Kenny Golladay/T.J. Jones, WRs, Lions: I mentioned Detroit last week when the team had its bye. Golden Tate was forced out in Week 6 with a shoulder injury and after initially expected to be sidelined several weeks, Tate looks like he’s a-go (see above). Still, let’s size up the Lions’ receiving corps. Marvin Jones will occupy his usual No. 2 spot on the depth chart with Tate playing. It’s also not a great matchup as Pittsburgh is solid defensively, but given the Lions play better at home and struggle to run the ball consistently, Matthew Stafford is likely to shoulder the burden in moving the offense up and down the field.
As for Golladay, he suffered a setback Friday and looks like he won’t play Sunday. So who becomes the No. 3 option in Detroit?. Jones saw nine targets after Tate’s departure two weeks ago; he’s likely to see some opportunities Sunday.
Owners have expressed to players that they would like for the players to stand for the anthem, according to Mara. But the league’s support of players’ social programs should not be interpreted as a trade-off to get players to stand for the anthem, he said.
There’s no quid pro quo going on, Mara said. There’s no specific expectation. We want the players to stand. We want everybody to stand. But we’re not going to require them to do that.
Julius Thomas, Miami Dolphins: For the season, Thomas is the No. 19 tight end. But over the past five weeks, he’s tied for sixth, and only Jimmy Graham has more than Thomas’ three scores. But before buying all the way in on the Thomas rejuvenation, look at what his Week 14 opponent, New England, has done against the position of late. Since Week 6, the Patriots have played six games, and have allowed 170 yards total to tight ends, with no scores.
The NFL’s game operations manual notes that the national anthem must be played prior to every NFL game and that all players must be on the sideline for it. The section also states that failure to do so may result in discipline. This season, the league has declined to punish players who chose to remain in the locker room or tunnel during the anthem, and three entire teams, the Steelers, Seahawks and Titans, did so in Week 3.