The Tampa Bay Buccaneers squandered a chance to win the NFC South in Week 18, as the team lost to the New Orleans Saints in Week 17.
That keeps the Saints, Falcons and Buccaneers alive to win the NFC South going into Week 18.
Tampa Bay is still in the driver’s seat, and that’s reflected in the team’s odds to make the playoffs.
Buccaneers playoff odds
The Buccaneers have -250 odds to make the playoffs this season, an implied probability of 71.43 percent.
Tampa Bay simply needs to beat the NFL’s worst team – the Carolina Panthers – to get into the postseason and win the NFC South. The team is a 5.5-point road favorite against Carolina in Week 18.
Buccaneers playoff scenarios
There are two scenarios for Tampa Bay to make the playoffs.
The first is simple. If the Bucs beat the Carolina Panthers in Week 18, they’ll win the NFC South and will be the No. 4 seed.
However, there is a scenario where the Bucs can make the playoffs even if they lose in Week 18. If Tampa Bay loses to the Panthers, it will earn the final wild-card spot in the NFC if the Green Bay Packers lose to the Chicago Bears and the Arizona Cardinals beat the Seattle Seahawks.
Buccaneers playoff prediction
While the Panthers are 2-5 at home this season, I don’t see this team knocking off the Bucs in Tampa’s biggest game of the season.
The Buccaneers are 4-4 straight up on the road – a respectable record – and the team already has a win this season over Carolina.
I am worried about the Panthers’ leaky run defense holding up in this game, and Carolina has no incentive to win or lose – as the team doesn’t have its first-round pick.
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Odds refresh periodically and are subject to change.