The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are currently sitting in first place. But it’s going to be a battle to stay there. Many things can happen and the next four games a pivotal for a playoff birth. So here is an outlook on the situation.
Going into the weekend the Buccaneers will face the Packers in Green Bay. Now the Packers may only be 6-7 but they have been showing some promise behind Jordan Love. At home they are 4-2. Making this a pivotal week. However they did just lose to the resurging Giants. So this game could be anyone’s. ESPN analytics gives the Buccaneers a 43.3% chance to win.
The Saints on the other hand host the Giants coming off a big win. They have won three in a row with two wins coming off poorly preforming teams, but that should not be overlooked. The Saints themselves have been struggling. So this will be a test for both teams.
Unfortunately the Falcons draw the lowly Panthers this week. In what should be an easy win, ESPN analytics says a 66.5% chance of winning, it means the Buccaneers have to win.
Either way week 15 means the Buccaneers are in a must win situation with the Falcons getting an easy win.
Looking Past Week 15
The Buccaneers will face the Jaguars at home, then the Saints, and the Panthers. None of these games are, expect maybe the Panthers, guarantied. The Falcons are in the same boat. They face the Panthers but also an ascending Bears, and the Saints. Also along for the ride the Saints play the Rams, Buccaneers, and Falcons.
Each game will count and this season, baring an epic collapse, will come down to the wire. NFL.com has the Buccaneers with a 37% chance of winning the division with Atlanta only slightly behind at 32%, and the Saints at 31%.
The key for all three teams is to not look ahead to other games. This will be devastating for the Buccaneers if they get caught up doing this in the following weeks. They need to focus on who they face week by week. They can control their own destiny but a single slip up will be disastrous.
This team has made no changes of substantial portion throughout the season. They have made no leaps in performance. So if they have been holding back now is not the time to do so. Especially since some, particularly the entire coaching staff, will be evaluated on whether or not they should stay.