The NFC playoff picture for the Buccaneers heading into Week 14
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are in the midst of a run that could end with a playoff berth, but they’ll need to take care of business down the stretch.
The Buccaneers, who currently sit at 7-5 overall, had a bye week this past Sunday and will now be back in action at home this weekend against the Minnesota Vikings.
While on the surface this game doesn’t seem like a major matchup, it- in fact- may be one of the biggest of the year for a Tampa Bay team looking to break a 12-year streak of missing the postseason.
Here’s a look at the NFC playoff picture heading into Week 14:
- New Orleans Saints (10-2)* clinched playoff berth
- Green Bay Packers (9-3)
- Los Angeles Rams (8-4)
- New York Giants (5-7)
- Seattle Seahawks (8-4)
- Tampa Bay Buccaneers (7-5)
- Minnesota Vikings (6-6)
Outside of the bubble:
- Arizona Cardinals (6-6)
- San Francisco 49ers (5-6)
- Chicago Bears (5-7)
- Detroit Lions (5-7)
- Washington Football Team (4-7)
The Buccaneers have to take care of business and that all starts with the Vikings this weekend
At this point, you’ve got an intense battle going on between the Rams and Seahawks for the NFC West division and it’s looking more and more likely that the team that comes in second will be the first wild-card spot, although the Bucs could still have something to say about that.
The Bears lost this weekend- which is good for Tampa Bay since they held the head-to-head tiebreaker- and the Bucs now hold a full-game lead for that second wild-card spot. However, that all can go away in the blink of an eye.
If the Vikings win this weekend against the Bucs, Minnesota would move to sixth and the Bucs would be technically tied with the Cardinals and 49ers- assuming they both win- after this weekend.
That’s why this is such a pivotal matchup. A win keeps the Buccaneers heads-and-shoulders ahead of everyone in the wild-card race not named Seattle (or Los Angeles depending on how that division shapes out) but a loss puts them in a pit where we’d be seeing an absolute dog fight down the stretch between them and a host of 3-4 more teams down the stretch.
Unless the Saints lose out, the Buccaneers can’t win the division but that doesn’t mean they can’t lock up a wild-card spot and potentially even move themselves in the best position possible to win in the first-round.