For the third time in four years, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are headed to the NFC Divisional Round.
The Bucs blew out the Eagles on Monday, smothering Philly's offense and allowing fewer than 10 points on their way to a 32-9 victory. Tampa Bay was the only home underdog on Wild Card weekend, yet ended up winning by the second largest margin of victory. Only the Houston Texans beat the Browns by more points than the Bucs raced past the Eagles by.
Now Tampa Bay is headed to Detroit for a rematch against the Lions. Much like the Eagles, things didn't go so well the first time around for the Bucs but more than a few guys stepped up to send a message to the rest of the NFC that this team is not the laughing stock they were advertised as before the season started.
7 winners (and 3 losers) from Bucs 32-9 Wild Card win over Eagles
Losers: Anyone who doubted the Bucs this season
There will be a ton of praise heaped on the Bucs after the way they destroyed the Eagles on Monday, but don't forget that most experts doing so are the same ones who aggressively wrote the team off less than six months ago.
Peter King called the Bucs the second-worst team in the NFL back in May, and pundits like Colin Cowherd and others jumped all over Baker Mayfield at any chance they could get. The Bucs were predicted to tank for Caleb Williams, laughed at by division rivals, and were given no shot to compete after Tom Brady retired.
The team responded by finishing with a better record than it had last season, won the NFC South for a third straight year -- the first time they did that in franchise history -- and are now bound for the Divisional Round.
Not too shabby for a team whose season was over before it even started.
Making things even more incredible is the fact that the Bucs had $80 million in dead cap space this offseason and almost no money to spend in free agency. Despite this, Jason Licht built a roster that beat the defending NFC champs and has a legit shot of reaching the championship game this year.
Tough look for the doubters.