The Bucs beat the Panthers, 41-17, to set a franchise record with 13 wins on the season. That win, coupled with a 27-24 overtime win by the 49ers over the 12-5 Rams at Los Angeles, moved Tampa Bay up from the No. 3 seed to the No. 2 seed.
The 13-4 Bucs will host the 9-8 Eagles in the first round of the NFC. Tampa Bay won at Philadelphia earlier this year on Thursday Night Football, 28-22.The Bucs had a 28-7 lead before two late touchdowns by the Eagles in the fourth quarter tightened the score.
The Rams were in the No. 2 seed prior to Sunday’s loss due to a head-to-head tiebreaker against the Bucs. Now Los Angeles slips to the No. 4 seed and 12-5 Dallas moves into the No. 3 seed. The Cowboys will play the 49ers, while the Rams will host the 11-6 Cardinals.
San Francisco, which improved to 10-7, clinched a playoff spot with its win, and eliminated 9-8 New Orleans in the process.
Green Bay lost on Sunday to Detroit, but pulled Aaron Rodgers in the first half. The Packers are 13-4 but had the tiebreaker advantage over the Bucs to remain in the top seed. Green Bay will have a bye in the first round.
Exact dates and times of the playoff games will be determined Sunday night by the NFL. This year’s first round playoff games will be played on Saturday, Sunday and Monday.
Scott Reynolds is in his 25th year of covering the Tampa Bay Buccaneers as the vice president, publisher and senior Bucs beat writer for PewterReport.com. Author of the popular SR's Fab 5 column on Fridays, Reynolds oversees web development and forges marketing partnerships for PewterReport.com in addition to his editorial duties. A graduate of Kansas State University in 1995, Reynolds spent six years giving back to the community as the defensive line coach for his sons' Pop Warner team, the South Pasco Predators. Reynolds can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org
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