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December 21, 2010 @ 9:42 am
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DLT's NFC Playoff Scenario Madness - Week 16

Written by Jason
Jason DeLaTorre


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

Needless to say, losing at home to a team that had lost 26 consecutive road games is unbearable. It appears the mounting injuries are finally catching up to the young Tampa Bay Buccaneers, especially on defense.

It goes without saying the loss to the Detroit Lions did some serious damage to the Bucs playoff hopes. To use a boxing analogy, Tampa Bay wasn't knocked out on Sunday, but they got a standing eight count.

The Bucs no longer have control of their own destiny and they're going to need some help if they have any hope of playing past January 2nd.

Current NFC Standings
Seed    Team      W-L     Div Rec     Con Rec        Final Opponents
1) x-Atlanta         12-2        4-0             9-1              NO, CAR
2) y-Chicago        10-4       5-0             8-3              NYJ, @GB
3)   Philadelphia   10-4       4-1             7-3              MIN, DAL
4)   St. Louis        6-8        2-2              4-6              SF, @SEA
5)   New Orleans  10-4       3-1              8-2             @ATL, TB
6)   NY Giants      9-5        2-3              7-3             @GB, WAS
Green Bay           8-6          3-2             6-4             NYG, CHI
Tampa Bay          8-6          2-3             6-4             SEA, @NO
Seattle                6-8         3-2              5-5             @TB, STL
San Francisco     5-9         3-1              3-7             @STL, ARI
x-clinched playoff berth y-clinched division title

Clinched Playoff Spots
Chicago has clinched the NFC North Division
Atlanta has clinched a playoff spot

This Week's NFC Clinching Scenarios
Atlanta -
- Can Clinch NFC South, a first round bye, and home field advantage throughout the playoffs with WIN over New Orleans

Chicago -
- Can clinch a first round bye WITH a WIN over the NY Jets AND losses by Philadelphia AND NY Giants

Philadelphia -
- Can clinch a playoff spot with loss by Tampa Bay
- Can clinch NFC East with a WIN over Minnesota OR a loss by NY Giants

New Orleans -
- Can clinch a playoff berth with WIN over Atlanta OR a loss by Tampa Bay

NY Giants -
- Can clinch a playoff spot with WIN over Green Bay

Bucs Clinching Scenarios
The Bucs cannot clinch a playoff berth this week.

Bucs Elimination scenarios
Tampa Bay loses to Seattle OR NY Giants AND New Orleans wins

If the playoffs started today...
Atlanta and Chicago would have first round byes
NY Giants would head to Philadelphia, New Orleans would go to St. Louis

What Happened Last Week
The Bucs suffered a devastating loss in overtime to the Detroit Lions.

The Giants blew a 21 point lead with only 7 minutes left to the Philadelphia Eagles.

Baltimore beat New Orleans...keeping alive at least three playoff scenarios for Tampa Bay

New England survived against a game Green Bay Packers squad that nearly pulled off a major upset.

Chicago demolished Minnesota in the snow.

Future Cast
There's no margin for error for the Buccaneers. A loss to Seattle or New Orleans eliminates the Buccaneers. The worst the NY Giants can finish is 9-7 and they hold the strength of victory tie-breaker over Tampa Bay. If there is a three way tie between Tampa Bay, Green Bay and NY Giants, Green Bay takes the playoff spot thanks to a superior strength of victory over Tampa Bay and New York.

Even if the Bucs win out, they'll need help.

There are five scenarios that get the Bucs in at 10-6.

Scenario 1 -
NY Giants lose to Green Bay AND Washington and finish 9-7
Green Bay loses to Chicago to finish 9-7
Tampa Bay takes the 6th seed at 10-6

Scenario 2-
NY Giants defeat Green Bay, the best the Packers could finish is 9-7
Atlanta defeats New Orleans, keeping them from reaching 11 wins.

It would set up a defacto playoff game on January 2nd between Tampa Bay and New Orleans.
If the Bucs win, Tampa Bay would win the sixth seed based on the Best Winning Percentage Among Common Opponents tie-breaker.

Scenario 3 -
NY Giants lose to Green Bay AND Washington to finish 9-7
Atlanta defeats New Orleans, keeping them from reaching 11 wins.
Again, it would setup a defacto playoff game between Tampa Bay and New Orleans, winner gets in.

Scenario 4 -
NY Giants lose to Green Bay but beat Washington to finish 10-6.
Green Bay loses to Chicago in Week 17 to finish 9-7
Atlanta defeats New Orleans, keeping them from reaching 11 wins
Again, it would setup a defacto playoff game between Tampa Bay and New Orleans, winner gets in.

If the Giants and Saints win this week, they both clinch the final two playoff spots and the Buccaneers will have no chance going into week 17.

Scenario 5
Unless you want to rely on Rex Grossman and the dysfunctional Washington Redskins to pull off a Week 17 upset or for the Bears playing their starters against Green Bay, the most probable scenario would be scenario 2.

NY Giants lose to Green Bay and Washington - finishes 9-7
Green Bay loses to Chicago in Week 17 - finishes 9-7
Atlanta defeats New Orleans, keeping them from 11 wins.
New Orleans would clinch a playoff berth.

If Tampa Bay wins, the Bucs are the 5th seed, Saints are the 6th (common opponents tie-breaker). If Tampa Bay loses, the Packers are in the playoffs (strength of victory tie-breaker) and the Bucs are out.

Who to Root For in Week 16 -

Seattle @ Tampa Bay - The Bucs (obviously) to keep their hopes alive with a win over Seattle.

NY Giants @ Green Bay - If you are a believer in Rex Grossman or that the Bears will play their starters in Week 17 and beat Green Bay, root for the Packers. Otherwise, root for the Giants.

New Orleans @ Atlanta (Monday Night) - If the Giants do win, there will be a lot of nervous hand wringing on Monday Night as the Saints battle the Falcons. It may feel disgusting, but root with everything you got for the Dirty Birds. A victory by Atlanta keeps alive three of the four scenarios that can get Tampa Bay into the playoffs.

So that's it for Week 16. Depending on what happens, this is likely the final installment of the NFC Playoff Scenario Madness this season. I'd like to thank Charlie and Scott for allowing me to post this info on the true source for information on the Buccaneers - Pewter Report. I sincerely hope you've found this useful and hopefully we'll get an opportunity to do this again next season.

Stay thirsty for Bucs football, my friends!
Last modified on Tuesday, 21 December 2010 14:10

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  • avatar

    Who would have thought, back in August, we'd be talking about playoff scenerios for our Buccaneers? I just think its great we are, and considering all the injuries, we as Bucs fans have a hell of alot to look forward to in the coming years. Remember, Peter King, and some other "experts" were figuring us to win 2 or 3 at best. With some more quality draft picks like we have had the last couple years, and the other good additions, I look for some good things pretty soon! GO BUCS!!
  • avatar

    I'm putting my money on Scenario 5! We might even win a playoff game! What a hoot! (Spoken by the optimist in me with no regard to likelihood or reason) Interesting: all but Scenario 1 have to have Atlanta beat New Orleans, which is played on Monday night. If NYG beats Green Bay Sunday, the only way forward is ATL over NO, else we're eliminated (Scenario 2). If NYG loses Sunday and NO wins at ATL Monday (and we win), we have to wait until next week to see if Chicago beats Green Bay. If NYG loses Sunday and ATL wins Monday, we have to deal 4 of the 5 scenarios and my head will bust!
  • avatar

    Lifelong...we added scenario five to the article! Excellent catch!
  • avatar

    Is Scenario 1 correct? It doesn't matter if New Orleans wins or loses at Atlanta?
  • avatar

    Lifelong, I was more focused on how the Bucs get in to the playoffs period but indeed - you are correct. If Giants lose to Green Bay and Washington, Green Bay loses to Chicago, New Orleans loses to Atlanta, and Tampa Bay wins both their games - the Bucs would indeed slide into the 5th seed, New Orleans would be the six and both Green Bay and Giants will be out.
  • avatar

    Love the article Jason, well done each week. Part of me agrees with PTRock, but the fan in me can't help but root for a "slide in" to provide even more momentum for our young and promising team next year. Is there a 5th scenario where we go to play the NFC West in round 1? Scenario 5? - NY Giants lose to Green Bay AND Washington and finish 9-7 Green Bay loses to Chicago to finish 9-7 New Orleans loses to Atlanta (and Tampa Bay) to finish 10-6 Tampa Bay takes the 5th seed at 10-6 (common opponent tiebreaker)
  • avatar

    We don't deserve to be in the playoffs. Can't even beat the Lions at home.
  • avatar

    I would be so happy if the week 17 game was a play-in game. The game would almost certainly be flexed to the 8pm slot. Win or lose, having a prime-time week 17 play-in game would be a wonderful way to celebrate New Years.
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