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Buccaneers officially eliminated from the playoffs

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NFL: Carolina Panthers at Tampa Bay Buccaneers Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have been officially eliminated from the playoffs after the Philadelphia Eagles beat the Dallas Cowboys, 27-13.

The Bucs were already highly unlikely to make the playoffs, as they needed seven results to go their way, including a tie between the New York Giants and Washington. That’s what was necessary to give them a tiebreaker on strength of victory over the Green Bay Packers.

Unfortunately, but predictably, all those games did not break their way. Despite the fact that the Bucs did do their job by beating the Carolina Panthers, 17-16.

The Bucs were on pace to make the playoffs until three weeks ago, when they lost to the Cowboys. A win last week against the New Orleans Saints could have salvaged their playoff hopes, but it was not to be.

The fact that the Bucs were even in playoff contention was somewhat miraculous, given their very tough schedule, a ridiculous rash of injuries and a 3-5 start. The defense was especially dominant in the second half of the season, though, and powered what was nearly an amazing comeback.

While the failure to make the playoffs has to be disappointing, the Bucs now have something they can build on, a strong core of players that came together and nearly got them to the playoffs. A few more additions and a little more luck on the injury front should get them over the hump next year.