Tampa Bay’s 47-7 win at Detroit on Sunday allowed the Bucs to clinch a playoff berth, and no worse than the No. 6 seed in the NFC postseason. A win over Atlanta at Raymond James Stadium on Sunday would allow the Bucs to lock up the No. 5 seed that the team currently has. Should that happen, the Bucs would travel to face the winner of the NFC East division, which is currently held by 6-9 Washington. Even if the Bucs lose, a Rams loss to the Cardinals will still secure the fifth seed in the playoffs for Tampa Bay.
If Washington beats Philadelphia on Sunday night, it is in the playoffs as the No. 4 seed. If Washington loses, it’s out of the postseason and the winner of the Dallas (6-9) vs. New York Giants (5-10) game on Sunday would win the NFC East and lock up a first-round home game against Tampa Bay.
The other remaining wild card spots will come down to the final weekend as well with three teams in contention. The Seahawks beat the Rams and clinched the NFC West title on Sunday, so Los Angeles needs to beat Arizona (8-7) to clinch a spot. The Bears (8-7) can also make the playoffs by beating the Packers in Week 17.
If Chicago loses and Arizona wins, then the Cardinals and the Rams would get in. If the Rams win, then the Bears would get the final playoff spot regardless of the result of their game against the Packers. The Rams would only miss the playoffs if they lose to the Cardinals and the Bears win. Complicating matters for L.A. is the fact that quarterback Jared Goff suffered a broken right thumb in the team’s loss at Seattle, putting his Week 17 status in jeopardy.
For the top seed in the NFC and a first-round bye, the Packers can clinch that with a win over the Bears or a Seahawks loss on Sunday. The Seahawks can clinch the top seed with a win and losses by the Saints and the Packers. The Saints can still get the No. 1 spot with a Packers loss and a Seahawks win.
Here is a current look at the NFC playoff picture entering Week 17.
CURRENT NFC PLAYOFF TEAMS
*1. Packers (NFC North leader) – 12-3 overall / 4-1 division / 9-2 conference
Remaining game: at Bears (8-7)
*2. Saints (NFC South leader) – 11-4 overall / 5-0 division / 9-2 conference Remaining game: at Panthers (5-10)
*3. Seahawks (NFC West leader) – 11-4 overall / 3-2 division / 8-3 conference
Remaining game: at 49ers (6-9)
4. Washington (NFC East leader) – 6-9 overall / 3-2 division / 4-7 conference Remaining game: at Eagles (4-10-1)
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: email@example.com