WR Mike Evans – Photo by: Getty Images
Not long after the dust – or ground rubber particles on the Mercedes-Benz Dome turf – settled on Saturday evening following Tampa Bay’s 31-24 loss to New Orleans, the biggest question was, can the Bucs still make the playoffs?
Amateur Twitter accounts, national websites and all the local media outlets tried to determine what it would take for the Buccaneers to make the NFL’s annual postseason tournament.
Due to the fact some games were yet to be played, and the fact you almost need to be a NASA rocket scientist to figure out the formulas this late in the season, there was never a definitive answer, or at least one that was 100 percent accurate.
Two days later there is still some uncertainty, but according to Greg Auman of the Tampa Bay Times, who some feel may actually be a rocket scientist as a hobby, the Bucs do in fact have a chance. It starts with a Tampa Bay win against Carolina on Sunday, January 1.
Of course Kate Upton could also see my Twitter profile picture, leave Justin Verlander, and move to Florida and serve me mojitos in a bikini for the rest of my life also.
Okay, the Bucs do have slightly better odds than that.
But not by much.
According to Auman, one of the things that could push the Bucs into the playoffs would be another tie by the Washington Redskins.
“One of the four things the Bucs needed to set up a 9-7 tiebreaker with the Packers was the Redskins losing to the Giants, but as it turns out, a Redskins tie with the Giants next week also gets the Bucs in. There’s a scenario where the Bucs and Packers are 9-7 and the Redskins finish 8-6-2 (yes, two ties in one season). The league treats a tie as a half-win, so 8-6-2 is the same as 9-7. So it goes to conference record as a tiebreaker, and the Bucs and Packers would be 7-5, but the Redskins would be 6-5-1, which leaves the Bucs and Packers back in that same tiebreaker we thought the Bucs had lost.”
Dallas has to beat Detroit on Monday Night Football or the rest of scenarios don’t matter, including the Bucs beating the Panthers on Sunday. Dallas also has to win next week against Philadelphia, Detroit then has to beat Green Bay, Tennessee has to beat Houston, San Francisco has to beat Seattle, Indianapolis has to be Jacksonville … and the Redskins have to tie the Giants.
The Redskins already have one tie this season, so the odds of another happening, well … let’s just say the Buccaneers made improvements this season and have a whole offseason upcoming to fill some holes and compete again next year.
All of a sudden, flashbacks to Jameis Winston’s overthrow to Vincent Jackson late in the fourth quarter against the Rams make Bucs fans break out in a cold sweat and itchy hives. Or the team’s inability to capitalize on the Raiders’ 132 penalties back in an overtime loss in October. Or a handful of other plays throughout the season that could have been the difference in a win instead of a Buccaneer loss.
A bounce here. A favorable spot or call there.
Enough to make Bucs fans, players and every member of the Tampa Bay organization ask the “what if?” question until training camp starts up again in July of 2017.
And if someone sees Kate, let her know I’ll take a classic mimosa to start with, then bring me a champagne grapefruit mojito for lunch.
Mark Cook currently is the director of editorial content and Bucs beat writer and has written for PewterReport.com since 2011. Cook has followed the Buccaneers since 1977 when he first began watching football with his Dad and is fond of the 1979 Bucs team that came within 10 points of going to a Super Bowl. His favorite Bucs game is still the 1979 divisional playoff win 24-17 over the Eagles. In his spare time Cook enjoys playing guitar, fishing, surfing and family time at the beach. In addition, Cook can be found in front of a television or in Doak Campbell any time the FSU Seminoles are playing. Cook is a native of Pinecrest in Eastern Hillsborough County and has written for numerous publications including the Tampa Tribune, In the Field and Ya'll Magazine. Cook can be reached at [email protected]
I hope Bucs beat Panthers! It can make for a nice 2016 season to build on going in to next Season! GO BUCS
Me too! But they won’t. You get what you deserve in life and the NFL.
Not going to lose any sleep on any of the not-very-likely playoff scenarios for the Bucs. At this point, we’re the most beat up team in the NFL (as measured by number of players on the NFL) and not exactly well situated to do a lot of damage in the playoffs even if we manage to sneak in. Losting Gholston was the last straw for the defense, and he seems unlikely to play again. Not sure what the status is on Brate, but without him and considering the other losses we’ve had at wide receiver this year, that’s just too many holes in the offense.
Finishing with a win at home over the Panthers, however, is a highly realistic outcome and would net us a winning season for the first time since 2010. It gives us something to build on next season.
correction – “as measured by number of players on IR”
Agreed 100%. I can definitely sleep well at night knowing how far we’ve come after suffering so many setbacks on the injury front. Regardless of if we make the playoffs or not, I’m already looking forward to the offseason. I hope to see the addition of a few more targets for Jameis and a bolstered line on both sides of the ball. Our safety needs seem to have faded to the background as of late, but an addition there wouldn’t hurt us either.
Next year we will be serious contenders to dethrone the Falcons. Here’s hoping another team doesn’t come steal away our DC. Go Bucs, Fire the Cannons, and Siege the Day!
Understood on the injuries, Naplesfan, but you’ve still gotta be frustrated that they couldn’t pull out a few of the games late-
I was hoping to have the excitement of this week’s game meaning a bit more, but a Win over Carolina and winning season- gotta be happy with that. Don’t want to finish on a 3 gm slide…Go Bucs!!
A win would be great, but I have never seen a Buc team (which is known for leading the NFL is injuries) with this many injuries and IR’s. To borrow a term from another German American, I think it is time to do some serious vetting of the training staff, and the medical personnel.
There are a ten players on IR. Were we really impacted?
DE George Johnson-likely wouldn’t have made the team
WR Cecil Shorts-cut and brought in to replace Jackson. Nothing special
DE Jacquies Smith-ascending pass rusher who would have helped
LB Devante Bond-late round pick who is an unknown commodity stashed on IR
WR Vincent Jackson-once great fading player who would probably still have been better than his replacements
DE Howard Jones-had a few good plays last season but is just a pass rusher at less than 240
RB Antone Smith-cut and brought in to replace Sims. Showed a nice burst but was available for a reason
OC Ben Gottschalk-Horse’s favorite player but has not shown enough to compete with Hawley or Smith
WR Donteea Dye-fringe player at best
OG J.R. Sweezy-Licht must think he’s worthy of a high salary so I’ll trust his evaluation. Who knows?
I think the greater impact was from injuries for which a key player was unavailable or whose ability to play effectively was diminished. Some we may not even be aware. Charles Sims, Doug Martin, Luke Stocker, Russell Shepard, Adam Humphries, Fodser Cherilus, Demar Dotson, Kevin Panphile, Evan Smith, Joe Hawley, Noah Spence, Robert Ayers, William Gholston, Gerald McCoy, Clinton McDonald and Chris Conte all were lost for games or were greatly limited. Certain positions were nearly depleted.
And that my friends, is why our young QB tries so hard to take it on his shoulders.
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