Tampa Bay’s 26-14 win over Minnesota did three things to the NFC playoff picture on Sunday. First, it kept the 8-5 Bucs in the No. 6 seed, ahead of 7-6 Arizona. Second, it gave the Bucs a head-to-head tiebreaker over the Vikings. And third, it knocked Minnesota out of the playoffs if the season ended today, vaulting the Cardinals ahead of the Vikings.

The Bucs snapped a two-game losing streak and now have a 98 percent chance of making the playoffs, according to ESPN Stats and Information.

The Packers won to move to 10-3 and clinched a playoff berth on Sunday, while the Saints lost and fell to 10-3. Green Bay has the current tiebreaker and moved ahead of New Orleans for the all-important top playoff seed, which includes a first-round bye. If the playoffs were to start today, the No. 6 seed Bucs would travel to Los Angeles to play the No. 3 seed Rams, the current NFC West leaders, in a rematch.

If the season were to end today the NFC West would have three teams in the playoffs, as 9-4 Seattle and 7-6 Arizona would also qualify. The NFC West leader might not be decided until Week 17 when the Rams play the Cardinals and the Seahawks play the 49ers.

Washington has now won two in a row and has a one-game lead over the New York Giants for the NFC East lead. The Giants have a tougher schedule with games against the 9-3 Browns and the 7-5 Ravens before finishing the season with a rematch against the Cowboys. Washington hosts Seattle next week before finishing the year against 4-9 Carolina and at 4-8-1 Philadelphia.

Here is a current look at the NFC playoff picture entering Week 15.


*1. Packers (NFC North leader) – 10-3 overall / 4-1 division / 8-2 conference
Remaining games:
vs. Panthers (4-9), vs. Titans (9-4), at Bears (6-7)

*2. Saints (NFC South leader) – 10-3 overall / 5-0 division / 8-2 conference

Remaining games: vs. Chiefs (12-1), vs. Vikings (6-7), at Panthers (4-9)

3. Rams (NFC West leader) – 9-4 overall / 2-2 division / 8-2 conference
Remaining games:
vs. Jets (0-13), at Seahawks (9-4), vs. Cardinals (7-6)

4. Washington (NFC East leader) – 6-7 overall / 3-2 division / 4-5 conference

Remaining games: vs. Seahawks (9-4), vs. Panthers (4-9), at Eagles (4-8-1)

5. Seahawks (First wild card) – 9-4 overall / 2-2 division / 6-3 conference
Remaining games:
at Washington (6-7), vs. Rams (9-4), at 49ers (5-8)

6. Buccaneers (Second wild card) – 8-5 overall / 2-2 division / 5-4 conference

Remaining games: at Falcons (4-9), at Lions (5-8), vs. Falcons (4-9)

7. Cardinals (Third wild card) – 7-6 overall / 2-2 division / 5-4 conference
Remaining games:
vs. Eagles (4-8-1), vs. 49ers (5-8), at Rams (9-4)

*= Clinched playoff berth


8. Vikings – 6-7 overall / 3-1 division / 4-5 conference
Remaining games:
vs. Bears (6-7), at Saints (10-3), vs. Lions (5-8)

9. Bears – 6-7 overall / 1-3 division / 5-5 conference
Remaining games: at Vikings (6-7), at Jaguars (1-12), vs. Packers (10-3)

10. Lions – 5-8 overall / 1-4 division / 4-6 conference

Remaining games: at Titans (9-4), vs. Bucs (8-5), vs. Vikings (6-7)

11. 49ers – 5-8 overall / 2-2 division / 3-6 conference
Remaining games: at Cowboys (4-9), at Cardinals (7-6), vs. Seahawks (9-4)

12. NY Giants – 5-8 overall / 3-2 division / 4-7 conference
Remaining games:
vs. Browns (9-3), at Ravens (7-5), vs. Cowboys (4-9)

13. Eagles – 4-8-1 overall / 2-2 division / 4-5 conference

Remaining games: at Cardinals (7-6), at Cowboys (4-9), vs. Washington (6-7)

14. Cowboys – 4-9 overall / 1-3 division / 3-6 conference
Remaining games: vs. 49ers (5-8), vs. Eagles (4-8-1), at Giants (5-8)

Share On Socials

About the Author: Scott Reynolds

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: sr@pewterreport.com
Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
7 months ago

As long as we keep winning we will be fine. Go Bucs! Now focus on the Falcons.

7 months ago

If we play the Rams or Saints again I have a feeling things will be different by the time the post season rolls around. I have a good feeling we’re gonna start seeing our Bucs play a lot harder these last 3 games.

7 months ago

So, basically, if the Bucs win 1 more game and the Bears lose a game, the Bucs are in. Win 2 more games, they’re in regardless. Be nice if we could get into the 5th seed. Otherwise, it looks like Rams or Saints.

7 months ago

Don’t look now, but the Buccaneers can still win the NFC South. The Saints play KC this week probably without Drew Brees. Then they have to face Minnesota and we all saw that the Vikings are better than their record. The Saints ahve been hiding Brees and it well could be that he won’t return until the playoffs. If they were to lose to the Chiefs and the Vikings, they would then have to go to Charlotte in Week 17. Meanwhile if Tampa “takes care of business” the NFC South could come down to the last game of the season.… Read more »