All games that have implications on the Bucs playoff seeding for Week 16 are now complete. With the Seahawks victory over the Rams, the Bucs now must stay a game ahead of Los Angeles in order to obtain the no. 5 seed. Here are the scenarios for their seeding based on potential Week 17 outcomes.
1. If Bucs win against Atlanta, they will be the No. 5 seed facing the winner of the NFC East on the road in the Wild Card round of the playoffs.
2. If the Bucs lose against Atlanta, and the Rams also lose against Arizona, the Bucs will still be the no. 5 seed facing the winner of the NFC East on the road in the Wild Card round of the playoffs.
3. If the Bucs lose against Atlanta and the Rams win against Arizona, the Bucs will be the no. 6 seed facing either Green Bay, New Orleans or Seattle, depending on a number of different outcomes.
If the Bucs get the fifth seed, they could potentially play on the road at Dallas, New York or Washington D.C., as all three teams remain alive for the playoffs after Week 16. If Washington defeats Philadelphia next week, they are in as the no. 4 seed. If Washington loses, it opens the door for the winner of Cowboys-Giants to be division champs and host the fifth seed in the first round of the playoffs.
If the Bucs end up as the sixth seed, there is a path to playing Green Bay, New Orleans or Seattle, depending on how several games go. Here’s the most likely outcome, however: the Packers control their own destiny for the top seed, even if they lose to Tennessee on Sunday night. If they beat Chicago in Week 17, they’ll have the first round bye. If the Saints beat the Panthers and the Seahawks beat the 49ers in Week 17 as expected, the Bucs would travel to Seattle for the first round of the playoffs.
Jon Ledyard is PewterReport.com's newest Bucs beat writer and has experience covering the Pittsburgh Steelers as a beat writer and analyzing the NFL Draft for several draft websites, including The Draft Network. Follow Ledyard on Twitter at @LedyardNFLDraft