Bucs playoff chances took a big hit on Saturday – Photo by: Getty Images
Last week’s defeat in Dallas left Tampa Bay reeling, but Saturday’s loss in New Orleans has the Bucs on the ropes.
Tampa Bay hasn’t hit the canvas just yet, but they now need a win next week at home against Carolina and some help from other teams losing.
Falling to New Orleans also shut a postseason door on the Bucs. Along with Atlanta beating Carolina 33-16 earlier in the day, the Falcons wrapped up the NFC South title. Tampa Bay could have still won the division by winning out the last two weeks and Atlanta losing one of two.
Now the Bucs are going for the NFC’s sixth-and-final seed. Also battling for that spot are the Green Bay Packers (9-6), Washington Redskins (8-6-1) and Detroit Lions (9-5). Either the Lions or Packers will win the NFC North, leaving the second-place team and the Redskins in competition with the Bucs.
The current worst-case scenario is Detroit beating the Dallas Cowboys on Monday Night Football and then the Packers beating the Lions in Detroit at 1 p.m. next Sunday. That would give the division to Green Bay and the two Wild Card spots to the Lions and New York Giants. Both the Lions and Giants would have at least 10 wins and the best Tampa Bay can do at this point is 9-7. The Redskins (8-6-1) finish up at home against the Giants.
Washington’s Oct. 30 tie against the Cincinnati Bengals means the Bucs need a Redskins loss. Their 9-6-1 record would trump Tampa Bay’s 9-7 record in any scenario.
If the Bucs make it to 9-7 and tie with Detroit or Green Bay, the deciding factor likely will come down to the teams’ strength of victory percentages. As of right now, the Bucs’ strength of victory percentage is .441, which is much better than the Lions’ (.389) and a little behind the Packers’ (.444).
Those numbers will change considerably after next week’s games conclude.
COMPETITORS’ FINAL SCHEDULES
Atlanta Falcons (10-5)
New Orleans Saints
New York Giants (10-5)
@ Washington Redskins
Detroit Lions (9-5) [Monday Night]
@ Dallas Cowboys
Green Bay Packers
Green Bay Packers (9-6)
@ Detroit Lions
Washington Redskins (8-6-1)
New York Giants
Bucs beat Panthers, Lions lose to Cowboys and Packers, Giants beat Redskins….. that gets TB in as 2nd wild card ….correct? All this rubix cube, calculus talk makes it seem much tougher than that, on paper this still looks like a realistic possibility.
Nvrm, I just seen it is a much tougher road, GMF crew talking about AFC matchups having to go our way and Ties and crazy stuff but that doesn’t make much sense to me. Anyway, hopefully get there next year.
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