It was ugly, but the Bucs 28-24 victory over the Jets was an important one. The win, coupled with a Cowboys loss to the Cardinals, improved the Bucs seeding. Tampa Bay now holds the No. 3 seed, while the Cowboys fall to No. 4. The Rams, winners of five straight, hold the No. 2 seed.
If the playoffs started today, the Bucs would host the San Francisco 49ers in the Wild Card round. Philadelphia would travel to Los Angeles to play the Rams, while the Cowboys hosted a rematch with the Cardinals. The Saints also remain in the hunt for the final playoff spot, but will need help to get in at 8-8. New Orleans plays in Atlanta next week.
By far, the Bucs most likely Wild Card opponent is the Eagles, as the No. 2 or No. 3 seed. Tampa played in Philadelphia back in Week 6, winning 28-22. Tampa Bay led 28-7 late in the third quarter, but allowed the Eagles to rally late. Philadelphia has won four straight games heading into a matchup with the Cowboys next week.
The Bucs return to action against the Panthers at Raymond James Stadium in Week 18. If Tampa Bay wins and the Rams lose to the 49ers, the Bucs will be the No. 2 seed.