Anyone who thought the Tampa Bay Buccaneers win last week in Green Bay was a fluke witnessed a baptism on Sunday afternoon.
The Bucs blew out Jacksonville, potentially ending the Jags playoff hopes and increasing their own. Tampa Bay is now on the brink of clinching an NFC South title for the second straight year, as a win over the Saints in Week 17 would lock things up and punch a ticket to the playoffs.
Not bad for a team that was supposed to tank for a top draft pick before the season.
Four straight wins has completely turned the season around after the Bucs fell into a 1-6 slump, and the NFL Playoff picture is coming into focus with Tampa Bay at the center of everything.
Updated NFC Playoff Picture after Buccaneers win in Week 16
A lot of movement happened this weekend as the playoff pitcure begins to settle. The Vikings fell out of the picture thanks to a loss to the Lions, something that clinched the NFC North for Detroit for the first time since 1993.
The Rams win on Thursday over the Saints sunk New Orleans to the brink of elimination and also set up a potential Wild Card showdown for the ages. Matthew Stafford could make his return to Detroit as the opponent in the franchise's first home playoff game in three decades -- a matchup that doubles as Jared Goff revenge game.
Of course, the Lions might end up sneaking into the No. 2 seed when all is said and done, something that was helped by the Cowboys losing to Miami.
Meanwhile, the Eagles and Cowboys continue to stay neck-and-neck for the NFC East lead, something that will directly imapct the Bucs future. Tampa Bay is all but assured a home playoff game, assuming a victory next Sunday, and the opponent will be whoever finishes in second place out East.
Here's how things look after Week 16:
1. San Francisco 49ers (11-3) -- Clinched NFC West
2. Detroit Lions (11-4) -- Clinched NFC North
3. Philadelphia Eagles (10-3) -- Clinched playoff berth
4. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (8-7)
5. Dallas Cowboys (10-3) -- Clinched playoff berth
6. Los Angeles Rams (8-7)
7. Seattle Seahawks (8-7)
If things hold, this would be what Wild Card Weekend looks like for the NFC, with the Buccaneers playing host to the Philadelphia Eagles for the second time in three years.
- (2) Lions vs. (7) Seahawks
- (3) Eagles vs. (6) Rams
- (4) Buccaneers vs. (5) Cowboys
It would also mark the fourth straight year the Bucs play an NFC East opponent in the first round of the playoffs. Tampa Bay went up to Washington in 2020, beat the Eagles at home in 2021, and lost to the Cowboys last season.