Bucs Push For The Playoffs; How It Could Still Happen

The Bucs have one game left and still have one more shot at the playoffs.

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Bucs Still Alive: The Task Isn't Simple, But The Answer Is

Now that the Saints have beaten the Falcons, thereby punching their ticket to the playoffs, one spot remains: the #2 wildcard. And the Buccaneers still have a shot at claiming it, although it's going to be considerably more difficult than it would have been if Atlanta had won. The good news (if you want to call it that) is you don't need a graphing calculator to figure out how the Bucs can get in. This is what has to happen now:

  • Bucs must win at New Orleans
  • The Chicago Bears must beat the Green Bay Packers
  • The Washington Redskins must beat the New York Giants

That's it. If all three of those things happen, the Bucs are in and would probably play the Eagles at Philadelphia in the opening round.Going in as the #2 wildcard team means there's no possibility of any playoff games at home. If any one of those things doesn't happen, it's wait 'til next year.

Sunday, January 2
TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS @ New Orleans Saints 1:00pm
New York Giants @ Washington Redskins 4:15pm
Chicago Bears @ Green Bay Packers 4:15pm

IDEAL OUTCOMES and resultant records
Bucs (10-6) beat Saints
Redskins beat Giants (9-7)
Bears beat Packers (9-7)

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Tampa Bay Buccaneers Make History With Youth Movement

Just one quick note here before tuning into Monday Night Football to see if the Tampa Bay Buccaneers playoff chances are bolstered by a New Orleans loss tonight against the Falcons. On Sunday, the Buccaneers easily dismantled the Seattle Seahawks, 38-15, to improve to 9-6 and guarantee a winning record. The Bucs, who have started 10 different rookies, are the first team since the 1970 merger (excluding the 1987 strike season) to start at least 10 different rookies in a single season and have a winning record. Remarkable stuff from Raheem Morris, his staff, and the whole crew of players who have done their part in turning the Buccaneers franchise around in a hurry.

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Updated Buccaneers Playoff Scenarios

Thanks to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers beat down of the Seattle Seahawks on Sunday the playoff hopes are still alive and kicking. The Buccaneers will still need a lot of help from other teams but so far that help has been there in the form of the Packers beating the Giants on Sunday. The scenario’s were all very complicated before week 16 but heading into Monday Night Football, they are getting simpler, with a lot hinging on tonight’s NFC South showdown between the New Orleans Saints and Atlanta Falcons.

Scenario number one is that the Falcons beat the Saints tonight. The Bucs will then need to beat Drew Brees and company in the Superdome next week and hope that either the Green Bay Packers OR New York Giants lose on Sunday. Tricky, but not crazy.

If the Saints win tonight, things get a whole lot more difficult.

That scenario would then require the Buccaneers to beat the Saints, AND Green Bay AND New York both lose their games on Sunday. That’s probably asking a lot.

Green Bay will host the NFC North champion Chicago Bears on Sunday at Lambeu Field. Green Bay knows they basically need to win to make the playoffs while Chicago already has a seat locked up. Chicago will be geared up for this game also, as a win should secure them a first round bye and Green Bay is a divisional opponent with a long standing rivalry.

The New York Giants are heading to Washington to play the Redskins coming off two tough losses that have hampered their playoff hopes. Unlike the Green Bay-Chicago matchup, Washington has virtually nothing to play for and has been going through a tumultuous season, but this is again a divisional foe with a rivalry in place.

As you can see, The Buccaneers will need their share of help, and of course most importantly a win of their own in New Orleans. How it all shakes out remains to be seen, but just the very fact that the playoffs are still a possibility for a team that has started 10 rookies is pretty remarkable in of itself.

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Scoreboard Watching: What To Keep An Eye On In Week 16

It’s the Christmas weekend so it’s easy to get overwhelmed with other activities and obligations. Half the battle in getting yourself in front of a TV or at least tuned to the right radio station in your car is knowing what happens when and where. So here are this week’s games that directly impact the Buccaneers chances of qualifying for the playoffs (all times Eastern):

Sunday, December 26
Seattle Seahawks @ TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS 4:15pm
New York Giants @ Green Bay Packers 4:15pm
Monday, December 27
New Orleans Saints @ Atlanta Falcons 8:30pm

IDEAL OUTCOMES and resultant records
Bucs (9-6) beat Seahawks
Packers (9-6) beat Giants (9-6)
Falcons beat Saints (10-5)

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Bucs Push For The Playoffs; How It Could Still Happen

Believe it or not, your Tampa Bay Buccaneers remain playoff eligible heading into week 16 of the season. Here's how they can get in...

The Basics...

Six teams make the playoffs from each conference, four division champions and two wildcard teams; the two teams with the best records that didn't win a division championship. As of right now, this is the ranking of all the teams in the NFC, the conference the Bucs play in, that can still qualify for the playoffs:

  1. Atlanta Falcons 12-2 (current South Division leader)
  2. Philadelphia Eagles 10-4 (current East Division leader)
  3. Chicago Bears 9-4 (current North Division leader)
  4. St. Louis Rams 6-8 (current West Division leader)
  5. New Orleans Saints 10-4 
  6. New York Giants 9-5
  7. Green Bay Packers 8-6
  8. Tampa Bay Buccaneers 8-6
  9. Seattle Seahawks 6-8 (can only qualify as West Division winner)

The Bucs can't win the South Division but can still qualify for one of the wildcard spots...under the following circumstances (for the sake of simplification, we'll be ignoring all the scenarios that don't directly inmpact the Buccaneers):

Scenario #1:

  • The Bucs win both of their remaining games, giving them a final record of 10-6.
  • The New Orleans Saints lose both of their remaining games, giving them a final record of 10-6
  • The New York Giants lose both of their remaining games, giving them a final record of 9-7
  • The Green Bay Packers lose one or both of their remaining games, giving them a record of 9-7 or 8-8.

The Bucs claim the #1 wildcard spot by virtue of finishing with the same record as the Saints and tied with the first two tiebreakers (head-to-head and record within the division), but winning the third tiebreaker (record vs common opponents).

Scenario #2:

  • The Bucs win both of their remaining games, giving them a final record of 10-6.
  • The Saints beat the Falcons this week but lose to the Bucs the following week, giving them a final record of 11-5.
  • The New York Giants lose both of their remaining games, giving them a final record of 9-7
  • The Green Bay Packers lose one or both of their remaining games, giving them a record of 9-7 or 8-8.

The Bucs claim the #2 wildcard spot by virtue of having a better record than the Giants and Packers

Scenario #3:

  • The Bucs win both of their remaining games, giving them a final record of 10-6.
  • The Saints beat the Falcons this week but lose to the Bucs the following week, giving them a final record of 11-5.
  • The New York Giants beat the Packers but lose to the Redskins, giving them a final record of 10-6
  • The Green Bay Packers lose one or both of their remaining games, giving them a record of 9-7 or 8-8.

This one is tricky. The Bucs and Giants would finish with identical records and deadlocked through the first three tiebrakers; head-to-head, (not applicable), best won-lost-tied percentage in games played within the conference and best won-lost-tied percentage in common games. The fourth tiebreaker is "strength of victory", which is the combined winning percentage of teams beaten. Right now, that is extremely difficult to calculate but the Giants have a huge edge. The Bucs would need a lot of wins from the Bengals, Rams, Cardinals and 49ers while getting losses from the Bears, Texans, Lions, Cowboys, Jaguars, Vikings and Packers. The simpler variation, and not good for the Bucs is the Giants lose to the Packers but beat the Redskins, which gives them the common opponents tiebreaker.

Scenario #4:

  • The Bucs win both of their remaining games, giving them a final record of 10-6.
  • The Saints beat the Falcons this week but lose to the Bucs the following week, giving them a final record of 11-5.
  • The New York Giants lose both of their remaining games, giving them a final record of 9-7
  • The Green Bay Packers win both of their remaining games, giving them a record of 10-6.
The Bucs claim the #2 wildcard spot by virtue of having a better conference record than the Packers.
It IS possible for the Bucs to get in as the #2 wildcard with a 9-7 record but the combination of factors needed to make that happen are extremely difficult to present coherently at this time. It's much simpler if we just follow the credo of coach Raheem Morris and get 10 wins, or at least take another crack at it next week.
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