The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are right in the thick of it in the NFC playoff race after beating the Atlanta Falcons today. The Bucs won 23-19 after a fourth-quarter comeback led by Jameis Winston and his brilliant 20-yard scramble on third-and-19.
The Bucs are 6-6 and one game out of a playoff spot, behind the 8-4 Minnesota Vikings and 7-5 Seattle Seahawks in the NFC wild card race. With the Chicago Bears and New York Giants losing today, they're the only 6-6 team in the NFC and the only realistic challenge for the Seahawks and Vikings in the playoff race for now.
The Bucs lilkely need to win their final four games to be assured of a playoff spot, and even then it's theoretically possible they miss out -- though that is unlikely, as it means the Seahawks would have to be perfect the rest of the way, and the Vikings and 8-4 Packers near-perfect: those two teams play each other in the final week of the season, meaning both of them can't afford to drop one other game for the Bucs to be shut out of the playoffs.
The Bucs have four games remaining in the season, and all of them are winnable. They host the New Orleans Saints next week, head to St. Louis to take on the Rams on Thursday Night Football after that, host the Chicago Bears in week 16 and then finally head to Carolina to play the Panthers in a game that may not matter for Cam Newton and company in the final week of the regular season. This is as close as the Bucs have come to making it to the playoffs since 2010, when they just missed out despite going 10-6.
The playoffs are within reach. All the Bucs need to do now is win games.