NFL NEWS: Tampa Bay Buccaneers
The Buccaneers are the worst team in the NFC at 2-8, but they’re also in the worst division in the league and the playoffs are still possible.
How bad is the NFC South? The New Orleans Saints have the only positive point differential in the division at +9. Their “best” teams in the Atlanta Falcons and Saints are leading the division at a 4-6 record. Given both remaining schedules, it’s very realistic to have a worse-than-.500 team make the playoffs, which is good news for the Bucs. While a number are crying fowl at the possibility, here are a few reminders.
- Teams have no control over what division they play in (except if you’re the Dallas Cowboys and Indianapolis Colts).
- The NFC West champion 7-9 Seattle Seahawks defeated the defending world champion 11-5 Saints in the 2010 wildcard round becoming the first sub-.500 team to win a playoff game. The Seahawks would proceed to lose to Lovie Smith’s Chicago Bears in the divisional round, but hey, don’t feel bad for Pete Carroll and the Seahawks, it only got better for them.
- The 2010 Bucs and New York Giants at 10-6 both didn’t make the playoffs giving way to the 10-6 Green Bay Packers who got into the playoffs as a sixth seed due to tie-breakers. The Packers would go on to win Super Bowl XLV.
The 2014 Bucs still have a chance at the playoffs provided they split their remaining division games against the Carolina Panthers and the Saints and win by a higher margin in their second games. They lose on a tie with the Atlanta Falcons given their two losses in head-to-head.
As futile as it sounds, the Bucs will need a lot of help to win their division as a sub-.500 team is unlikely going to get a wildcard spot. In the very least, the Bucs will need the Falcons to lose at least three games and the Saints lose twice while running the table in order to control their destiny as much as possible.
Both Buccaneer quarterbacks only have one victory a piece, but you do have to start somewhere. If Lovie Smith, Josh McCown and company can escape their homecoming at Soldier Field with another victory putting back-to-back victories for the season, there might be some hope yet.
One more win will also put them a step closer to reaching Smith’s predecessor Greg Schiano’s win total from last season. The sky’s the limit at this point.