimore Ravens got the better of the Pittsburgh Steelers 20-17.