The holiday weekend began with Detroit (7-5) beating Green Bay (5-7) 40-10, Dallas (7-5) over Oakland (4-8) 31-24, and Baltimore (6-6) downing Pittsburgh (5-7) 22-20.
On Monday night, a matchup for top record in the NFC has New Orleans (9-2) at Seattle (10-1).
PATRIOTS 34, TEXANS 31
At Houston, the Patriots (9-3) came on again in the second half to extend the Texans' franchise-record slide to 10 games. Tom Brady threw for 371 yards and two scores, and Stephen Gostkowski made two 53-yard field goals in the fourth quarter.
"I wish we could start fast and put the foot on the gas pedal the whole way," Brady said.
Gary Kubiak coached from the sideline for the first time since suffering a mini-stroke Nov. 3. He missed one game before working the last two games from the booth.
New England overcame a 24-point first-half deficit last week to beat the Broncos 34-31 in overtime. The Patriots trailed by 10 at halftime in this one and the lead changed five times in a wild second half.
Ben Tate ran for 102 yards and three touchdowns for the Texans (2-10), who haven't won since Sept. 15.
PANTHERS 27, BUCCANEERS 6
At Charlotte, N.C., the Panthers won their record eighth straight regular-season game when Cam Newton threw for 263 yards and two touchdowns and ran for another score.
Newton threw touchdown passes to Brandon LaFell and Ted Ginn Jr. and leaped over the pile for another score as the Panthers (9-3) outgained the Buccaneers 426-206. Newton has thrown for 13 touchdown passes and run for five scores during the Panthers' current win streak.
"There is no roof, no sky," defensive end Greg Hardy said. "We're going up. Every person on this team, every coach on this team has the same mentality right now. I feel like it's contagious. Fans are getting it. They feel like they can't be beat."
Carolina's defense came in allowing the fewest points in the league and flexed its muscles again, forcing two turnovers and sacking rookie Mike Glennon four times to snap a three-game winning streak for Tampa Bay (3-9). Glennon had thrown a touchdown pass in an NFL record eight straight games to start his career.