Latest from the NFL: Packers clinch playoff spot in NFC

December 20, 2015

The latest from NFL games on the 15th Sunday of the regular season (all times EST):

4:40 p.m.

Green Bay clinched an NFC playoff berth with the New York Giants' 38-35 loss to the undefeated Carolina Panthers on Sunday, marking the seventh consecutive year the Packers have reached the postseason.

Carolina remained unbeaten at 14-0 and can clinch home-field advantage throughout the NFC playoffs if Arizona loses or ties against Philadelphia in the Sunday night game.

The Washington Redskins (7-7) got back to .500 and moved a half-game ahead of the Eagles in the NFC East.

The New England Patriots beat the Tennessee Titans 33-16 and can wrap up a first-round bye in the AFC if Denver loses to Pittsburgh.


Cleveland right guard John Greco is out for the game with a knee injury. He limped off after the 2nd offensive play of the game.

-Tim Booth reporting from Seattle.


3:39 p.m.

The Odell Beckham-Josh Norman matchup has turned ugly.

Beckham, who dropped a TD pass on the game's first possession, has been going at it with the Panthers cornerback and exchanging words - and often swings and pushes - after nearly every play.

Beckham has been flagged three times for personal fouls and Norman once.


3:38 p.m.

Panthers wide receiver Ted Ginn Jr., who has two touchdown catches against the Giants and six scores in the last three games, has left against the game with a rib injury.


3:37 p.m.

Peyton Manning is inactive for a fifth straight week as the Broncos try to clinch the AFC West title on Sunday in Pittsburgh. The Broncos will also be without injured safeties Omar Bolden and T.J. Ward as the league's No. 1 defense tries to slow down the NFL's second-ranked offense.

-Will Graves reporting from Pittsburgh


3:05 p.m.

Running back LeSean McCoy left Buffalo's game at Washington early in the third quarter with a knee injury.

McCoy stayed down briefly and was checked on after taking a hit at the end of a carry on the Bills' opening drive of the second half. He limped off the field on his own and initially was listed as questionable to return, but then was announced as out for the rest of the game.

The next time the Bills had the ball, backup Mike Gillislee scored on a 60-yard TD run.

McCoy finished with 10 carries for 29 yards Sunday, when he was stuffed twice on runs at Washington's 1 in the second quarter on a drive that ended with zero points.

- Howard Fendrich reporting from Landover, Maryland.


2:42 p.m.

Carolina's defense continues to force turnovers, and its offense keeps capitalizing on them.

Panthers cornerback Charles Tillman, who returned this week after missing the last four games with a knee injury, forced his 44th career fumble leading to a 37-yard touchdown pass from Cam Newton to Greg Olsen to give Carolina the lead against the New York Giants.

The unbeaten Panthers have forced a league-high 42 turnovers leading to an NFL-best 124 points this season and lead the Giants 21-7 at halftime.

Newton has thrown three TD passes in the first half, giving him 31 for the season - by far the most of his five-year career. Ted Ginn Jr. has five TD catches in the last three games for Carolina, which has won 17 straight regular season games.


2:21 p.m.

Houston's first half went from bad to worse in the final 90 seconds when T.J. Yates went down after a scramble. He appeared to be clutching his left knee. He walked off the field but was later taken to the locker room.

The Texans were already without starting quarterback Brian Hoyer because of a concussion, so Brandon Weeden has replaced Yates.

-Michael Marot reporting from Indianapolis


2:18 p.m.

Tennessee Titans quarterback Marcus Mariota has left Sunday's game against the New England Patriots with an apparent injury to his right knee.

Mariota was sacked by Jamie Collins with about 10 minutes left in the second quarter. When the field goal unit came on, Titans training staff was looking at Mariota's right knee.

Zach Mettenberger came on to replace him.

Mariota missed two games earlier this season with a left knee injury.

The rookie was the No. 2 overall pick in the NFL draft this spring.

-Jimmy Golen reporting from Foxborough, Massachusetts


2:05 p.m.

Adrian Peterson has limped off the field for the Vikings in the second quarter against Chicago.

Peterson broke off a 9-yard run and then hobbled off the field with what appears to be an injury to his left leg. There was no immediate word on the nature or extent of his injury. Peterson missed a drive earlier in the game while athletic trainers looked at his shoulder.

-Jon Krawczynski reporting from Minneapolis.


1:41 p.m.

When Adam Vinatieri made an extra point early in the second quarter it was in his 304th game. That breaks a tie with Jerry Rice for No. 6 on the NFL's career list for games played.

Also, Vinatieri needs two more field goals to become the third player in league history with 500, joining Morten Andersen and Gary Anderson.

He's not the Colts' only veteran nearing a milestone.

Running back Frank Gore needs 14 yards from scrimmage for 15,000 in his career. Receiver Andre Johnson needs 12 yards to pass James Lofton for No. 9 on the league's career list. And Matt Hasselbeck's 11-yard TD pass to Donte Moncrief gave him 212, tying Terry Bradshaw and Y.A. Tittle for No. 30 in NFL history.

-Michael Marot reporting from Indianapolis


1:17 p.m.

Colts receiver T.Y. Hilton got off to fast start against one of his favorite opponents, Houston. Hilton caught two passes for 16 yards on Indianapolis' opening possession, giving him 1,003 yards this season and his third straight 1,000-yard season.

-Michael Marot reporting from Indianapolis


1:15 p.m.

Quarterback Jimmy Clausen made his second consecutive start for the Baltimore Ravens on Sunday, though Matt Schaub was listed as active for the game against the Kansas City Chiefs.

Both Schaub, who has a chest injury, and Clausen, who threw for a career-high 274 yards in his Ravens debut against the Seahawks last week, warmed up about two hours before game time. But Clausen worked longer with the receivers and threw more balls, while Schaub made only a few throws and jogged.

Clausen threw his first touchdown pass with the Ravens, a 1-yarder to Kyle Juszczyk, in the first quarter.

Ryan Mallett, the former Texans quarterback who was signed by the Ravens earlier this week, was among Baltimore's inactives.

-Dave Ginsburg reporting from Baltimore.


1 p.m.

Colts quarterback Matt Hasselbeck started in place of Andrew Luck in a crucial AFC South game against Houston.

Hasselbeck has been battling neck, shoulder and rib injuries over the past two weeks and missed practice Wednesday. But he appeared to be throwing well during warmups and is listed as Luck's replacement for the fifth consecutive week.

Luck returned to practice on a limited basis this week but has not yet been cleared for game action as he continues to recover from a lacerated kidney and partially torn abdominal muscle.

Houston had already announced backup quarterback T.J. Yates will start in place of Brian Hoyer, who is out with a concussion.

-Michael Marot reporting from Indianapolis


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