Tampa Bay Buccaneers' quarterback Tom Brady says he will "be all right" after appearing to injure his throwing arm in the 41-31 home loss to the Kansas City Chiefs.

Brady was strip-sacked by Chiefs safety L'Jarius Sneed in the second quarter, and the 45-year-old signal-caller immediately grabbed at his right arm before making his way to the sideline.

Despite the initial fears, Brady never missed a play and finished the match with season-highs of 385 yards and three touchdowns in defeat.

And Brady was not worried about his arm after the game, saying: "I'll be all right. It's football."

The Bucs' defeat to the Chiefs drops them to 2-2, though they remain atop the NFC South by virtue of their 1-0 record in divisional games.

They could surrender their position next Sunday though as the team second in the division, the 2-2 Atlanta Falcons, travel to face Brady's men at Raymond James Stadium.

Patrick Mahomes put on a masterclass with three touchdown passes as the Kansas City Chiefs improved to 3-1 with a 41-31 win over Tom Brady's Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Sunday.

Mahomes moved beyond 20,000 career passing yards, completing 23 of 37 attempts for 249 yards with three TDs, including an improvised flick for the second of Clyde Edwards-Helaire's TD.

The Chiefs blew away the Bucs early, scoring touchdowns from their opening two drives of the game including a Travis Kelce touchdown after 46 seconds following a Tampa Bay turnover.

Kansas City scored four touchdowns before half-time to lead 28-17 at the main break, representing the most combined points scored in the first half of a game this season.

Running back Edwards-Helaire had 19 carries for 92 yards with one touchdown, along with his one receiving TD, while Kelce made 92 yards from nine receptions with one TD. Kelce also moved past Rob Gronkowski into fifth overall for most career receiving yards for a tight end.

L'Jarius Sneed led the Chiefs' defensive display with eight tackles, including a sack on Brady leading to Noah Grey's one-yard rushing TD. Mahomes found Jody Fortson with 5:42 remaining in the third quarter for their fifth TD to make it 38-17.

Rachaad White and Leonard Fournette scored further TDs for the Bucs to limit the margin after wide receiver Mike Evans, who had eight receptions for 103 yards, scored their two first-half touchdowns.

Brady managed three touchdown passes, throwing for 385 yards on 39-of-52 passing, but the Bucs were always playing catchup after the Chiefs' early domination. The game marked only the fifth time in Brady's career he has scored 31 points and lost.

Week 4 of the NFL season could well have a substantial bearing on how the playoff race shakes out.

Through three weeks, the 2022 campaign has delivered excitement at almost every turn, and there are plenty of high-stakes matchups to whet the appetite this weekend.

There are conference championship and Super Bowl rematches on the docket, as well as extremely intriguing matchups between some of the season's early pacesetters.

But which of the games on the schedule are likely to deliver the best contests? Stats Perform can provide some insight in that regard, using its SmartRatings as a guide.

SmartRatings is an AI-based platform that provides excitement ratings for sporting events, teams and players. The excitement scale, ranging from 0-100, is powered by complex algorithms that are predicated upon six primary variables: pace, parity, novelty, momentum, context and social buzz.

The weight of each variable is dynamic and adapts as a season progresses. The excitement scale translates to the following general sub-ranges: 0-39 (Dull Game), 40-64 (OK Game), 65-84 (Good Game), 85-100 (Great Game).

So, let's take a look at the three games rated among the most exciting on the Week 4 slate and break down the key matchups that could decide them.

Buffalo Bills @ Baltimore Ravens

SmartRating: 67

Win probability: Buffalo Bills (55.3%)

Key Matchup: Lamar Jackson vs. Bills linebackers

The Bills only need to look to their AFC East rivals the New England Patriots for a reminder of what can happen when a defense fails to defend 2019 MVP Lamar Jackson effectively.

Last week, Jackson threw for 218 yards and four touchdowns with one interception while rushing for 107 yards and a touchdown on just 11 carries. He became the first player in Ravens history to throw at least three touchdown passes in each of the team's first three games of a season.

Limiting his efficiency on the ground will be critical for the Bills' hopes of outscoring a potent Ravens offense. On designed runs, Jackson is averaging a remarkable 13.47 yards per carry, with his threat as a runner naturally helping fuel the Ravens' play-action game. Baltimore's average of 10.85 yards per play on play-action is well above the league average of 9.15.

In Matt Milano and Tremaine Edmunds, the Bills possess two athletic and intelligent linebackers. They will need to display their physical gifts and their awareness to help limit Jackson's impact with ball in hand and ensure they do not bite too hard against play-action and open large throwing windows for him to attack. An evenly matched clash between two AFC heavyweights promises to be a classic, and Milano and Edmunds may have a crucial say in it tilting in the favour of Buffalo.

Kansas City Chiefs @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers

SmartRating: 75

Win Probability: Kansas City Chiefs (54.7%)

Key Matchup: Travis Kelce vs. Antoine Winfield Jr.

The Chiefs are unlikely to find much joy targeting the Buccaneers outside corners, Jamel Dean and Carlton Davis, who have each enjoyed excellent starts to the season as they look to gain a measure of revenge for their blowout loss to Tampa Bay in Super Bowl LV.

Instead, Patrick Mahomes will probably look to his most trusted weapon, All-Pro tight end Kelce, to help him get the Chiefs back on track following their shock loss to the Indianapolis Colts last weekend.

Kelce has run 24 routes from the slot this season compared to nine from his in-line tight end spot. Having consistently thrived in the 'power slot' role throughout his career, Kelce will hope to do significant damage from that position while going against one the premier young safeties in the league.

Winfield has spent 63 percent of his snaps this season in the slot but has conceded a burn, which is when a receiver wins his matchup on a play where he is targeted, on seven of his 11 targets. He has given up a big play on four of those targets.

With Kelce registering a burn on 18 of his 24 targets, the matchup looks to be in his favour. Winfield must find a way to ensure it isn't if the Bucs' defense is to provide yet more critical support to an offense that continues to struggle.

Los Angeles Rams @ San Francisco 49ers

SmartRating: 85

Win Probability: Los Angeles Rams 53.0%

Key Matchup: Aaron Donald vs. 49ers' Offensive Line

Even after losing their starting quarterback and All-Pro left tackle to injury, the 49ers are still only seen as slight underdogs in Monday's rematch of last year's NFC Championship Game.

But it is how the 49ers perform up front in the absence of Trent Williams that will likely determine if the Niners can continue their regular-season hoodoo over the Rams.

The Niners have won the last six regular-season meetings with Los Angeles, but the Rams – who finally knocked off their rivals in the game that mattered most – will be confident of ending that streak if Donald and Co. can take advantage of San Francisco sliding Colton McKivitz in at left tackle as Williams' replacement.

Much of that confidence will be based on how Jimmy Garoppolo performs when he is pressured. Among quarterbacks with at least 10 throws under pressure, Garoppolo's well-thrown percentage of 54.5 is the second worst in the NFL.

Donald has already racked up 13 pressures on 40 pass rush snaps and is known for his ability to create pressure from anywhere on the defensive line. McKivitz, right tackle Mike McGlinchey and an extremely inexperienced interior offensive line must deliver their best for San Francisco to avoid falling to 1-3.

Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes is unsure if he will be able to play at the age of 45, but said his aim is to replicate Tom Brady by playing at the highest level for as long as possible.

The Chiefs travel to Brady's Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Sunday, where Mahomes will come up against his legendary counterpart for the first time since the Bucs beat Kansas City at Super Bowl LV.

Both teams are 2-1 in 2022, and coming off Week 3 defeats after the Chiefs were beaten by the Indianapolis Colts, while Tampa Bay lost to the Green Bay Packers.

Brady is the NFL's all-time leader in passing yards (85,193) and touchdown passes (627), while he also led the league in passing yards (5,316) and TD passes (43) last season.

Speaking ahead of Sunday's clash at Raymond James Stadium, Mahomes said he wants to emulate the 45-year-old – who retired at the end of last season before changing his mind – by maintaining a high level for as long as possible.

"I want to play as long as I can play, and I can still have a chance to help the team get better," he said.

"Obviously, it's hard to play until you're 45 years old, and I don't want to be out there just hanging on. You see what Tom is – he's still playing at a very high level.

"I think that's why it's hard for him to kind of give it up – when you're playing at a high level you don't want to leave it.

"For me, I'm going to try to keep my body in the best shape possible and as long as they'll let me play and I can play at a high level, I'll be out there."

Mahomes was fourth in the league for passing yards in 2021 (4,839) and tied fourth for TD passes (37), and credited the impact Brady continues to have in the NFL.

"It's special to see the things that he's done in this league," the 27-year-old added. "The way he was able to change the position, the longevity of great success – I mean that's the crazy part – you look at his career and there's never really been a down year.

"He's always been great and had a great season and found ways to get even better.

"He's done stuff off the field that hasn't impacted him on the field, but still made his legacy even greater, so it's always a great opportunity for me and our team to go up against a great quarterback and really [see] where our team is at."

The NFL is hopeful Sunday's Kansas City Chiefs-Tampa Bay Buccaneers game can take place as scheduled at the latter's Raymond James Stadium, but a Hurricane Ian contingency plan is in place.

If the game needs to move for weather-related safety reasons, it will be relocated to the Minnesota Vikings' U.S. Bank Stadium.

NFL executive vice president of communications Jeff Miller told reporters on Wednesday of the league's plan B.

He said the NFL is in contact with local authorities regarding the category four storm, which has made landfall in southwestern Florida with damaging winds reaching 155mph.

The Bucs have already evacuated Tampa, training at the Miami Dolphins' facility while they are in Cincinnati to play the Bengals on Thursday.

"We're going to try to go about business as usual, and it's a little different, but everybody's families are safe, so hopefully we can concentrate," Tampa Bay coach Todd Bowles said.

In addition to monitoring the hurricane and any potential flooding or destruction around Raymond James Stadium, the league is taking into consideration whether playing the game in Tampa would exhaust resources that could potentially be needed in disaster relief efforts.

The league has not revealed a deadline as to when a decision would be made for the location of the game, but Miller said it will still be played on Sunday rather than being pushed back.

"Until we know more about the storm, it's going to be difficult to make that decision," Miller said.

This would be the second time in as many seasons the NFL has moved a game due to weather after Hurricane Ida forced the Green Bay Packers-New Orleans Saints 2021 season opener to be moved to Jacksonville.

The Saints are facing the Vikings in London this Sunday, making Minnesota's stadium available.

"We can't control the outside forces," Bowles said. "Our thoughts are with the city of Tampa right now, but where we have to play ... hopefully it is Tampa and everything is fine; that means we're not damaged too much.

"But if we have to go play elsewhere, we just have to focus and lock in. Nobody's going to feel sorry for us, so we've got to be ready to play."

Tom Brady acknowledges there have been problems with "execution" right throughout the Tampa Bay Buccaneers' offense this season.

The Bucs ranked second in both total touchdowns (63), yards (6,901) and points (511) in 2021, trailing only the Dallas Cowboys in each category.

But after losing 14-12 to the Green Bay Packers in Week 3 this year, Tampa Bay rank joint-27th in total TDs (four), 25th in yards (892) and joint-21st in points (51).

Never has Brady thrown fewer TD passes through his first three starts of a season (three), while only in four seasons has he had fewer passing yards at this stage (673).

"We've just got to do a better job," said Brady, who insisted a finger injury had "zero" impact on the Packers result.

"I wish it was one thing; we're not running as good as we're capable, the passing game hasn't been very good, our screen game. There are a lot of things."

He added: "Our job is to go out there and score points, so we're just not doing it. We're not going to score points if we don't execute well.

"They [the Packers] did a better job than us – good defense, good, physical defense, I give them a lot of credit.

"They forced us to make a lot of good plays, and we just didn't do a great job in execution."

Still, Brady is not panicking, saying: "We're 2-1. There's a lot of football left. We'll keep working at it.

"It doesn't get any easier next week, going up against the Chiefs, but no one feels sorry for us, nor should we. We've just got to go back to work."

Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers emerged 14-12 victors against Tom Brady's Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Sunday's battle between the legendary quarterbacks.

Despite the presence of arguably the two greatest quarterbacks of this generation, it was the defenses who reigned supreme as the Bucs were only able to score three points in the first half, before holding the Packers scoreless in the second half.

Both teams were missing a number of receiving weapons, and taking advantage of his expanded role was Packers wide receiver Romeo Doubs, catching three passes including a touchdown on Green Bay's very first drive.

The Packers' second drive ended in a touchdown as well, with Rodgers finding Allen Lazard for a 12-yard score with eight minutes remaining in the second quarter, and it would be their last points of the night as their next nine drives resulted in seven punts, one fumble and one interception.

Rodgers finished 27 of 35 for 255 yards, two touchdowns and one interception.

Brady struggled to find any connection with his makeshift receiving core, except with Russell Gage, who caught 12 of his 13 targets for 87 yards and the Bucs' only touchdown to cut the margin to 14-12 with 14 seconds remaining.

But Brady was not able to complete the two-point conversion, and the Buccaneers could not recover the onside kick, ending the game. Brady finished 31 of 42 for 271 yards and one touchdown with no interceptions.

Trevor Lawrence announces his arrival with emphatic blowout

Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback Trevor Lawrence was called a generational prospect when he was selected first overall in the 2021 NFL Draft, and he began to fulfill that promise as he pounded the Los Angeles Chargers 38-10.

Lawrence completed 28 of 39 passes for 262 yards, three touchdowns and no turnovers – completing touchdown passes to Zay Jones, Christian Kirk and Marvin Jones Jr.

As well as getting arguably Lawrence's best showing as a professional, the Jaguars continued to get production from running back James Robinson, posting 100 rushing yards and a touchdown from 17 carries, while also catching three passes for 16 yards.

Chargers quarterback Justin Herbert came into the game nursing fractured rib cartilage and he struggled throughout, although some late garbage-time action padded his stats to a respectable 25 of 45 for 297 yards with one touchdown and one interception.

The Green Bay Packers' trip to face the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Sunday will be a tale of two veteran quarterbacks, though each has different form in previous fixtures heading into the latest encounter.

Tom Brady has thrown 11 touchdowns with zero interceptions in his last five games against the Packers, while Aaron Rodgers has eight touchdown passes and nine interceptions in his five career games against the Buccaneers – the only NFL team he has thrown more interceptions against than touchdowns.

In 2022, both quarterbacks have two touchdown passes from their opening two games of the season with neither team excelling in the air, the Buccaneers having 402 receiving yards, putting them 26th in the rankings, while the Packers are 19th with 494 yards.

The Packers have been far more effective with the ball on the ground, accumulating 314 rushing yards and ranking sixth in the NFL, while the Buccaneers are 14th with 224 yards – 192 of which have come from Leonard Fournette.

Defensively is where Tampa Bay have shone, allowing the fewest points in the NFL this season (13); a tally which stands third in their best-ever starts to the season behind 1992 (10 points) and 2003 (12 points).

The Packers are no pushovers though, allowing their opponents a total of 33 points in the opening two matches and ranking seventh in that regard. Second-half defence has been integral to that, giving up just nine points.

With the teams looking well-matched on both sides of the field, it may come down to individual mistakes in possession and the Buccaneers have the edge in that aspect, fumbling just once this season compared to the Packers four.

Is two games enough of a sample size to glean pertinent information about an NFL team's prospects? Probably not.

Has that ever stopped anyone from making definitive statements about teams and the potential outcome of their season? You already know the answer to that one.

But one thing nobody -- not even the loudest talking head -- can say for certain is that they know who the frontrunner is in the NFC.

In the AFC, plenty are already falling over themselves to crown the Buffalo Bills. An extremely compelling case can be made for the Chiefs and maybe even the Los Angeles Chargers if they can keep Justin Herbert from further injury.

The NFC, though? That's an extremely tough conference to decipher at this early stage.

That is not to say there aren't standout teams. To the contrary, there are six that look to have an excellent shot of representing the NFC in the Super Bowl as they all reside in the top 10 of Stats Perform's power rankings.

Two of them will face off at Raymond James Stadium on Sunday when the Tampa Bay Buccaneers host the Green Bay Packers in what could be the final meeting between Tom Brady and Aaron Rodgers, who met in the NFC Championship Game two seasons ago. The Super Bowl-champion Los Angeles Rams will visit the San Francisco 49ers in a rematch of last year's title game in Week 4.

But which of that group has the best shot? Stats Perform has used its advanced data to examine the case for each of the six.
 

Philadelphia Eagles

Record: 2-0

Power ranking: 1

The Eagles have firmly lived up to their offseason hype so far, with Jalen Hurts piloting an efficient offense that is the most explosive in the NFL through two weeks.

Indeed, the Eagles are fourth in yards per play on offense while, prior to Thursday's game between the Pittsburgh Steelers and Cleveland Browns, no team in the NFL had produced more plays of 10 yards or more than Philadelphia's 39.

A.J. Brown, their blockbuster draft-day trade acquisition, has quickly built a superb rapport with Hurts. The former Tennessee Titans wide receiver has registered a burn, which is when a receiver wins his matchup with a defender on a play where he is targeted, on 14 of his 21 targets and is averaging 8.2 burn yards per route (the league average is 3.6).

The threat Hurts provides in the run game has helped Philadelphia rack up 189.5 yards per game on the ground, second only to the Browns. While a small sample size, the Eagles' early success on the ground is illustrative of just how difficult they are to stop with the diversity of their attack.

There's more reason for doubt on defense, with a three-interception effort against the Minnesota Vikings in which the Eagles allowed only seven points following a 38-35 shootout with the Detroit Lions. Yet a very favourable schedule may not see any defensive failings properly tested until Week 12 against the Packers and allow Philadelphia to move into prime position to compete for the NFC's top seed.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Record: 2-0

Power ranking: 4

Tampa Bay's average margin of victory across two games is 13 points. The Bucs eased past the Dallas Cowboys 19-3 and eventually emerged from a fist fight with the New Orleans Saints as 20-10 victors.

Yet it's tough to declare their start to the season as overly impressive, at least by Brady's lofty standards.

The Bucs have scored only two offensive touchdowns as they have battled injuries at the wide receiver position and struggles on the much-changed interior of the offensive line.

Rather than Brady making a hot start to the season he initially decided against playing, it is the Bucs' defense that has led the way.

There were 182 seconds left in their game with the Saints by the time they surrendered a touchdown for the first time this season, with the Bucs conceding only 4.25 yards per play, the third-fewest in the NFL.

Rodgers and Green Bay will provide an early and stern test of their credentials, but there is evidence to suggest the Bucs will eventually have a recipe for a potential second championship run in three seasons.

For all the protection issues in front of him, Brady has delivered a well-thrown ball on 81.7 per cent of his pass attempts and has thrown just one pickable pass in 60 throws. Given the defense's level of play and the weapons the Bucs still have to return, it stands to reason they will soon be delivering much more complete performances that will greatly enhance their reputation as contenders.

Los Angeles Rams

Record 1-1

Power ranking: 3

Thrashed by Buffalo on the night they raised their Super Bowl banner before having to survive a remarkable late scare against the lowly Atlanta Falcons, the Rams do not look like a team ready to repeat.

They still sit third in the power rankings, but there are plenty of red flags surrounding the Rams in this embryonic season.

It is the pass protection that stands as the most pressing concern, Matthew Stafford was under constant duress in the opener and injuries up front have hurt the Rams' cause further, hindering Stafford to the point where he is averaging almost half a yard under expectation in expected passing situations.

With 58 total points allowed, there are clearly vast improvements to be made on defense, too.

However, Aaron Donald already has a league-leading 17 pressures and Jalen Ramsey came up with the game-clinching interception in the endzone against Atlanta, and that often decisive star power makes the Rams a tough team to count out, especially with a game against an Arizona Cardinals team they have consistently dominated on the horizon in Week 3.

San Francisco 49ers

Record 1-1

Power ranking: 5

The greatest threat to the Rams from inside their own division comes from the team who suffered an injury that would have ended the hopes of most teams in the league.

San Francisco lost quarterback Trey Lance in just his second game of his first season as starter in the 49ers' 27-7 win over the Seattle Seahawks on Sunday.

Yet, by keeping Jimmy Garoppolo around on a restructured contract, the 49ers gave themselves an insurance policy, one that can keep them firmly in the mix even without Lance.

Garoppolo has helped the 49ers to the brink of Super Bowl glory in the 2019 season and the NFC Championship Game last term and, while the Niners' ceiling without Lance is perhaps lowered, the floor of Super Bowl-calibre roster has been raised by the former New England Patriot's return to the line-up.

Though they suffered an upset at the hands of a Chicago Bears in Week 1, the 49ers have one of the most complete rosters in the league and their defense is off to a magnificent start, allowing the second-fewest yards per play (4.08) in the NFL.

It was anticipated the safety position may be a weakness. Instead, it has so far been an unexpected strength, as has an inexperienced and remodelled offensive line that has won 81.6 per cent of its pass-blocking matchups. It will be tough to identify an obvious flaw on this team if the pass protection continues to excel, with the play in the trenches made even more critical because of Garoppolo's long injury history.

Minnesota Vikings

Record: 1-1

Power ranking: 8

Hopes the Vikings could become one of the most dynamic offensive teams in football under Kevin O'Connell were damaged by Monday's 24-7 defeat to the Eagles.

Despite another vintage primetime meltdown from Kirk Cousins, the Vikings have the makeup of a team that could contend to go deep in the NFC playoffs if things break right.

They demonstrated how dangerous O'Connell's offense can be in their opening win over the Packers, with Justin Jefferson weaponised by the former Rams assistant's complex attack.

Even though he was kept in check by Philadelphia, Jefferson's 8.5 burn yards per target are the fifth-most among receivers with at least 10 targets in the first two games.

The offensive line remains a problem, but the early signs are that the Vikings' defensive front will be one that tilts games in their favour, having already registered six sacks for negative yardage.

Cousins is delivering the ball accurately, posting a well-thrown rate of 86.5 per cent and, though there are questions about his ability to perform under the brightest spotlight, a schedule that features 10 games against 2021 non-playoff teams could give the Vikings the edge of their division rivals in the fight to get to the NFL's postseason pressure cooker.

Green Bay Packers

Record: 1-1

Power ranking: 9

The Packers got the poor start out of the way in a Week 1 loss in Minnesota that left Aaron Rodgers visibly exasperated. Normal service was resumed, however, in the routine Week 2 win over the Bears.

Green Bay's problem is that the Packers have a roster in which several holes can be picked. The offensive line has struggled amid left tackle David Bakhtiari's prolonged absence, while the Packers' hopes of fixing their continually porous run defense have not come to pass as yet. They have surrendered 5.56 yards per play on the ground, the fourth-most in the NFL.

Rodgers has yet to build a rapport with a young receiver corps as the Packers look to put the Davante Adams saga and eventual trade to the Las Vegas Raiders behind them. Though the lack of a connection may be more down to a paucity of faith in his inexperienced wideouts' ability to catch the ball, rather than any worries about their success in creating separation.

Second-round pick Christian Watson has recorded an impressive 14.4 burn yards per target on the small sample size of seven targets. With Rodgers delivering a well-thrown ball on 89.3 per cent of his attempts, it might not be too long before Watson becomes a more integral part of the passing game, though the diversity the Packers gain through having running backs Aaron Jones and A.J. Dillon on the field at the same time can keep the offense performing efficiently regardless of how the wideouts progress.

Jones, unquestionably one of the most complete backs in the NFL, has produced a big play on three of his eight targets this season, with defenses forced to respect both the run and the pass when he and Dillon line up in two-running back personnel groupings.

The Packers' secondary, despite being shredded by Jefferson in Week 1, is in the top 12 in open percentage allowed while the strength of their defensive line has Green Bay in the top 12 in pass rush win percentage.

Both the front and the back of the Green Bay defense have the talent to rise much higher on those lists and, if such strides are accompanied by Rodgers developing an understanding with his new weapons, the Packers will likely soon have a compelling case for being the conference's elite.

Tom Brady has brushed off concerns about an injury to the ring finger of his throwing hand despite the Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback appearing in discomfort at practice on Thursday.

The 45-year-old has had a slow start in the first two games of the season, throwing for fewer than 225 yards in back-to-back games for the first time since Week 14 and 15 of the 2019 season.

Brady has thrown two touchdown passes for 402 yards with a 59 per cent completion rate, but despite that the Bucs have a winning record at 2-0, largely due to their defense.

The seven-time Super Bowl winner revealed earlier this week he had injured his right ring finger in Sunday's 20-10 win over the New Orleans Saints.

Brady appeared in discomfort at practice on Thursday, too, but downplayed any issue ahead of Sunday's game against the Green Bay Packers.

"Great. I feel great," Brady told reporters with a hint of sarcasm. "It's football season."

Brady was not named on the Buccaneers' injury report earlier this week.

He had told the 'Let's Go!' Podcast on Monday: "I banged it up pretty good, but it didn't affect me at all in the game. It's just going to be sore throughout the week. But it's one of those bumps and bruises that comes along with playing.

"Different things – you get hit and you get kicked and you get kneed – all these things that come up. It's demolition derby out there.

"It's who can recover fast enough in order to put yourself in position to practice, prepare and then go play the next week, so lots of bumps and bruises to take care of over the season."

The NFL has upheld Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver Mike Evans' one-game suspension for his actions during last week's game against the New Orleans Saints.

Evans was deemed to have violated unnecessary roughness and unsportsmanlike conduct rules when he knocked Saints cornerback Marshon Lattimore to the ground during the fourth quarter of Tampa Bay's 20-10 win. He was ejected along with Lattimore, who provoked the incident by getting in the face of Bucs quarterback Tom Brady before Evans intervened with a blindside shove that prompted a brief melee between the teams.

The four-time Pro Bowler will miss Sunday's game at the Green Bay Packers after appeals officer and former NFL wide receiver James Thrash denied Evans' request to overturn the penalty.

Evans' absence further depletes a Buccaneers receiving corps that was already shorthanded last week with Chris Godwin and Julio Jones both inactive. Godwin is reportedly expected to miss multiple games after injuring his hamstring in Tampa Bay's season-opening win at the Dallas Cowboys, while Jones sat out the New Orleans game with a knee injury and is uncertain to return against the Packers.

The Buccaneers did sign veteran slot receiver Cole Beasley to the practice squad on Tuesday, though it is unclear if he'll be ready to help out immediately.

Evans, the only player in NFL history to begin his career with eight consecutive seasons of 1,000 or more receiving yards, leads Tampa Bay with eight catches and 132 receiving yards through two games.

The 29-year-old was previously suspended one game in 2017 for a similar confrontation with Lattimore.

In this latest incident, NFL vice president of football operations Jon Runyan determined that Evans' actions were excessive and unnecessary and broke league safety and sportsmanship rules.

"After a play had ended, you were walking toward your sidelines. When you noticed your team-mates engaged in a confrontation with Saints' players, you ran toward that area on the field and violently threw your body into and struck an unsuspecting opponent who was part of that confrontation," Runyan wrote in a letter to Evans informing him of the decision.

"You knocked your opponent to the ground and a melee ensued involving players from both teams. Your aggressive conduct could have caused serious injury to your opponent and clearly does not reflect the high standards of sportsmanship expected of a professional."

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are expected to sign veteran wide receiver Cole Beasley to their practice squad, according to sources.

With Mike Evans facing a one-game suspension, and the duo of Chris Godwin (hamstring) and Julio Jones (knee) dealing with injuries, Tampa Bay will add Beasley, a 10-year veteran who spent the past three seasons with the Buffalo Bills. It is expected that he will be elevated to the active roster in the near future.

Beasley was released by the Bills in March despite matching a career high with 82 receptions in 16 games last season. He had been granted permission to seek a trade before he was released but was eventually let go in a move that created roughly $6.1million in salary-cap space.

Tampa Bay will likely enter this Sunday’s Week 3 showdown against the Green Bay Packers without Evans, unless the suspension for his role in a brawl with the New Orleans Saints on Sunday is overturned. Godwin and Jones, meanwhile, both missed the 20-10 victory and are questionable to face the Packers.

Evans’ appeal of his suspension was heard Tuesday, sources told ESPN, and a ruling is expected possibly as soon as Wednesday.

Beasley has been a reliable slot receiver during his career with the Bills and Dallas Cowboys, accumulating 550 catches for 5,709 yards with 34 touchdowns in 149 games.

Mike Evans has been suspended for one game without pay by the NFL after the Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver clashed with the New Orleans Saints' Marshon Lattimore.

Evans and Saints cornerback Lattimore were engaged in a physical battle throughout the Buccaneers' 20-10 victory at the Superdome on Monday.

It boiled over in the fourth quarter when the latter got in the face of Tom Brady as the Buccaneers' quarterback appealed for a penalty flag on an unsuccessful third-down play.

Evans came in and knocked Lattimore to the turf, prompting a melee that resulted in both players being disqualified.

The pair have history, with Evans previously being suspended for one game for a cheap shot on Lattimore in 2017. 

Evans spoke to the media after the game and did not expect to receive any kind of suspension, though that confidence was clearly misplaced.

An NFL statement read: "NFL vice president of football operations Jon Runyan issued the suspension for a violation of Rule 12, Section 2, Article 8(g) which prohibits 'unnecessarily running, diving into, cutting, or throwing the body against or on a player who is out of the play or should not have reasonably anticipated such contact by an opponent, before or after the ball is dead,' as well as Rule 12, Section 3, Article 1 which prohibits any act which is 'contrary to the generally understood principles of sportsmanship'."

Runyan also personally wrote to Evans explaining the decision, which is still subject to a potential appeal.

He said: "After a play had ended, you were walking toward your sidelines. When you noticed your team-mates engaged in a confrontation with Saints' players, you ran toward that area on the field and violently threw your body into and struck an unsuspecting opponent who was part of that confrontation.

"You knocked your opponent to the ground and a melee ensued involving players from both teams. Your aggressive conduct could have caused serious injury to your opponent and clearly does not reflect the high standards of sportsmanship expected of a professional."

Evans can return to the Buccaneers' active roster on September 26, the day after their game against the Green Bay Packers.

Mike Evans is not concerned about potentially receiving a suspension from the NFL following his ejection in the Tampa Bay Buccaneers' win over the New Orleans Saints for his confrontation with Marshon Lattimore.

The Buccaneers capitalised on three interceptions from former Tampa Bay quarterback Jameis Winston to emerge from the Superdome with a 20-10 win.

It snapped a seven-game regular-season losing streak for the Buccaneers against their NFC South rivals.

Wide receiver Evans and Saints cornerback Lattimore were engaged in a physical battle throughout and it boiled over in the fourth quarter when the latter got in the face of Tom Brady as the Buccaneers' quarterback appealed for a penalty flag on an unsuccessful third-down play.

Evans came in and knocked Lattimore to the turf, prompting a melee that resulted in both players being disqualified. The pair have history, with Evans previously being suspended for one game for a cheap shot on Lattimore in 2017. Despite that previous episode, Evans does not expect to receive similar discipline this time around.

"It gets spicy when you come to New Orleans, they're a good team, physical team, we matched that today," Evans said

"All I seen was, I know we were trying to get a flag called and it wasn't called, all I see was Lattimore punch Lenny [Fournette] in the face or something like that and then like push Tom, that's all I saw. I just pushed him."

Asked about the potential for a ban, he replied: "Nah, that was 2017, I didn't even get ejected in that. That was really a cheap shot, this wasn't."

Saints defensive end Cameron Jordan had a very different view of events.

"It hurts to lose your best corner," Jordan said. "Guys gun at him because they know he is one of the best corners in the league.

"When I saw the replay, [Lattimore] didn't go after anybody. Somebody came after him. What do you want him to do in that situation?"

Brady was visibly annoyed for much of the game as the Bucs laboured before pulling away with 17 fourth-quarter points, at one point taking out his frustration on a tablet after a disappointing end to an offensive series.

"It's an emotional game," Brady said. "A little bit of execution helps all the way around. I thought the defense played well again and the offensive line fought hard.

"Tough game all around. That is a really good team, really well coached — a team we really struggle with. So, it feels good to win."

Three turnovers in the fourth quarter propelled the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to a 20-10 victory against the New Orleans Saints in a frustrating game for Tom Brady.

The seven-time Super Bowl champion angrily tossed a tablet on the sidelines as both offences struggled to get going, with just a field goal apiece at the end of the third quarter.

A Jamel Dean interception proved to be the turning point though, setting up Brady for an 11-play drive, which was capped off by a 28-yard pass to Breshad Perriman.

Dean struck again in the following drive for the Saints, intercepting Jameis Winston in back-to-back possessions for the Saints and putting the Buccaneers in a solid position on the opposition 29-yard line.

Brady was unable to capitalise, the Buccaneers instead settling on a field goal to extend their lead. The visitors would hold firm despite Michael Thomas giving the Saints hope with a seven-yard touchdown reception.

Having suffered four consecutive regular season losses to the Saints since joining the Buccaneers, Brady's run came to an end, but it was not a vintage performance for the veteran, who completed 18 of 34 attempts for a total of 190 yards.

Tagovailoa shines in comeback victory

Lamar Jackson and the Baltimore Ravens had a fine start against the Miami Dolphins, Devin Duvernay taking the opening kick-off for a 103-yard return and Jackson having three touchdown passes in the first half, as well as a 79-yard rushing touchdown.

When Jackson completed a 75-yard touchdown pass to Rashod Bateman, he became the first quarterback in NFL history to have 75-yard passing and rushing touchdowns in the same game.

Trailing by 21 points heading into the fourth quarter, Tua Tagovailoa threw four touchdown passes to secure a remarkable 42-38 comeback victory – finishing the game with six touchdown passes and 469 yards, completing 36 of 50 attempts.

Jets stun Browns with huge comeback

Victory for the Cleveland Browns at home against the New Yorks Jets would have secured a 2-0 record to start a season for the first time since 1993, and Kevin Stefanski's side looked to be set for a historic win, leading by two scores heading into the final stages.

Nick Chubb had starred with three touchdowns, totalling 87 yards from 17 carries, putting the Browns on the brink, but the Jets responded valiantly to score two touchdowns inside the two-minute warning.

Joe Flacco combined with Corey Davis for a 66-yard touchdown, before the Jets then recovered an onside kick and pulled ahead through a Garrett Wilson touchdown catch to win 31-30.

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