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Bucs Beat

Rick Stroud, Greg Auman and Matt Baker

Where do Bucs stand in playoff race?



The Bucs’ loss to Baltimore didn't help their playoff prospects.

They're still in the race with five games to go, but whereas this weekend's game against Atlanta could have been a chance to pull into a tie for first place, the Bucs are now a long shot to win the NFC South. With the Saints and Falcons both winning in Week 12, the Bucs have fallen further behind.

The Falcons moved to 9-2 with a victory over the Packers and the Saints improved to 8-3 with a Thanksgiving Day win at Dallas. At 7-4, the Bucs are a full two games behind Atlanta and a game behind New Orleans and is 0-1 against each club (for tiebreaker purposes). With five games remaining, the Bucs could find themselves in a position where they need substantial help to contend for the division crown.

Of Atlanta's five remaining games, three are against teams with losing records – Seattle and Carolina (twice). The Falcons also play the Bucs next Sunday and have a game remaining against the Saints. The Saints have games remaining against the Bengals, Rams, Ravens, Falcons and the Bucs, in the season finale.

When it comes to the wildcard picture, it's a little early to handicap things there. But, if the playoffs started today, the Bucs would be on the outside looking in. The Saints and Giants currently have the two wildcard spots in the NFC, with the Bucs and Packers just short. While the Giants, Packers and Bucs are all 7-4, the Giants currently own the tiebreaker by virtue of their better strength of victory (combined records of teams they've beaten). The way things are shaping up, the final few weeks of the season could get a little crazy as we try to size up playoff races.

To that end, take a look at the NFL's tiebreaking procedures, of which there are many. We won't list them all, but below we've provided the wildcard procedures.

1. Head-to-head, if applicable.
2. Best won-lost-tied percentage in games played within the conference.
3. Best won-lost-tied percentage in common games, minimum of four.
4. Strength of victory.
5. Strength of schedule.
6. Best combined ranking among conference teams in points scored and points allowed.
7. Best combined ranking among all teams in points scored and points allowed.
8. Best net points in conference games.
9. Best net points in all games.
10. Best net touchdowns in all games.
11. Coin toss.

[Last modified: Tuesday, November 30, 2010 10:47am]


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