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)
TEAMS OUTSIDE THE PLAYOFFS
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.
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.
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.
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.
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)
LONG SHOTS: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
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.
New York Giants (away), Tampa Bay (home), Dallas (away), Carolina (home)
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