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December 2, 2012 @ 9:32 pm
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NFC Playoff Picture Beginning To Clear

Written by Mark
Mark Cook


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The Buccaneers have now dropped two games in a row and are seeing their NFC wild card playoff chances slipping away. Tampa Bay may need to win its remaining four contests to qualify for the postseason. PewterReport.com takes a look at the Buccaneers' chances, and also the rest of the NFC.
The Buccaneers' 31-23 loss to the Denver Broncos on Sunday dealt their playoff hopes a serious blow. Combined with an impressive win by the Seattle Seahawks on the road over the Chicago Bears, Tampa Bay's loss means the road to the postseason just got considerably tougher. However, as long as Greg Schiano is the head coach of the team, the Buccaneers will be in every game, and there is still a possibility the Buccaneers can manage 10 wins, which most likely is the number to get in the playoffs.

The Buccaneers (6-6) return home next Sunday to face the Philadelphia Eagles, as the franchise will commemorate the 10th anniversary of their Super Bowl XXVII victory over the Oakland Raiders. The Eagles are a football team in complete disarray and remind some of the 2011 Buccaneers team that reeled off 10 straight losses to close out the season.

After that for Tampa Bay will be a road trip to take on the New Orleans Saints, a team who defeated the Buccaneers earlier this season, 35-28. The good news is the Saints have six losses and may not have much to play for in that game. However, Drew Brees may be one of the most competitive players in the NFL and won’t go down without a fight.

Tampa Bay returns home on December 23 to take on the St. Louis Rams, who under Jeff Fisher, are playing their best football as of late. In fact the Rams have crept back into the playoff chase with a win on Sunday over the San Francisco 49ers.

Tampa Bay goes back on the road to close out the regular season to face the Atlanta Falcons. The Falcons clinched the NFL South today by virtue of Tampa Bay’s loss to Denver and are very close to wrapping up home field advantage throughout the playoffs. This bodes well for the Buccaneers, as many expect the Falcons to rest their starters in the final game, which will be meaningless to Atlanta.

Below is a breakdown of the rest of the NFC teams who are leading their division or fighting for the playoffs.

Division Leaders
NFC South: Atlanta Falcons (11-1)
NFC North: Green Bay Packers (8-4)
NFC West: San Francisco 49ers (8-3-1)

NFC East: New York Giants (7-5)

CURRENT FIFTH SEED: Chicago Bears (8-4)

The Bears lost to the Seahawks on Sunday and with the loss are currently behind the Packers in the NFC North race, despite having identical records. Chicago and Green Bay will still meet in Week 16 in what could be a winner-take-all game.
Remaining Schedule: Minnesota (away), Green Bay (home), Arizona (away), Detroit (away)

CURRENT SIXTH SEED: Seattle Seahawks (7-5)
Not many people gave the Seahawks much of a shot to travel to Solider Field and come home with a victory, but behind the arm of rookie QB Russell Wilson they did just that, and created a little breathing room between themselves and the rest of the NFC playoff contenders.
Remaining Schedule: Arizona (home), Buffalo (away), San Francisco (home), St. Louis (home)

Washington Redskins (6-6)

By beating the Cowboys on Thanksgiving Day, and the Giants on Monday night, the Redskins are squarely back in the playoff race.The Redskins also hold a tie-breaker over the Bucs with their head-to-head, 24-22 win back in September.

Remaining Schedule:
Baltimore (home), Cleveland (away), Philadelphia (away), Dallas (home)

Dallas Cowboys (6-6)

The Cowboys' playoff chances took a big hit after losing to the Washington Redskins on Thanksgiving, 38-31, but with their win on Sunday night over the Eagles, Dallas is bck in the hunt. Can they stay there? With the erratic play of quarterback Tony Romo, and head coach Jason Garrett on the hot seat – with owner Jerry Jones breathing down his neck – things don’t look too promising in Big D.

 The Cowboys may be one of the most talented teams in the NFC but have a recent history of underachieving, and there is nothing to indicate the trend doesn’t continue in 2012.

Remaining Schedule:  Cincinnati (away), Pittsburgh (home), New Orleans (home), Washington (away)

Tampa Bay Buccaneers (6-6)

The Buccaneers started the season 1-3 heading into their bye week, won five out of their last seven contests, but have since lost two in a row. Tampa Bay is officially out of the NFC South race and slipped even farther behind the Seahawks (and now Washington and Dallas) on Sunday, losing to Denver, 31-23.

 The path to the postseason is now more difficult but not entirely out of the question.

Remaining Schedule: Philadelphia (home), New Orleans (away), St. Louis (home), Atlanta (away)

Minnesota Vikings (6-6)

After a fast start the Vikings have cooled down and are struggling to regain any confidence at all. Minnesota QB Christian Ponder has struggled through the middle of the schedule, but a team with Adrian Peterson can’t be counted out.

 The schedule down the stretch for the Vikings may be the toughest of any of the wild card contenders.
Remaining Schedule: Chicago (home), St. Louis (away), Houston (away), Green Bay (home)

St. Louis Rams (5-6-1)
New head coach Jeff Fisher has the city of St. Louis – and his football team – excited. With their overtime win last Sunday over San Francisco, the Rams kept their slim playoff chances alive.
Remaining Schedule: Buffalo (away), Minnesota (home), Tampa Bay (away), Seattle (away)

New Orleans Saints (5-7)

After a 0-4 start, New Orleans had won five of their last six before dropping a 23-12 contest to the Falcons. 

The Saints, like the Buccaneers, tend to give up a ton of points, but still have an offense that can score from anywhere on the field. The Saints have already beaten the Bucs once earlier this season and the Week 15 matchup in the Superdome against Tampa Bay could have playoff implications if the Saints beat the Giants next week.

Remaining Schedule: New York Giants (away), Tampa Bay (home), Dallas (away), Carolina (home)

Last modified on Tuesday, 04 December 2012 11:20

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  • avatar

    I agree with EastEndBoy. We could have a great off-season next year but so could everyone else in our division. The Saints are getting a coach who has won a Super Bowl back, Newton will be out of his sophomore slump and the Falcons are already great. My point is that the playoffs are not icing to me this year, they are the only objective. Even if we are a better team than 2010 that doesn't guarantee us a playoff win next year, not with our recent history of racking up injuries. Let's win now and see what happens in the playoffs!
  • avatar

    Here is George AHIcks former of My Home in Tampa, Fla and a graduate of HB Plant High school in 1964, and now in 2012 lives in East Tx in a small town of ALBA,Tx teaching young boys and girls the game of basketball with a national organization Called"LITTLE DRIBBLERS". There is no paqyment just a reward in teaching kids how to play basketball- I've been doing this for over 40 plus years after I made the HB Plant High School my senior year in 1963. Coach Fred Lapper my coach gave myself a chance and I've been doing it ever since. I just enjoy sports as a hobby-GO BUCS-GO PLANT HIGH SCHOOL-Iam glad they won several STATE TITLES since I've Graduate. GO TEAM
  • avatar

    I did not expect the Bucs to beat Peyton Manning in 5,000 feet elevation, and I was just very pleased that they were winning at half time. This is an exciting, never say die, very together team, that Schiano has given us, and after the downer we had to watch last year, this year's Bucs are a great Christmas Present, and to have the Eagles coming to our stadium and all our heroes from our Super Bowl Team coming to be honored, there is a great deal to be happy for. These Bucs are going to play hard all the way to the last play of the season, and with our wounded coming back whole next year and a few more great free agents and a draft as good as we had this year (hey we had two fourth round draft picks for DOM to play with last year and just look at what he produced!!!) I predict they will win at least two of the remaining four games and I will be ecstatic if they win more than that, whether or not they make the playoffs this year. They will definitely get there next year!
  • avatar

    Playoffs would just be icing. I am pleased with the team's competitiveness in 2012. That was my main complaint in 2011 (and the lack of a leader emerging). Getting back one All Pro guard and one ProBowl guard will help tremendously. Also, I think Josh Freeman made positive steps in 2012 with his offseason maturity and what dedication it takes to play QB at an elite level. Getting rid of troubled children and creating a competitive culture was imperative for 2012, I do still think I would like to see more leaders stepping up. Vincent Jackson was a great pickup. Not crazy about WRs being the leaders, but maybe in this case...
  • avatar

    The Saints have 7 losses, let me be clear i care very much about the direction the team is heading in. It will not take a playoff season this year to satisfy me, the playoffs would just be a extra treat. Coming from 1 and 3 and 2 and 4 earlier in the season , not to mention the 0 and 10 finish of last season, 8 and 8 and 9 and 7 especially would be very satisfying to me .
  • avatar

    While I would not call this season a disappointment if we didn't make the playoffs...no team should take such an opportunity for granted...who knows what problems could face us next year....who knows how many free agents the Saints will sign or how few injuries yet again the Falcons will have....yes we're young, yes I didn't expect to us make the playoffs, yes it would not be anything short of fantastic to have a winning record this year (or even 8-8), but when we are so close to the playoffs and have such a legitimate shot to make it, and where anything can truly happen in the playoffs (just ask the 9-7 Giants of 2011)...we gotta make the full out run...and we should all totally care!
  • avatar

  • avatar

    "After that for Tampa Bay will be a road trip to take on the New Orleans Saints, a team who defeated the Buccaneers earlier this season, 35-28. The good news is the Saints have six losses and may not have much to play for in that game." What are you talking abiout? The Bucs have six losses too. Does that mean they don't have anything to play for either?
  • avatar

    I could 'nt care less about the playoffs this year. As long as we finish at least 8 and 8 or 9 and 7 , i'll be thrilled. Next year be Division champs.
  • avatar

    If this team reaches the playoffs after all of the injuries, trades and suspensions it will far exceed my expectations. This is a much better team than the 2010 one. The first order of business for the new coaching staff was to change the mentality. Mission accomplished. The second was to rid itself of the questionable characters. Mission accomplished. Now it's up to Dominik and staff to fill in the roster.
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