The Tampa Bay Buccaneers beat the Kansas City Chiefs this weekend and got back to .500, with a 5-5 record and just one game behind the division-leading Atlanta Falcons. Which means we’re talking about playoffs yet again, despite writing off Tampa Bay just a few weeks ago. That wasn’t entirely without justification, though. Even now, the Bucs don’t have the best of chances.
Here’s Football Outsiders’ assessment of the Bucs’ playoff chances.
It occurs to me that, despite the 5-5 record, there's not much interesting about Tampa Bay's playoff chances. The Bucs are currently eighth in the NFC, a game and a half behind sixth-place Washington. The remaining schedule is downright brutal: Seattle, Carolina, New Orleans twice, at San Diego, and at Dallas. It would be an incredibly unlikely story for the Bucs to overcome that schedule and make the playoffs at this rate.
That’s...a pretty disappointing assessment of the Bucs’ playoff chances, but it’s probably correct. Football Outsiders had them at just 7.1% last week, and that probably hasn’t changed much. Five Thirty Eight has the Bucs at 15% chance, again, not too optimistic.
The team’s only realistic path to a playoff spot is to catch the Atlanta Falcons for the division title, but they’re a game behind them and have a much tougher schedule going forward.
Still, that doesn’t mean the Bucs are out of the playoffs entirely. It’s unlikely, but they can get there. A win against the very much injured Seattle Seahawks this Sunday isn’t entirely necessary, but would certainly help quite a bit.