NFL Round-up: Panthers lose, Patriots commit act of folly and the Cardinals are good

A look at some of the highlights and lowlights from last night including an updated playoff picture

BY Robbie Dunne 13:26 Monday 28 December 2015, 13:26 28 Dec 2015

There was plenty of action from the States on Sunday night with 13 games in total taking place across the evening. 

The 1972 Miami Dolphins can pop open another bottle of champagne as the Carolina Panthers' attempt to join them as the only undefeated team in the history of the NFL came to an abrupt end last night thanks to the Atlanta Falcons.

Cam Newton admitted that his side "got our asses kicked" as the Panthers fell 20-13 to the struggling Falcons. Newton was put under pressure by Vic Beasley and Atlanta's front seven all night but they stayed in the game thanks to their quarterback and their 28th consecutive 100 yard rushing game. The plucky Falcons would not be outdone, however, as many suggest this is a possible blessing in disguise for the Panthers. 

Speaking of ass-kickings, the Cardinals staked their claim as the best team in the NFL with a 38-8 tonking of the Green Bay Packers. Aaron Rodgers faced pressure all day and finally got to know what it feels like to be Jay Cutler in Chicago, with his offensive line offering no protection.

What must be remembered is that, despite being teammates at USC, Clay Matthews and Carson Palmer were enemies last night. Here's a funny gif to prove it.

The Patriots had a mishap on Sunday too. After coming back to tie the game 20 a piece late in the fourth quarter, the game went to overtime. The Patriots won the coin toss but decided to defend, or at least that's what they said. 

Matthew Slater, one of the Patriots captains said they wanted to kick the ball instead of saying they wanted to defend into a certain goal. It was all very confusing and you can watch it below to get a better understanding of the situation. Bill Belichick said, after the game, that they wanted to defend first. Too bad the Jets scored a touchdown with their first drive and ended the game. 

It's not often you catch Bill Belichick snoozing, but when you do...this happens.

When Odell Beckham is suspended, you need some entertainment and what seem like physically impossible catches. Jarvis Landry provided one on Sunday with this one handed grab.

Playoff picture

The NFC's six playoff teams are decided with the Panthers, Cardinals (first round byes), Packers, Washington, Seattle and the Vikings claiming the spots up for grabs. The only thing to decide next week is who claims the NFC North and who gets home field advantage. Minnesota play the Packers at Lambeau field next week to decide that former. The Panthers play the Buccaneers while the Cardinals host the Seattle Seahawks to decide who gets top seed in the NFC and that much vaunted home field advantage. 

The AFC is a little more complicated. The Patriots have claimed one of the first round byes and remain in search of home field advantage with the Bengals in chase. A loss tonight to the Broncos would end their hopes of that, however. 

The AFC South will come down to the Jaguars at Texans should the Colts beat the Titans next week. And so there are still eight teams in contention for playoff spots in the AFC. The Patriots, Bengals and Chiefs will definitely be playing post-season football, whereas the Texans, Colts, Broncos, Steelers, and Jets all remain in contetion.

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