DETROIT (AP) - Jameis Winston has plenty to play for and Darius Slay does, too.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Detroit Lions have been eliminated from the playoff picture, putting their team goals out of reach.
But Winston and Slay are among a group of players who will have something at stake Sunday at Ford Field and over the last two games of the season.
Winston, who intends to play in Detroit with a small fracture in his right thumb, is in the final year of the contract he signed as the No. 1 pick overall in 2015.
The injury didn't stop him from throwing for a career-high 456 yards along with four touchdowns in last week's win against the Indianapolis Colts. But he also tossed three more interceptions to increase his NFL-high total to 23.
Even though his future is up in the air, Winston insisted he's not thinking about next season.
"I got an opponent to focus on and it's bigger than me," he said. "It's about this team, so we got to focus on how we are going to try to beat the Detroit Lions and whoever our opponent is next week."
Slay has one more season worth about $10 million on his deal, and there's a chance the standout cornerback may end up on another team next season. He publicly questioned the decision to trade safety Quandre Diggs to Seattle for a fifth-round pick earlier this season.
Here are some other things to watch when Tampa Bay (6-7) meets the Lions (3-9-1) in the Motor City:
Buccaneers receiver Mike Evans might miss the rest of the season after he pulled a hamstring during a 61-yard TD reception last weekend. He is among the NFL leaders with 1,157 yards receiving and eight touchdown catches.
The absence of the star receiver doesn't necessarily mean Detroit's secondary will catch a break. Chris Godwin ranks second in the league with 1,212 yards receiving. With nine receiving touchdowns, he trails only Detroit's Kenny Gollday in the NFL.
Tight ends O.J. Howard and Cameron Brate, who scored last week, may get more targets without Evans on the field. Receivers Breshad Perriman and Justin Watson each caught a touchdown pass last weekend and could get an opportunity to score again against the league's 30th-ranked defense against the pass.
"Nobody is going to be Mike, but just be yourself," coach Bruce Arians told the receiving corps. "Whoever is playing the position, be yourself, do your job, and catch the damn ball when it's thrown to you."
The Lions also lost a key receiver last weekend. Marvin Jones was placed on injured reserve after he hurt his ankle in a loss at Minnesota. He caught 62 passes for 779 yards and nine touchdowns this season.
Detroit signed Travis Fulgham off its practice squad to bolster its depth at the position. Veteran receiver Danny Amendola may play a larger role, and running back J.D. McKissic likely becomes an option at slot receiver.
"We'll be ready to go with whatever we got and work to move forward," said rookie quarterback David Blough, who will make his third straight start for the injured Matthew Stafford.
For the second year in a row with a second team, Ndamukong Suh is set to face the franchise that drafted him No. 2 overall in 2011. He played with the Los Angeles Rams last year in Detroit before helping them reach the Super Bowl. Now he's back with the Buccaneers.
The 10th-year pro spent five seasons with the Lions before signing with Miami and spending three seasons with the Dolphins. The five-time Pro Bowl defensive tackle still has friends and fond memories in Detroit.
"Great people there, always showed me love, even when I'm there during the offseason," Suh said.
He signed with Tampa Bay as a free agent last May and has 1½ sacks and 13 quarterback hits. He also has recovered four fumbles, returning two of them for touchdowns.
"He has been playing lights out," Arians said.
The Lions have lost six straight, five without Stafford, and nine of 10. The tough stretch has increased the heat on coach Matt Patricia.
The former New England defensive coordinator has a 9-19-1 record overall in Detroit. His mentor, Patriots coach Bill Belichick, lost 19 games over his first two years as an NFL head coach in Cleveland and has become one of the game's greats on the sideline.
"Certainly, there's inspiration like that I think all the way across the board with a lot of great coaches," Patricia said.
Even though Tampa Bay will miss the playoffs for a 12th straight season, it can reach .500 in Detroit with a fourth straight win. The Buccaneers can finish the season with a winning record by closing the season with six wins in a row.
Arians, in his first season, is seeing a shift in the team's culture.
"Just watching our guys and how hard they practiced, in December, really can't ask for more as a coach," he said.---
More AP NFL: https://apnews.com/NFL and https://twitter.com/AP-NFL
The Jacksonville Jaguars plan to hire former Redskins head coach Jay Gruden as their next offensive coordinator, according to sources. A deal isn't officially done, but the Jaguars are very close to adding Gruden in the role. The biggest question for Jacksonville's offense heading into the 2020 season will be who is the starter under center, Nick Foles or Gardner Minshew. Leonard Fournette can be an effective bell-cow back in the backfield if he can stay healthy, while the Jags have a nice three-receiver mix in place of D.J. Chark, Dede Westbrook and Chris Conley. The Jaguars finished 2019 with 341.8 yards per game, 235 passing yards per game, 106.8 rushing yards per game and only 18.8 points per game. Gruden's addition is good news for this very mediocre offense across the board.
Free-agent TE Evan Baylis (Packers), OT Cody Conway (Packers), RB Damarea Crockett (Packers), CB Kabion Ento (Packers), TE James Looney (Packers), LB Randy Ramsey (Packers), WR Darrius Shepherd (Packers), QB Manny Wilkins (Packers) and LB Tim Williams (Packers) signed Reserve/Future contracts with the Green Bay Packers Tuesday, Jan. 21. Terms of the contract were not disclosed.
Jacksonville Jaguars general manager David Caldwell seems confident that the team will re-sign defensive end Yannick Ngakoue, who is scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent in March. Jacksonville wants Ngakoue back, and Caldwell said something "should be done hopefully relatively easily." He'd become one of the top pass rushers available if he hits the open market after logging 37.5 sacks, 85 quarterback hits and 42 tackles for loss in 63 games since being a third-round pick in 2016. Retaining Ngakoue is the top priority for the Jaguars this offseason as they look to build their defense back up around the ferocious pass rusher.
Jacksonville Jaguars impending free-agent DE Yannick Ngakoue is the top priority for the Jaguars this offseason, and general manager David Caldwell said he hopes the two sides will be able to reach an agreement relatively easily.
Seattle Seahawks LB Bobby Wagner (ankle, knee) will not need surgery on his ankle or knee this offseason, according to head coach Pete Carroll.
Dallas Cowboys vice president Stephen Jones said that linebacker Leighton Vander Esch's (neck) surgery "went well." "I feel really good about it. I feel really good about him making a full recovery and being ready to participate in everything," Jones said. The second-year linebacker should be good to go for the team's offseason workouts after missing the final five games of the 2019 season. He recorded a total of 72 tackles (43 solo), half a sack and one forced fumble in his nine games played. LVE was a beast his rookie season with 140 total tackles, and he could return to being an IDP force again in 2020 if he can just stay on the field.
Dallas Cowboys vice president Stephen Jones said that quarterback Dak Prescott is the team's "No. 1 priority as we go into the offseason." Despite the Cowboys missing the playoffs in 2019, Prescott wasn't the problem. He had his best season with 4,902 passing yards, 30 touchdowns and 11 interceptions in his fourth year in the NFL. The Cowboys continue to reiterate that Prescott is their QB of the future, so expect a contract extension to come soon. If that doesn't happen, the franchise tag is another option to retain him for 2020. Prescott finished as the No. 3 fantasy signal-caller last season, and he'll head into the 2020 campaign as a strong high-end QB1.
New England Patriots wide receiver Julian Edelman (shoulder) underwent a shoulder procedure last week that is said to involve "not a lengthy rehab," and Edelman is expected to be ready for the team's offseason program, according to a league source. The 33-year-old was noticeably hindered by his shoulder to close out the year, but overall it was a very successful 2019 season. Edelman had 100 receptions for a career-high 1,117 yards and six touchdowns over a full season. It was the second time in his career that he reached the 100-catch mark as quarterback Tom Brady's only real trusted receiving option. Edelman's outlook may change if Brady isn't under center in 2020, but he should at least be a solid WR2 in PPR leagues.
New England Patriots WR Julian Edelman (shoulder) had a minor shoulder surgery last week, but he's expected to be ready for the offseason program.
Fantasy Spin: Edelman's fantasy value will hinge largely on whether Tom Brady returns to the team. Edelman should be a low-end WR2 in PPR formats.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers WR Chris Godwin (hamstring) will be unable to participate in the Pro Bowl due to a lingering hamstring injury. He'll be replaced by Detroit Lions WR Kenny Golladay.
Cleveland Browns WR Jarvis Landry (hip) isn't expected to have surgery this offseason and will play in the Pro Bowl.
Fantasy Spin: Landry had a career-high 1,174 receiving yards to go with 83 grabs and six scores. The 27-year-old played in all 16 games for the sixth straight year and will be a low-end WR2 option in drafts next year.
Cleveland Browns wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. (abdomen) underwent successful surgery on Tuesday to fix a core muscle injury. A full recovery is expected. OBJ didn't miss a game in his first season with Cleveland despite fighting through injuries. He caught 74 passes for 1,035 yards and only four touchdowns in what was a very disappointing first year with the Browns. Quarterback Baker Mayfield was extremely inconsistent behind a terrible offensive line, which didn't help matters for Beckham's fantasy owners. Another offseason to gain chemistry with Mayfield should help Beckham rebound in 2020, and he could be a nice value pick as a low-end WR1/high-end WR2.
Cleveland Browns wide receiver Jarvis Landry (hip) is not expected to undergo surgery, and he will play in the Pro Bowl. It's great news for a Browns offense that will be looking to shake off the disappointment of the 2019 season heading into 2020. Landry was the team's most consistent wideout last year, catching 83 passes for a career-high 1,174 yards and six touchdowns over a full season. In his six NFL seasons, Landry has had at least 81 receptions and four touchdowns and has never missed a game. He's a very consistent WR2/3 in PPR leagues, and the presence of Odell Beckham Jr. should continue to take attention away from him.
Cleveland Browns WR Odell Beckham Jr. (abdomen) underwent surgery to repair his core muscle Tuesday, Jan. 21, in Philadelphia. He dealt with the injury for multiple weeks during the season.
Fantasy Spin: OBJ had a miserable season by his standards after most likely being a top-five pick. It's not a lock that he returns to the Browns after considerable drama that comes along with his immense talent. He's a risky fantasy asset because of that, but he'll be a WR1 in drafts again next year.
San Francisco 49ers tight end George Kittle and wide receiver Deebo Samuel combined for just three catches for 65 yards in the NFC Championship victory against the Green Bay Packers. Samuel added two rushes for 43 yards. The Niners opened up the game with a dominant running attack and a 27-0 lead, resulting in quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo attempting just eight passes. While the stat sheet was underwhelming, both aerial playmakers made the most of their opportunities, picking up chunk gains on each touch. With the vaunted Kansas City Chiefs offense on deck, the Niners will conceivably need to throw the ball more in the Super Bowl.
San Francisco 49ers wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders failed to record a catch in the NFC Championship blowout win against the Green Bay Packers. With quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo attempting just eight passes, Sanders saw only a single target. The clear third option in a low-volume passing game behind standout rookie wideout Deebo Samuel and tight end George Kittle, Sanders has just two catches in the playoffs. Hell likely be tasked with more work in the Super Bowl against the Kansas City Chiefs.
San Francisco 49ers running back Raheem Mostert exploded for 220 yards and four touchdowns on 29 carries against the Green Bay Packers in the NFC Championship. He also caught two passes for six yards. Mostert was unstoppable on Sunday, converting three rushing scores of 36, nine and 18 in the first half. He capped his evening with a 22-yard touchdown in the third quarter. The fifth-year breakout player was the star in the Niners easy 37-20 victory and will again lead the backfield into the Super Bowl in two weeks against the Kansas City Chiefs.
San Francisco 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo completed just six of eight passes for 77 yards and no scores in the NFC Championship against the Green Bay Packers. Garoppolo had little to do but watch running back Raheem Mostert annihilate the Packers rush defense for 220 yards and four scores. With two consecutive easy victories in the playoffs, Jimmy G has attempted just 27 passes this postseason. Sledding will surely get tougher in the Super Bowl against the red-hot Kansas City Chiefs.
San Francisco 49ers S Jaquiski Tartt (ribs) aggravated his injured ribs during the NFC Championship game but should be available for Super Bowl LIV.
San Francisco 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan said that running back Tevin Coleman (shoulder) suffered a dislocated right shoulder in the NFC Championship win over the Packers on Sunday. Coleman had his shoulder popped back into place and Shanahan thinks that Coleman has a chance to play in the Super Bowl in two weeks. Only time will tell if the 26-year-old will be able to play against Kansas City. He ran the ball six times for 21 yards before his injury and had a season-high 22 totes for 105 yards and two touchdowns in the Divisional win over the Vikings. Even if Coleman plays, he'll be second fiddle to Raheem Mostert, who ran for over 200 yards and four scores against Green Bay. Matt Breida would spell Mostert in the backfield if Coleman doesn't gain clearance.