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Bucs Beat

Rick Stroud, Greg Auman and Matt Baker

Bucs stay alive in NFC playoff race

27

December

So, the Bucs handled business against the Seahawks on Sunday. Now, they have some math to do.

Here's how things break down for the Bucs after Sunday's action and with Monday's game still undecided.

With the Packers' win over the Giants, the Bucs will remain alive regardless of the outcome of tonight's Saints-Falcons game. But the outcome of that game changes things in terms of what it takes for the Bucs to make the postseason.

If the Saints lose to the Falcons tonight, the Bucs would need a win over the Saints on Sunday and a loss the same day by either the Giants (at Washington) or Packers (vs. Bears). This scenario would oust the Saints from the postseason, with the Bucs beating them in a tiebreaker via a better record in common games (head to head and division records would be tied). The Bucs would be the No. 6 seed in this scenario.

If the Saints defeat the Falcons, then the scenario is as follows. The Bucs must win at New Orleans and would need losses by both the Packers and Giants next Sunday. Under this scenario, the Bucs and Saints would go to the playoffs, with the Bucs being the No. 6 seed. Tampa Bay, with 10 wins, would have a better record than the Giants and Packers, who would be eliminated.

Regardless of what happens, it all boils down to the Bucs having to win at New Orleans to even have a chance. If nothing else, Week 17 will be meaningful for the Bucs, and that's more than anyone could have predicted 17 weeks ago.

[Last modified: Monday, December 27, 2010 1:31am]

    

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