Bucs playoff picture
Guess we might as well start thinking about the postseason. Here's our best effort to give you an idea of where the Bucs stand and what the postseason may hold for them. And, keep in mind, the current picture could change dramatically.
In any case, the Bucs will clinch the NFC South title with one more victory. That seems pretty much guaranteed given their remaining opponents: Houston (5-7), Atlanta (3-9), San Francisco (3-9) and Carolina (5-7).
So, with that, let's move on to the first round of the playoffs. Dallas (11-1) and Green Bay (10-2) are expected to get the first-round byes in the NFC. That leaves the Bucs playing at home against a widcard team to open the playoffs. If the season ended today, that team would be the Giants (8-4), who trail the Cowboys in the NFC East. The Bucs would (again, if the season ended today) draw the wildcard team with the better record because NFC West leader Seattle (8-4) has the same record as Tampa Bay and owns the tiebreaker by virtue of their head-to-head victory in the season opener. If the Bucs finish with a better record than the Seahawks, then Tampa Bay would be seeded higher and get the lower-seeded wildcard team. That could be one of any number of teams, with Detroit, Minnesota and Arizona -- each 6-6 -- among those fighting it out.
If you're still with us, we'll (foolishly) look toward the next round in case the Bucs win. If things go as expected and the division champions win in the wildcard round (which doesn't always happen), the winners likely would move on to play at Dallas and Green Bay. If the Bucs are the third seed in the NFC, they'd likely go to Green Bay. If they're the fourth seed, they'd probably travel to Dallas. I won't even dare look beyond that. We're getting way ahead of ourselves as it is.
Make sense? Hope this helps.