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Buccaneers struggle to close out games

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have struggled to close out games this season, and their inability to do so may just cost them a playoff spot.

Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers lost another close game on Sunday, 23-21, to the struggling Philadelphia Eagles. The loss drops them to 6-7 on the year, and on the outside looking in concerning the NFC playoff picture. The Bucs have dropped numerous close games this season, and just a small change in fortune would have them looking good for the playoffs.

Six of the Bucs' seven losses have been by a touchdown or less, and one of the major reasons why is their pass defense. Tampa Bay ranks last in the NFL in pass defense, and the team's inexperienced corners have struggled in big spots. Other than veteran safety Ronde Barber, the Bucs are playing mostly players with less than three years of experience in the secondary, and opponents have been taking advantage of that.

The team thinks that despite their late struggles, they can make it better:

"You've just got to stick together, that's it," said injured CB LeQuan Lewis. "And keep on believing in each other, get each other's backs, that's basically it. That's what it boils down to."

The Bucs have a critical NFC South divisional game on Sunday, when they travel to New Orleans to take on the Saints.

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