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NFL Playoff Picture: Buccaneers still in the hunt despite a loss

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The Tampa Bay Buccaneers lost to the Indianapolis Colts today and dropped to 5-6, but they're not out of the playoff race yet. In fact, this game was the least important game on the schedule as the Colts were the only non-NFC opponent the Bucs face over the second half of the year.

With the Atlanta Falcons losing to the Minnesota Vikings today, the Bucs are still just one game out of a wild card spot. They just have more competition for that spot, with the Seattle Seahawks possibly getting up one game on the Bucs later today, and the New York Giants, Chicago Bears and Washington at 5-6 as well. The New York Times playoff simulator gives the Bucs around a 10 percent chance to make the playoffs as is.

The next two weeks will be crucial for Tampa Bay, as they host the Atlanta Falcons and New Orleans Saints -- two division rivals, both of them in disarray. The Bucs then head to St. Louis to take on the Rams on Thursday Night Football, and play direct playoff competitors the Chicago Bears in week 16. Win those four games, and the Bucs will almost certainly make the playoffs regardless of the result of the final game. Win that final game, and they're definitely in.

So yes, this loss is bad -- as is every loss. But the Bucs aren't out of the playoff race. All they need to do is win.