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December 2, 2010 @ 9:24 am
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DLT's Bucs NFC Playoff Scenario Madness - Week 13

Written by Jason
Jason DeLaTorre


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NFL.com Blogger and long time Pewter Report subcriber Jason De La Torre contributes his unique look at the Bucs playoff chances this week.

It's our second installment of DLT's NFC Playoff Scenario madness and it was one rough week for the Bucs playoff hopes.

We were hoping that the Cowboys could pull the upset of the Saints and they came within a whisker of doing so before letting the Saints off the hook. The Falcons found another way to squeak out a winner. The Jags built a big lead on the G-men but blew it. Then Philadelphia took the gas pipe against Chicago.

Funny enough, had the Giants lost to Jacksonville, your Tampa Bay Buccaneers would have moved into that sixth and final playoff spot.

So, let's get started,  first - let's provide you the all important link to the NFL Playoff Tie-breakers.

Current NFC Standings
Seed    Team      W-L     Div Rec     Con Rec    Next Three Opponents
1)   Atlanta          9-2         2-0            6-1           @TB, @Car, @Sea   
2)   Chicago         8-3        3-0            6-3           @Det, NE, @MIN
3)   Philadelphia   7-4         2-1           5-3            Hou, @DAL, @NYG
4)   St. Louis        5-6        1-2            3-5           @ARI, @NO, KC
5)   New Orleans  8-3         3-1           6-2            @CIN, ST.L, @BAL
6)   NY Giants     7-4         1-2            5-2           WAS, @MIN, PHIL
Tampa Bay         7-4          2-2            5-2         ATL, @WAS, DET
Green Bay          7-4          3-1            5-3          SF, @DET, NE
Seattle               5-6          3-1            4-3          CAR, @SF, ATL
Washington        5-6          2-1            4-4          @NYG, TB, @DAL

This Week's NFC Clinching Scenarios
No team in the NFC can clinch a playoff spot this week.

Bucs' Playoff Clinching Scenarios
Tampa Bay cannot clinch a playoff spot this week.

If the playoffs started today...
Atlanta and Chicago would have byes.
New Orleans would head to St. Louis and the NY Giants would be at Philadelphia in the WildCard round.

What Happened Last Week
New Orleans pulled out a last second win over the Dallas Cowboys.
Atlanta won a nailbiter against Green Bay
Chicago stunned Philadelphia
The Giants survived a scare from Jacksonville
The Bucs were beaten in Baltimore

Why are the Bucs not among the playoff six?

Philadelphia (7-4) is the 3rd seed as the leader of the NFC East based on head-to-head with the NY Giants.

St. Louis (5-6) is the 4th seed as the leader of the NFC West based on head-to-head with the Seattle Seahawks.

NY Giants (7-4) are tied with the Bucs in overall and conference record, they did not play head-to-head, the teams have not played enough common opponents to qualify for the third tie-breaker (best record among common opponents) and they are not in the same division, so division record does not apply.

Like the Packers last week, the Giants take the sixth seed with the 4th tiebreaker - strength of victory - which is the best combined winning percentage among opponents a team has beaten. The Giants' strength of victory is .386. The Bucs strength of victory is an embarrassing .287. Needless to say, the Bucs desperately need a signature win.  

The Packers fall behind the Bucs in the standings because they took a conference loss and now have a worse conference record (5-3 vs 5-2).

Future Cast
If the Bucs Win Out (5-0)
Despite the loss to the Ravens, the Bucs still are in very much in control of their own destiny. It's really a three team race for that last wildcard spot with the Bucs competing against the loser of the NFC North and East division battles.

The Giants and Packers are currently the Bucs competition...the good news is they play each other down the line. One of them will get their fifth loss. The Giants also play Philly - one of them will get a fifth loss. The winner will take the division and not be a factor.

So win out and most likely your in, Tampa Bay.

As for the division, things look pretty bleak right now. Even with a win over Atlanta - the Bucs would need the Falcons to lose to the Saints to even up the division record and conference record and hope the teams they already conquered can gets some victories down the stretch to improve their strength of victory.

If the Bucs go 4-1
If the Bucs lose Sunday against Atlanta, it will take a miracle to win the division. A loss to Atlanta would drop the Bucs to 5-3 in conference as well. With the Giants and Green Bay both getting conference creampuffs this week, the Bucs could find themselves having to try and jump two teams with four weeks left.

No matter who the Bucs lose to in this scenario, it will be a conference loss. The best the Bucs can hope for is a 9-3 finish in conference.

The Bucs would need Green Bay to lose one more conference game (the best they could finish is 8-4) and the Giants to win the NFC East by beating Philadelphia...the best the Eagles could finish with is an 8-4 conference record. If the Eagles won that game and/or the NFC East - the Bucs would need the Giants to lose at least one more conference game or to Washington (which would give the Bucs the edge on common opponents assuming the one loss isn't to Washington) to avoid the dreaded 4th tie-breaker.  

If the Bucs go 3-2
The Bucs would be 10-6 and 8-4 in conference play. Their losses would need to come to New Orleans and Atlanta. Losses to Detroit, Washington, or Seattle would hurt the Bucs common opponents tie-breaker with the Giants. The Giants already have wins over Detroit, Carolina, and Seattle with two games against Washington still remaining.

The Bucs would be hard pressed to rally their strength of victory to beat out the Packers, especially with losses to New Orleans and Atlanta, the only two teams with winning records remaining on Tampa Bay's schedule. So they would need at least two conference losses from Green Bay to put them at 7-5. A loss to New England by the Packers helps only in the overall record - but if the Pack finish 10-6, it does nothing to help the Bucs with tie-breakers. The Bucs and Packers will not have enough common opponents for that tie-breaker to be applied.

It's even tougher with the Giants. The Bucs would need New York to either lose twice (with one of those losses coming to the Redskins), that would give the Bucs a common opponents tiebreaker win (assuming wins over Detroit, Washington, and Seattle) or three times - putting them at 9-7 and out of contention.

If the Giants win the division, the Bucs would need the Eagles lose two conference games and finish no better than 7-5 in conference. The Bucs and Eagles will not have enough common opponents for that tie breaker to be applied.

If the Bucs go 2-3 or worse...
It's difficult to see scenarios at this point that would allow the Bucs to make the playoffs at 9-7.

Earliest the Bucs can clinch the division title
Week 17 - The Bucs division title hopes ride on Sunday's game against the Falcons.

Earliest the Bucs can clinch a playoff berth
Week 17 - It's just too close to call right now..

Who to root for in Week 13

Houston@Philadelphia A loss by the Eagles would put them at five losses. That's a good thing, even if it's not a conference loss. Root for the Texans.

Atlanta@Tampa Bay The Bucs really need a signature win to help out their strength of victory percentage. This would be a BIG ONE. Of course, root for the Bucs.

Chicago@Detroit The Bears won one they weren't supposed to. We need them to lose one we didn't expect. It would also put the Bears at four conference losses. Root for the boy named Suh and the Lions.

Washington@NYGiants This is a big one for the Bucs, as we've described above. We really need the G-men to lose one of these games to Washington. It would be a fifth overall loss and third conference loss, too. Plus it helps the Bucs in the common opponents tie-breaker. Hail to the Redskins this week.

San Francisco@Green Bay It may be too much to hope for the Niners to head to Lambeau Field and beat the Green Bay Packers. But hey, stranger things have happened. A loss by the Packers would put them at five losses overall and four conference losses. Hope for the Niners to strike gold.

New Orleans@Cincinnati As unlikely as it is that the Bungles break their long losing streak against New Orleans, a loss by the Saints would put them at 4 losses and within striking distance of the Buccaneers...especially win one game left between the teams.

And that ends this week's playoff madness. We'll be back next week with updated scenarios and more craziness.

Stay thirsty for Bucs football, my friends.
Last modified on Thursday, 02 December 2010 09:57

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  • avatar

    Great article Jason, thanks for laying it out.
  • avatar

    Control what you can control - beat Atlanta!
  • avatar

    This weekend's game against the Falcons is the biggest game of the season so far. Let's hope the throw-backs work their magic like last year!
  • avatar

    This team needs to assume the playoffs are now and win out as unlikely as it may sound, its def. possible. everything that could have gone wrong last week did. im the ultimate optomist when i say everything will go right this week. atlanta loses, new orleans loses, giants lose, pack loses, and chicago loses.
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