The Tampa Bay Buccaneers head into Week 18 with a chance to clinch the division with a win over the Carolina Panthers. It’s simple math here for the Pewter Pirates, win one and you’re in the playoffs.
How did the Buccaneers find themselves in this position of needing a win in week 18 to become playoff eligible? In short because they failed to beat the New Orleans Saints in week 17 at home.
So while the Bucs are looking to clinch that playoff spot this week, where does last week’s loss leave them in the power rankings?
Recently NFL.com’s Eric Edholm dropped his NFL Week 18 Power Rankings. Here’s what he had to say about the Buccaneers.
“Week 17’s showing was not what we expected, with Tampa trailing 20-zip well into the fourth quarter against the desperate Saints,” via Edholm of NFL.com. “The Bucs entered the game oozing with confidence, having put together their best stretch of the season through the first four weeks of December. They then reverted back to some old, bad habits in the loss, putting themselves in a win-or-else situation in Week 18…I considered dropping the Bucs even farther, especially as Baker Mayfield is now dealing with some sore ribs, but for now, they lie just on the playoff cusp, which feels about right.”
Following the loss to the Saints the Buccaneers end up falling four spots to No. 14. On the flip side, the Saints jumped up six spots to No. 17.