Yardbarker Horiz

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Playoffs Watch: Week 14

The Buccaneers are down but not out after two tough losses.

The chart below is a snapshot of "if the season ended today".  The (+) means the Buccaneers would win the tiebreaker if Tampa Bay finishes with the same record (because of a head-to-head win).  A (-) means the Buccaneers would lose the same tiebreaker scenario.  An asterisk (*) means a future opponent.

Remember that division winners, regardless of record, make the playoffs. Here is how the NFC breaks down as of today:

Division Winners With First Round Bye
10-2 (South) Atlanta Falcons (-)
9-3 (North) Chicago Bears

Division Winners With First Round Home Game
8-4 (East) Philadelphia Eagles
6-6 (West) St. Louis Rams (+)

Wildcards
9-3 (South) New Orleans Saints (-)
8-4 (East) New York Giants

Outside Looking In
8-4 (North) Green Bay Packers
7-5 (South) Tampa Bay Buccaneers
6-6 (West) Seattle Seahawks *
5-7 (North) Minnesota Vikings
5-7 (East) Washington Redskins *
4-8 (East) Dallas Cowboys
4-8 (West) San Francisco 49ers (+)
3-9 (West) Arizona Cardinals (+)
2-10 (North) Detroit Lions *
1-11 (South) Carolina Panthers (+)

The Buccaneers obviously have their work cut out for them.  They are no longer in control of their own destiny and need other teams to help them by losing.  To get to the playoffs, the Buccaneers need the Green Bay Packers and either the New York Giants or Philadelphia Eagles to take a slide.  

The first Good Thing to help the Buccaneers will be when the Giants host the Eagles in Week 15.  The second Good Thing which can help the Buccaneers will be when the Giants visit the Packers in Week 16.

After a game at Detroit this weekend, Green Bay will travel to New England before the Giants game.  Their last game of the season is home against NFC North leader Chicago.  There is a good chance the Buccaneers can make up some games against Green Bay over these last four weeks of the season.

The New York Giants go to Minnesota this weekend, then play NFC East leader Philadelphia before their encounter at Green Bay.  Finally, the Giants finish on the road against the Washington Redskins.  It is within reason for the Giants to go 2-2 over these last four games of the season.

Finally, Philadelphia plays Dallas twice and hosts Minnesota along with their game at home against the Giants. Of the three, Philadelphia appears to have the least bumpy road ahead.

It's a lot to consider, but above all the Buccaneers need to get back on a winning streak!

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