In the famous words of Jim Mora, “Playoffs? Don’t talk about…playoffs?! You kidding me? Playoffs?!” The famous phrase came after a Colts loss to San Francisco in 2001 to go to 4-6. Buccaneer fans know quite well that it would take more moving parts than a Swiss clock for Tampa Bay to make the playoffs this season. But…
Exactly What Are We Looking At Here
First and foremost would be the Buccaneers going the rest of the season undefeated. This is the only part of the equation that the team themselves can control. No, I wouldn’t fly to Vegas and put the mortgage payment on the Buccaneers to run the table. We can do that bet online. Just kidding. But the thought of the team beating the Colts, Texans, Lions, and Falcons again, is exciting. But…
The Complicated Parts
The Vikings would need to lose 3 of their remaining 4 games. The Minnesota defense doesn’t seem likely to let that happen. With a game against the Los Angeles Chargers and 3 home games against their NFC Norris division foes (Bears, Lions, Packers), it would seem even less of a possibility. The Buccaneers would have a better division record than Minnesota and would thus hold the first tiebreaker if. A very big “IF”.
Upon further review, the Rams are back in the hunt. There was a time this season that last year’s NFC Champions looked to be smack dab in the middle of a Super Bowl hangover. Beating Arizona last week to take their record to 7-5 has the other Los Angeles team right back in the game.
Chicago has a 6-6 record but more importantly, a better divisional record (3-1) than the Buccaneers. With games remaining against Dallas, Green Bay, Kansas City and week 16 at Minnesota, losing 3 of 4 is quite possible. But at this point just another moving part.
The team that lost to Miami last Sunday does not look like a team that should qualify for the NFL postseason tournament. Then again, the entire NFC East shouldn’t be. With the same record as the Bucs, the Eagles too must start by running the table. The difference here is that with the hapless East, they could still overtake the Dallas Cowboys (6-6), for the division. WOW!?
The Panthers lost last Sunday to one of those weak NFC East teams, the Redskins. Then on Tuesday, the team fired head coach Ron Rivera. With two of their last four games being against the Seattle Seahawks and New Orleans Saints, the thought of Carolina running the table is a hard NO.
Have You Had Enough Yet?
If all of this “Buccaneers in the playoffs” talk has you feeling a little silly, there are Redskins fans who point to the fact that Washington at 3-9 could still win their division. WOW. The truth is, just to see an improving Tampa Bay team is refreshing. This is not a wing and a prayer scenario. This team is improving for the long haul. That’s what really makes these last 4 games so exciting. Like any good coach will tell you. The most important game is the next one on the schedule. So bring on the Colts.
Show me any team in the NFL that would want to face a Buccaneers team that finished the season winning their last 6 games. If your thinking there isn’t one. You’re probably right.