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NFL playoff picture: Buccaneers still in the hunt

At 3-4, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are still in the hunt for a playoff spot.

J. Meric

The 3-5 the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are still in the hunt for a playoff, but they'll need to win a majority of their games and get some help in the second half.

Tom Jones of the Tampa Bay Times gave a pretty thorough breakdown of what other teams need to do for the Buccaneers to leapfrog them and grab one of the Wild Card spots, but in the end it all depends on Tampa Bay taking advantage of what seems like a pretty favorable second half schedule.

There are two games against the Atlanta Falcons – the league's last unbeaten – and a road game against Denver that will probably count for losses, but the Bucs will have more than a chance in the rest of their games.

First, there are three winnable home games against struggling teams in San Diego, Philadelphia and St. Louis in which the Bucs should be favored. Add in road games against Oakland and Carolina, the Bucs could be in position for a playoff spot if they beat New Orleans in what will likely be a big matchup on Dec. 16.

Jones knows that it would be tough for the Bucs to pull out a game in the Superdome, but it has been done before:

That leaves the big swing game against the Saints in New Orleans on Dec. 16. The Bucs should have beaten the Saints here and have won in New Orleans two of the past three seasons. A win there is possible.

If all these things happen, the Bucs would be 9-7 and would have a chance.

Photographs by, thelastminute, turtlemom nancy , fesek, kthypryn, justinwright, sue_elias, pointnshoot, and scrapstothefuture used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.