Tom Brady will not be rested for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers' final regular season game, with Todd Bowles vowing to field his starters.

Tampa Bay locked up the NFC South with a Week 17 win over the Carolina Panthers on Sunday at Raymond Jones Stadium, securing a top-four berth for the playoffs.

With nothing but a winning record to play for in Week 18 against the Atlanta Falcons, however, there had been questions as to whether the Bucs would choose to protect key players in an effective dead rubber.

Brady stated after victory he wanted to play against Atlanta, and now Bowles has revealed he intends to put his strongest line-up out rather than go the safe route.

"We can get better at a lot of things, so right now I'm planning on playing them," he said on Monday. "We'll see as the week goes forward.

"But we can get better at a lot of things that we need to work on, and we don't need to take our foot off the gas.

"You've got to weigh the pluses and minuses to that. So we'll see how the week goes, and we'll try to make some arrangements or corrections if we need to make them, and we'll go from there."

An 8-8 record this season means that a win against the Falcons can help the Bucs avoid the ignominy of a losing campaign heading into the postseason.

Bowles – who celebrated a second division title in a row with milk and cookies – is aware a third straight win will help the Bucs peak at the right time

"It'll boost morale," he added. "Winning helps, period, whether it's playoffs or regular season. You want to win every game you play.

"Obviously we had some tough ones we lost, we had some tough ones we won.

"But winning the last two the way we did, obviously that builds morale more, and you want to go in on a high note."

The list of things that have not gone entirely to plan for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers is pretty extensive.

From offensive line injuries to an inconsistent pass rush and the questionable decision-making of head coach Todd Bowles in his first year in the job, the Buccaneers have had to deal with both misfortune and a host of self-inflicted problems.

Yet the most bemusing issue in what can at best be described as an up-and-down season for Tom Brady following his about-face on his initial offseason decision to retire has been his lack of a rapport with Mike Evans.

Sideline frustration between Brady and Evans has been a common theme for Tampa Bay in 2022, with the latter's struggles seeing him go 11 games without scoring a receiving touchdown.

That frustration was alleviated emphatically on Sunday as Evans exploded for a hat-trick of touchdowns in helping the Buccaneers overturn a 21-10 deficit against the Carolina Panthers and clinch the NFC South with a 30-24 victory at Raymond James Stadium.

Evans caught deep shots of 63, 57 and 30 yards from Brady as he destroyed an injury-hit Panthers secondary.

He created a burn, which is when a receiver wins his matchup on a play where he is targeted, on eight of his 12 targets in a performance that saw him rack up 207 receiving yards. Evans averaged 17.25 burn yards per target, trailing only Christian Watson and Davante Adams among wideouts with at least five targets in Week 17 as of Sunday.

It was belated reward for a season in which Evans, despite consistently appearing out of sync with Brady, he has excelled at getting open. Indeed, heading into Week 17, Evans led the NFL in combined open percentage (56.47) in matchups against man and zone coverage (min. 100 matchups).

His first deep touchdown reception saw Evans surpass 1,000 receiving yards for the season. It is his ninth successive 1,000-yard campaign, tying Tim Brown for the second-longest such streak in NFL history. Only San Francisco 49ers legend Jerry Rice (11) can claim to have more consecutive four-figure receiving seasons.

Evans' own record for the most successive 1,000-yard receiving seasons to start a career was also extended, but more important than his individual milestones is the confidence his treble could give both him and Brady as they prepare for the postseason.

The Buccaneers have had precious little on which to rely on the offensive side of the ball, save for their performance when going no-huddle and Brady's ability to lead comebacks in the fourth quarter.

Brady has a career-high five game-winning drives this season and four fourth-quarter comebacks, a tally that is one shy of his career-high in that respect.

But the rekindling of Brady's connection with Evans gives Tampa Bay something to lean on, a route to explosive plays that will be all the more critical in the postseason.

A narrow win over the Panthers won't do much to change perceptions that the Bucs are a team well short of being able to compete for a Super Bowl. However, Brady and Evans connecting consistently downfield improves the odds of them at least doing damage in the playoffs, especially in a possible first-round matchup with a volatile and vulnerable Dallas Cowboys secondary.

It's likely to be the final year of the Brady-Evans partnership in Tampa, one that has resulted in 32 touchdowns since the quarterback left the New England Patriots to head to the Buccaneers.

Though it remains a long shot that Brady's expected swansong with the Bucs will result in a second title in three seasons, his farewell may be extended a few weeks longer than many anticipated if he and Evans can deliver a few more demonstrations of the rapport that had previously made this offense so devastating.

Tom Brady believes the Tampa Bay Buccaneers have a knack for making life tough for themselves after coming from behind to beat the Carolina Panthers and claim the NFC South division on Sunday.

A 20-point fourth-quarter performance at Raymond James Stadium saw the Florida outfit storm home to take a 30-24 win, improving to 8-8 for the season.

It is a second straight division title for the Buccaneers, who will have the chance to finish the season with a winning record when they face the Atlanta Falcons in Week 18.

Brady, who threw for 432 yards and delivered three long touchdowns to Mike Evans, saw his side dig themselves out for the second week in a row, leaving him to ponder if they bring their struggles upon themselves.

"NFL games are tough to win, and we always figure out a way to keep them somehow exciting," he said afterwards. "I wish they wouldn't be as exciting as we made them.

"We've battled through a lot of tough things this year [but we are] happy to win the division. It's always tough to do it."

Head coach Todd Bowles concurred his team like to make things difficult, but acknowledged their success proved to be the ultimate prize, regardless of how they claimed it.

"Every year, you try to win the division, and we won the division," he added. "It doesn't matter how you win the division. My heart ain't got much left in it, but it feels great.

"We're in one spot we need to be. We can't get where we want to be unless we win the division. We won the division."

The Philadelphia Eagles again missed the chance to clinch the number one seed in the NFC as they were stunned 20-10 at home by the New Orleans Saints.

Philadelphia's offense was again without quarterback Jalen Hurts because of a shoulder injury and, after coming up short in a thriller with the Dallas Cowboys last week, the Eagles saw their attack sputter with backup Gardner Minshew under center.

The Saints, who went into the game still in the mix to win the NFC South, dominated time of possession in the first half and led 13-0 at the long break thanks a Taysom Hill one-yard touchdown run and a pair of Will Lutz field goals.

Philadelphia looked to have found the necessary spark when, after a Jake Elliott field goal got them on the board, Minshew and A.J. Brown connected for a 78-yard catch and run.

However, it proved a false dawn for the Eagles, whose defeat was essentially confirmed when Marshon Lattimore intercepted Minshew and returned the pick 11 yards for a touchdown as the four-time Pro Bowl corner returned from a 10-week injury absence.

The Saints' victory means the Eagles drop to 13-3, giving the Minnesota Vikings (12-3) and San Francisco 49ers (11-4) hope they could yet catch Philadelphia and win the race for the NFC's only first-round bye and home-field advantage throughout the playoffs.

New Orleans can still reach the postseason, but the NFC South title is out of reach.


The South is beyond the Saints because the Tampa Bay Buccaneers clinched it with a 30-24 victory over the Carolina Panthers.

Tampa Bay knew they would win the division with triumph, but trailed 21-10 after Sam Darnold's third touchdown pass of the game. However, having tossed a 63-yard touchdown to Mike Evans in the first half, Tom Brady hit on two further deep shots of 57 and 30 yards to complete a turnaround for the Bucs.

Evans' decisive hat-trick came after a run of 11 games without a touchdown, exploding for 207 yards from his 10 catches.


The New York Giants will join NFC East rivals the Eagles and the Dallas Cowboys in the playoffs after they clinched a postseason berth for the first time since 2016 by routing the Indianapolis Colts 38-10.

Their win leaves just one NFC playoff berth up for grabs, and the Detroit Lions will be confident of grabbing it following their 41-10 blowout of the Chicago Bears. Meanwhile, Carson Wentz threw three interceptions as the Washington Commanders' hopes suffered a blow with a 24-10 home loss to the Cleveland Browns.

On the AFC side, the New England Patriots' held a Tua Tagovailoa-less Miami Dolphins offense in check in a 23-21 win that kept their Wild Card hopes, as well as those of the Pittsburgh Steelers and Las Vegas Raiders, alive.

Mike Evans made history with his 63-yard touchdown reception in the first half of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers' critical Week 17 clash with the Carolina Panthers.

The Bucs went into the half trailing 14-10, but knowing victory would clinch the NFC South and their spot in the playoffs.

It would have been much worse for the Bucs if not for Tom Brady's deep shot to Evans, which took the latter to the 1,000-yard mark for the ninth successive season.

That saw him tie Oakland Raiders great Tim Brown for the second-longest such streak in NFL history.

Only San Francisco 49ers legend Jerry Rice has a longer streak (11).

Evans already owned the longest such streak to start a career, extending his own record with a reception that the Bucs hoped would be the catalyst for a comeback in a potentially decisive game.

The 2022 NFL season heads into its final two weeks with battles for the postseason and for playoff seeding set to go right to the wire.

Nine teams have already clinched their place in the postseason, and there are seven teams with clinching scenarios in Week 17.

That should make for a fascinating slate of games in which the finer details that often prove decisive will be even more critical.

In a week where so many have so much to play for, Stats Perform has picked out the biggest games of the week and used its advanced data to break down the key matchups that could settle their outcomes.

Carolina Panthers @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Win Probability: Buccaneers 72.9 per cent

Key Matchup: Panthers' run game vs. Tampa Bay defense

The Buccaneers know the task in front of them at Raymond James Stadium: win and, despite an extremely underwhelming season, and they are in the playoffs as champions of the dismal NFC South.

Lose and the Panthers will have the lead of the division with the tiebreaker over Tampa Bay heading into the final week of the regular season.

Carolina stunningly prevailed 21-3 over Tampa Bay in Week 7 and the key to that win will again likely determine whether the Panthers can complete the sweep.

The Panthers averaged 6.4 yards per rush in that victory and head into this game on the back of racking up 320 yards on the ground in a dominant win over the Detroit Lions.

While Carolina had success running the ball against Tampa Bay in the previous meeting, the Buccaneers remain one of the better teams in the NFL defending the ground game. Indeed, their run success rate allowed of 33.7 per cent is tied for the fourth-best in the NFL.

If the Bucs can take away the Carolina ground game and force Sam Darnold to win the game on his arm, Tampa Bay figure to be excellently positioned to claim victory and the fourth seed in the NFC playoffs.

Minnesota Vikings @ Green Bay Packers

Win Probability: Vikings 56.3 per cent

Key Matchup: Justin Jefferson vs. Jaire Alexander

Way back in Week 1, the Vikings cruised to a 23-7 win over the Packers that set the tone for hugely contrasting seasons. The Vikings have usurped the Packers as the dominant force in the NFC North, though each of their 11 wins since the season-opening defeat of Green Bay have been by one score.

Though the Vikings' ability to close out tight games has been extremely impressive, their inability to put teams away earlier gives them an air of vulnerability that Green Bay will look to exploit as the 7-8 Packers aim to keep their playoff hopes alive.

Still looking over their shoulders at the hottest team in football, the San Francisco 49ers, in the race for the second seed in the NFC, and within touching distance of the Philadelphia Eagles in the fight for the one seed, the Vikings have no shortage of motivation to make it two wins out of two against their biggest rivals this season.

Their simplest route to claiming a comfortable win over the Packers is to feed the man who shredded Green Bay in the season opener. Justin Jefferson had nine catches for 184 yards and two touchdowns in that contest and has continued to embellish his resume as arguably the best wide receiver in football in 2022.

No receiver in the NFL has more receptions of 20 yards or more than Jefferson's 27 this season, and the Packers will be desperate to try to limit his impact at Lambeau Field.

The debate in Week 1 surrounded whether the Packers should have had cornerback Jaire Alexander shadow Jefferson and he will surely look to match up with the Vikings star this time around.

While not performing at his All-Pro level of 2020, Alexander is 23rd among outside cornerbacks with at least 200 coverage snaps for burn rate, which measures how often a receiver wins his matchup with a defender on a play where he is targeted. Alexander has allowed receivers to win their matchup on 33 of his 72 targets for a burn rate of 45.9 per cent.

Jefferson will still fancy he can get the better of Alexander and, coming off a strong performance against the Miami Dolphins, the latter's ability to contain one of the NFL's premier offensive weapons may have a significant bearing on whether the Packers are playing postseason football in the second full week of January.

Cincinnati Bengals @ Buffalo Bills

Win Probability: Bills 61.5 per cent

Key Matchup: Joe Burrow vs. Buffalo pass rush

The Bengals and Bills square off in one of the most significant Monday Night Football games in recent memory with both teams firmly in the mix for the one seed in the AFC.

Defeat for the Bills would likely give the Kansas City Chiefs, who face the Denver Broncos on Sunday, top spot going into Week 18, but it would also see the Bengals leapfrog them and put Cincinnati in position to potentially host two home playoff games. The Bengals also hold the tiebreaker over the Chiefs but are a game back on Kansas City.

Even with a win in Buffalo, the Bengals would likely need help from the Las Vegas Raiders against the Chiefs in Week 18 to top the AFC. Their path to keeping those hopes alive with victory in Orchard Park surrounds the man who propelled Cincinnati to the Super Bowl last season, Joe Burrow.

Though the Bengals' offensive line has improved this year, it still ranks 24th in pass block win rate. Buffalo's defense, missing Von Miller following his season-ending knee injury, is fourth in pass rush win rate.

It is a mismatch on paper, but one Burrow can negate with his ability to get the ball out quickly and accurately.

Only Tom Brady (2.35 seconds) has a quicker average time to throw from snap to release than Burrow (2.45 seconds) among quarterbacks with at least 200 pass attempts, and the Cincinnati quarterback has again been devastatingly accurate with his ball placement. He has delivered an accurate, well-thrown ball on 87.5 per cent of attempts, the third-best ratio in the league (min. 200 throws).

Burrow is a quarterback who in his still young pro career has shone while under the biggest spotlights. Both he and a Buffalo defense minus the player recruited in the offseason to help put the Bills over the top, will hope to prove they are ready to deliver in the pressure cooker of the playoffs by producing a decisive performance in a game that will go a long way to deciding how complicated each team's path becomes.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers backup quarterback Blaine Gabbert assisted in a water rescue after a helicopter crash near the Florida city.

Gabbert and his brothers were riding jet skis nearby when they saw a helicopter with four passengers make an emergency water landing near the Davis Islands.

Tampa police said that the chopper had been on an aerial tour and was returning to Peter O. Knight Airport when it lost power, forcing the pilot to attempt a water landing.

No one was injured in the crash, although one passenger, 28-year-old Hunter Rapp, said that he was trapped underwater for nearly a minute.

"I vaguely remember seeing two yellow life jackets, so I was like, 'We've got to go check this out,'" Gabbert recalled to reporters Friday.

"They looked like they were in duress; we raced over there.

"The youngest kid had just come up and said he was pinned in there, and I asked if anyone else was trapped. Then I called 9-1-1 and tried to remain as calm as possible, but it all turned positive."

Gabbert credited the first responders on the scene for the rescue and their quick response.

"I was just in the right place, right time, I guess," Gabbert said.

"I got two on my jet ski and my brothers got one. The pilot was still in the water, and that's when [Tampa police] pulled up, and I dragged him a little towards the boat.

"It was a pretty crappy situation that turned good in the end."

Gabbert was drafted in the first round of the 2011 NFL Draft by the Jacksonville Jaguars and is in his 12th professional season, his third backing up Tom Brady in Tampa Bay. 

A host of teams can start 2023 on a high note by clinching an NFL playoff place in an eagerly awaited Week 17.

There are also divisional titles to be won on New Year's Day, with Tom Brady's Tampa Bay Buccaneers within touching distance of winning the NFC South ahead of a clash against the Carolina Panthers.

The Seattle Seahawks and the New York Jets lock horns scenting a spot in the postseason, while the Miami Dolphins could seal a playoff berth when they do battle with the New England Patriots.

Here Stats Perform used its data to preview the biggest games with plenty at stake at the beginning of a new year.

SUNDAY (all times EST)

Panthers (6-9) at Buccaneers (7-8) 1pm

The Buccaneers can clinch the NFC South title for a second straight season if they beat the Panthers, a feat they have never previously achieved.

After a 21-3 win in Week 7, the Panthers are going for the season sweep of the Buccaneers for the first time since 2017. That was also the last season they made the playoffs.

Tampa Bay beat the Arizona Cardinals 19-16 in their final game of 2022. The Buccaneers have scored 21 or fewer points in all seven of their wins this season. 

Carolina overcame the Detroit Lions 37-23 in Week 16 behind 320 yards rushing and 250 yards passing. They were the first NFL team with 300 rush yards and 250 pass yards in a game since the San Francisco 49ers in Week 12, 2012.

Jets (7-8) at Seahawks (7-8) 4.05pm

The Seahawks have dominated the Jets in recent years, winning all four games against them since 2005 and conceding only 30 points in the process. That is just 7.5 points per game, which is the fewest allowed by any NFL team against a single opponent over that time.

Pete Carroll is in his 17th season as an NFL head coach and has never missed the playoffs in consecutive seasons. The Seattle boss is the only head coach in NFL history to coach at least 15 seasons in the league and never have consecutive seasons in which he did not lead his team to the playoffs.

DK Metcalf has had at least five receptions in eight straight games, tied with John L. Williams (1989-90) and Brian Blades (1995) for the longest streak in Seahawks franchise history.

The Jets are allowing 10.8 fewer points per game than they did last season (29.6 to 18.8), on pace to be the second-largest season-to-season improvement in the NFL in the past 40 years behind the 2000-01 Rams (29.4 to 17.1, -12.3). 

Dolphins (8-7) @ Patriots (7-8) - 1pm

New England are due a win over the Dolphins, who have beaten them in four consecutive games - the last of which was a 20-7 success in Week 1.

Miami are the only team to beat the Patriots four times in a row since Bill Belichick took over as head coach of the Patriots in 2000. With a loss this week, Miami would join Tennessee as the only teams this season with a winning streak of at least five games and a losing streak of at least five games.

Tua Tagovailoa posted a career-high 12.4 yards per pass attempt in last week's loss to the Green Bay Packers. It was the highest yards-per-attempt in a loss by a starting Dolphins quarterback in team history. He misses out this week due to concussion, though, so Teddy Bridgewater steps in.

New England’s comeback bid fell short in a 22-18 loss to the Bengals last week. The Patriots have lost nine straight games when trailing after three quarters, with only the Panthers (41 straight losses) and Seahawks (13 straight) having longer active streaks.


Bills (12-3) @ Bengals (11-4) - 8.30pm

The Bills know they will get a first-round bye in the playoffs if they see off the Bengals and the Kansas City Chiefs lose to the Denver Broncos. Following Cincinnati's win over the Bills in the 1988 AFC Championship Game, the Bills won 10 straight in this series. Since then, Cincinnati are 4-2 against Buffalo, with the most recent meeting resulting in a 21-17 Buffalo win in Week 3, 2019.

The Bills beat the Bears 35-13 in Chicago last week, extending their winning run to six games. Buffalo have scored at least 20 points in each of those wins – they have just two longer streaks of wins with 20+ points – a nine-game streak in 1964 and a seven-game streak in 1990.

The Bengals' road win over the Patriots extended their winning streak to seven games, one shy of tying the franchise record of eight – achieved in the first eight games of the 2015 season (also an eight-game streak spanning the 1970 and 1971 seasons).

Joe Burrow had 375 passing yards last week, his second-highest total of the season. It was his seventh career game with at least 350 passing yards, fourth most in the NFL since 2020 behind Tom Brady (13), Patrick Mahomes (12) and Josh Allen (9). 


The Denver Broncos start life after Nathaniel Hackett with a tough trip to take on the Kansas City Chiefs in their first game since the head coach's firing. The Chiefs have won 14 straight games against the Broncos dating back to the 2015 season. Just five teams in NFL history have beaten another team 15 times in a row, with the last team to do so being the Patriots against the Bills from 2003 to 2010.  

The Philadelphia Eagles host the New Orleans Saints knowing they can clinch the NFC East and the number one seed in their conference with a win.

The Eagles are 11-3 (.786) all-time at home against the Saints, which includes an active three-game winning streak. That is the Eagles' third-best home record against any opponent all-time (3-0 versus the Texans and 6-1 versus the Broncos). 

A playoff place is in the New York Giants' sights as they prepare to take on the Indianapolis Colts. 

The Colts have won four straight games against the Giants, with the most recent win coming in Week 16 of 2018 with a 28-27 home victory.

There appears to be no stopping the San Francisco 49ers, who can win a ninth game in a row when they take on the Las Vegas Raiders. The 49ers are the only NFL team in the Super Bowl era to win eight straight games in a single season while holding their opponents to fewer than 80 rushing yards in each victory.

Tom Brady will take his time when considering retirement, after the Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback's very brief exit prior to the 2022 season.

The 45-year-old announced his retirement from the NFL in February before a dramatic U-turn just forty days later.

With just two games remaining of the regular season – though the Buccaneers lead the NFC South and can clinch the division title with victory against the Jacksonville Jaguars – retirement questions are once again orientating around the seven-time Super Bowl champion.

Set to become a free agent at the end of this season, Brady's future remains up in the air but he has learned not to rush into a decision after this year's experience.

"Well, I think next time I decide to retire, that's it for me. So, whenever that day comes, we'll figure it out," he told the Let's Go! Podcast.

"You know, I think what I really realised last year was you gotta be really sure to do that [announce retirement].

"And for me, you know, a lot of people have kind of gone through this situation. I'm going to take my time whenever that time does come."

Should he continue, Brady could decide to remain with the Buccaneers or may choose a new team for the twilight years of his career, with an array of teams having been touted as potential destinations.

Leonard Fournette revealed he has been playing through a Lisfranc injury as he sent a message – which he later deleted – to his critics.

Fournette is one of a number of players whose performances have been scrutinised in a season in which the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are a disappointing 7-8.

But that record crucially has the Bucs top of the NFC South after the running back led his team to a vital overtime win over the Arizona Cardinals on Christmas Day.

Fournette contributed 162 yards from scrimmage, leading Tampa Bay in both carries (20 for 72 yards) and receptions (nine for 90 yards).

And the 27-year-old revealed his commitment to the Bucs in a Twitter post on Monday, although he soon deleted the message.

"I hate when people be on here just talking, saying I'm out of shape etc," he wrote.

"Do y'all understand I'm playing with a Lisfranc in my foot every week? Can barely push off my foot but through the Grace of God I'm going to keep proving y'all wrong."

Fournette has the backing of quarterback Tom Brady, who said after the 19-16 win: "He ran really hard and was on a mission.

"He ran through arm tackles, ran hard, caught the ball well, pass protected well.

"This team has a lot of resiliency. We fight hard. 7-8 is not where we want to be, but got a chance at a championship game next week."

Tom Brady feels the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are "comfortable" in down-to-the-wire situations after orchestrating an overtime comeback win against the Arizona Cardinals.

The Bucs rallied from a 10-point deficit in the fourth quarter to win 19-16 and keep a one-game lead atop the NFC South.

Brady completed 26 of 42 passes in regular time, with one touchdown pass to Rachaad White with eight minutes remaining, before throwing six from six to complete all of his passes in overtime.

It helped set up Ryan Succop's game-winning 40-yard field goal on the back of a nine-play 66-yard drive, and Brady acknowledged he and his team-mates believe they can thrive in pressure scenarios.

"If we keep it close in the fourth quarter, we know we've got a shot,” he said. "I think we’re all comfortable in those situations."

Leonard Fournette – who had nine receptions for 90 yards – was quick to pay tribute to Brady afterwards, suggesting their comeback was simply a by-product of what the seven-time Super Bowl champion brings to the field.

"That's just who he is," Fournette said. "He's been doing it for years. We're just playing a part in his greatness.

"[We] give him what he wants. He wants certain routes run certain ways. We're just here to try and make his job easier."

The Bucs have endured a tough year, with a 7-8 losing record, but they remain in with a postseason shot as they sit at the summit of NFC South ahead of the Carolina Panthers and the New Orleans Saints.

Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers rallied from a 10-point fourth-quarter deficit to claim a 19-16 overtime win over the Arizona Cardinals at State Farm Stadium on Sunday.

Ryan Succop kicked a 40-yard field goal with 3:41 remaining in overtime as the Bucs scored the final 13 points to put themselves in a position to win the NFC South with a victory next week against the Carolina Panthers. Tampa Bay are now 7-8 ahead of the 6-9 Panthers in that division.

The Cardinals had led 16-6 with 10:47 remaining after running back James Conner ran into the endzone for a 22-yard touchdown.

But the Bucs responded when it mattered after an uninspired first half, with Leonard Fournette's 44-yard run leading to Brady finding Rachaad White to cut the margin to 16-13.

Tampa Bay won the ball back when Cardinals third-string QB Trace McSorley tried a quick pitch on a third-and-one to rookie Keaontay Ingram whose fumble fell kindly to Bucs defensive end William Gholston.

That allowed Succop to kick a 42-yard attempt to square the game up, eventually going to overtime with McSorley attempting a hail Mary pass as the clock expired.

In the first half, both sides had scored field goals in each quarter, while Cardinals defensive end J.J. Watt's three tackles were a feature. Brady threw a third-quarter interception for Marco Wilson, his second of the game.

Brady completed 32 of 48 passes for 281 yards with one TD and two interceptions, while Fournette had 72 rushing yards from 20 carries along with 90 yards on nine receptions.

McSorley threw 24 of 45 passes for 217 yards, including a 47-yard gain for Marquise Brown, setting up Matt Prater's third field goal to give them the lead for the first time in the third quarter.

Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers rallied from a 10-point fourth-quarter deficit to claim a 19-16 overtime win over the Arizona Cardinals at State Farm Stadium on Sunday.

Ryan Succop kicked a 40-yard field goal with 3:41 remaining in overtime as the Bucs scored the final 13 points to put themselves in a position to win the NFC South with a victory next week against the Carolina Panthers. Tampa Bay are now 7-8 ahead of the 6-9 Panthers in that division.

The Cardinals had led 16-6 with 10:47 remaining after running back James Conner ran into the endzone for a 22-yard touchdown.

But the Bucs responded when it mattered after an uninspired first half, with Leonard Fournette's 44-yard run leading to Brady finding Rachaad White to cut the margin to 16-13.

Tampa Bay won the ball back when Cardinals third-string QB Trace McSorley tried a quick pitch on a third-and-one to rookie Keaontay Ingram whose fumble fell kindly to Bucs defensive end William Gholston.

That allowed Succop to kick a 42-yard attempt to square the game up, eventually going to overtime with McSorley attempting a hail Mary pass as the clock expired.

In the first half, both sides had scored field goals in each quarter, while Cardinals defensive end J.J. Watt's three tackles were a feature. Brady threw a third-quarter interception for Marco Wilson, his second of the game.

Brady completed 32 of 48 passes for 281 yards with one TD and two interceptions, while Fournette had 72 rushing yards from 20 carries along with 90 yards on nine receptions.

McSorley threw 24 of 45 passes for 217 yards, including a 47-yard gain for Marquise Brown, setting up Matt Prater's third field goal to give them the lead for the first time in the third quarter.

Former NFL All-Pro wide receiver Antonio Brown will no longer face charges for domestic battery after Tampa prosecutors decided to drop the case.

The 34-year-old former Tampa Bay Buccaneers, New England Patriots, Oakland Raiders and Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver had been involved in an incident on November 29 involving a woman.

Brown had been accused of throwing a shoe at the woman and trying to evict her from the home by locking her out, leading to an arrest warrant being issued.

The prosecutors, however, have decided against pursuing the case after reviewing the charges contained in the affidavit and notice to appear, after new investigation from the woman who recanted her previous allegations.

Brown has not been on an NFL roster since being released by the Bucs in early January after he jogged off the field mid-game against the New York Jets. He removed his jersey and pads and left the field, jumping in the endzone and waving to fans before running down the tunnel and subsequently leaving the stadium in an Uber.

As in the NFL, not every team maintains an active interest in fantasy football at this stage in the year.

But for those who still have title hopes, there is no room for error.

Finding an edge can be tricky as franchises outside the playoff picture wind down for the year and the league's leading lights think about resting up for the postseason.

But Stats Perform has picked out four players and a defense that could make the difference in Week 16.

Quarterback: Brock Purdy, San Francisco 49ers vs. Washington Commanders

Nobody – at least nobody still in contention now – had any real interest in Purdy at the start of the year as he was the 49ers' third-choice QB, but that means he remains available in a number of leagues. It may well be time to fix that, with Purdy one of the outstanding performers across Weeks 14 and 15.

Josh Allen alone threw more touchdown passes (five to Purdy's four) without throwing an interception, while the rookie's 8.55 yards per pass attempt ranked third. Purdy was the sole QB in the NFL with a passer rating of at least 115.0 in two starts over this period. In fact, Aaron Rodgers is the only other player in league history to have had such a passer rating in his first two career starts.

Purdy is an obvious option for any fantasy player suffering QB woe, with the 49ers having clinched the NFC West but unlikely to slow too much as they hunt down the Minnesota Vikings and the second seed in the NFC.

Running Back: Zack Moss, Indianapolis Colts vs. Los Angeles Chargers

Gardner Minshew would be another popular pick at QB, with Jalen Hurts injured, but the Philadelphia Eagles still have not ruled out their MVP candidate. On the other hand, the Colts have shut down Jonathan Taylor for the year.

However, Indy would be wise to press on with the run game against the Chargers; only the Packers (42.9 per cent) have allowed opponents greater success on run plays this year than the Chargers (42.5 per cent).

That should mean plenty of touches again for Moss, who had 24 carries last week – as many as he had across the rest of the year combined.

Wide Receiver: Christian Watson, Green Bay Packers @ Miami Dolphins

The Packers' season never really got going, with Aaron Rodgers unable to make his receiving corps work without the departed Davante Adams.

But Watson, who had just 14 targets through nine weeks, has really come to the fore of late. Since Week 10, Watson has seven receiving TDs – leading the league ahead of Adams (five) – and has converted 17 of his 19 receptions into first downs.

Over the past two weeks, only two defenses have given up more receiving yards (671) and more receiving TDs (five) than Miami. They have also tied the Detroit Lions in allowing a league-worst 32 receiving first downs in this time.

Tight End: Evan Engram, Jacksonville Jaguars @ New York Jets

Engram has been a steady performer in his first year with the Jaguars, but there is reason to believe he may be able to move to another level now as Trevor Lawrence ignites this Jacksonville offense.

Over the past two weeks, the Jags rank second in net passing yards (679) and lead the way for TD passes (seven) and points (76).

Engram caught two of those TDs and has led the team in targets (25), catches (19) and receiving yards (224) over this period. He and those who can call on him for fantasy purposes are among the chief beneficiaries of Lawrence's late surge.

Defense/Special Teams: Tampa Bay Buccaneers @ Arizona Cardinals

Opposition teams have been successful on only 36.5 per cent of plays against the Buccaneers this year, making this the league's sixth-best defense.

And now they will be faced with a Cardinals offense manned by third-string QB Trace McSorley, who is in line for his first career start despite struggling badly from his limited snaps so far this year.

McSorley has not thrown a single TD pass in 2022 but has tossed three picks, completing only 15 of his 29 pass attempts for an atrocious passer rating of 29.5.

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