The loser of Sunday's game in Green Bay between the New Orleans Saints and Packers was going to face a big hole to dig out of to get to the NFL playoffs. Turns out it was the Saints, who lost, 28-27, to go 0-4 and fall four games behind Atlanta in the NFC South one-quarter of the way through the regular season.
By pulling out the win, Green Bay evened its record at 2-2, one game behind surprising Minnesota in the NFC North.
Atlanta was one of the NFL's three unbeaten teams to emerge unscathed - just barely. The Falcons scored last in a back-and-forth game and edged Cam Newton and the visiting Carolina Panthers, 30-28. Houston joined the Falcons at 4-0 with a routine home win over Tennessee, 38-14. Arizona, also 4-0, needed overtime to defeat visiting Miami, 24-21.
Game of the day
Packers 28, Saints 27
The scoop: Aaron Rodgers threw a go-ahead touchdown to Jordy Nelson in the fourth quarter, as Green Bay came from behind. Garrett Hartley missed a 48-yard field goal attempt with just under three minutes remaining, costing the Saints a shot at the lead. Rodgers threw for 319 yards with four touchdowns and an interception. Drew Brees threw for 446 yards with three touchdowns for the Saints. It was the 47th game in a row with at least one touchdown for Brees, tying the NFL record by Johnny Unitas.
Why the Packers won: After failing to score on their first three series of the second half, Rogers managed a 57-yard drive for the winning touchdown with 7 minutes left.
Staying perfect Falcons 30, Panthers 28
The scoop: Matt Bryant kicked a 40-yard field goal with 5 seconds remaining to keep Atlanta unbeaten. The Falcons are off to their best start since 2004, when they reached the NFC Championship Game. Despite taking a career-high seven sacks, Matt Ryan threw three touchdown passes for Atlanta. Bryant added three field goals. The winning kick was set up by a 59-yard pass to Roddy White.
Why the Falcons won: After giving up the lead, they forced Carolina to punt the ball away on its last two possessions before Bryant's game-winner.
Cardinals 24, Dolphins 21
The scoop: Jay Feely kicked a 46-yard field goal 6:31 into overtime for Arizona. The Cardinals forced overtime when Kevin Kolb threw a 15-yard touchdown pass on fourth down to Andre Roberts with 22 seconds to play in regulation. The winning field goal came after Miami's rookie quarterback, Ryan Tannehill, was hit by Paris Lenon as he threw and Kerry Rhodes came up with an interception.
Why the Cardinals won: They kept their poise after an 80-yard bomb to Brian Hartline had given Miami a 21-14 lead with 7:05 left.
Texans 38, Titans 14
The scoop: Danieal Manning and Kareem Jackson returned interceptions for touchdowns in the second half and Matt Schaub threw two TD passes for Houston, off to the best start in club history. Titans quarterback Jake Locker left in the first quarter and did not return after hurting his left, non-throwing shoulder on a hit by Glover Quin. Matt Hasselbeck threw two touchdown passes in relief of Locker. Tennessee's Chris Johnson carried 25 times fof 141 yards, more than tripling his rushing total through the first three games.
Why the Texans won: They took charge with touchdowns on their first two series and had no turnovers.
Best of the rest Eagles 19, Giants 17
The scoop: Alex Henery kicked a 26-yard field goal, his fourth of the game, with 1:49 left to give Philadelphia the victory. Lawrence Tynes of the Giants was short on a 54-yard attempt with 15 seconds left that would have given New York the lead. Michael Vick passed 19 yards to DeSean Jackson for the Eagles touchdown. Eli Manning of the Giants threw TD passes to Victor Cruz and Bear Pascoe in the second half.
Why the Eagles won: An offensive pass interference penalty pushed the Giants back 10 yards before Tynes' final miss.
Vikings 20, Lions 13
The scoop: Percy Harvin returned the opening kickoff 105 yards for a touchdown and Marcus Sherels scored on a 77-yard punt return early in the third as Minnesota (3-1) matched the number of wins it had last season. The Vikings also snapped an 11-game losing streak in the division. The Lions have lost three straight.
Why the Vikings won: Detroit's kick coverage was terrible again, and the Lions ran for only 55 yards.
Chargers 37, Chiefs 20
The scoop: Philip Rivers threw for 209 yards and two touchdowns, and San Diego capitalized on six turnovers, five in the first half, when San Diego raced to a 27-6 lead. Matt Cassel threw for 251 yards and two touchdowns for Kansas City, but he also had three first-half interceptions, one of which linebacker Donald Butler returned off a deflection 21 yards for a touchdown.
Why the Chargers won: The Chiefs' mistakes made it too easy.
Rams 19, Seahawks 13
The scoop: Rookie Greg Zuerlein kicked four field goals, including a 58-yarder and a club record 60-yarder, and the Rams used a fake field goal to score their only TD of the game. The Rams went ahead, 10-7, late in the first half when a fake field goal attempt turned into a 2-yard touchdown pass from punter Johnny Hekker to Danny Amendola. Marshawn Lynch led Seattle with 118 yards on 20 carries, including an 18-yard score on the game's first possession.
Why the Rams won: They intercepted Russell Wilson three times, with Bradley Fletcher clinching it with a pick at the Rams 25 with a minute to go.
Bengals 27, Jaguars 10
The scoop: Andy Dalton threw two touchdowns passes and ran for a score, and Cincinnati earned its third consecutive win. Blaine Gabbert of the Jaguars completed 23-of-34 passes for 186 yards, with a touchdown and an interception. Dalton completed 20 of 31 for 244 yards.
Why the Bengals won: They had six sacks, putting constant pressure on Gabbert.
Redskins 24, Buccaneers 22
The scoop: Billy Cundiff redeemed himself for a poor day kicking, booting a 41-yard field goal with 3 seconds remaining to give Washington the victory. Cundiff had missed three earlier attempts, including a 31-yarder that would have put the Redskins up by two scores early in the fourth quarter. Tampa Bay wiped out an 18-point deficit to go ahead, 22-21, on Connor Barth's third field goal, a 47-yarder with 1:42 remaining.
Why the Redskins won: They built a 21-3 halftime lead. Their only second-half points were Cundiff's game-winner.
Dogs of the day Broncos 37, Raiders 6
The scoop: Peyton Manning led Denver to three third-quarter touchdowns in the rout, the first time the Broncos have beaten their AFC West rivals at home since 2007. Denver outscored the Raiders, 27-0, in the second half. Manning (22 of 30) finished with 338 yards and three scores. Willis McGahee finished with 112 yards rushing for the Broncos for his 32nd career 100-yard game, the most of any active player.
Why the Broncos won: They scored on seven of their nine possessions.
49ers 34, Jets 0
The scoop: Carlos Rogers returned a fumble 51 yards for a touchdown, and San Francisco ran for more than 200 yards. The Jets lost top wide receiver Santonio Holmes, who suffered what appeared to be a serious foot injury on a non-contact play.
Why the 49ers won: They held the Jets to nine first downs, 145 yards.
News wire services contributed.