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The Buccaneers beat at least one 2017 NFL conference finalist

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Tampa Bay Buccaneers v Atlanta Falcons Photo by Scott Cunningham/Getty Images

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers had a pretty good season, for their standards. They didn’t get to the playoffs, but they did have a winning record for the first time since 2010, and laid the groundwork for much more than that in the near future.

Notably, the Bucs beat two teams that are still in the playoffs: the Kansas City Chiefs, who play the Pittsburgh Steelers later today for the right to face the New England Patriots in the AFC Championship Game, and the Atlanta Falcons, who beat the Seattle Seahawks last night to go to the NFC Championship Game. Incidentally, the Bucs also beat the Seahawks in the regular season.

Of course, we should also note that while the Bucs did beat the Falcons in week one, they also got blown out by them a month later on Thursday Night Football — probably the low point of the 2017 regular season for the Bucs.

Usually, though, the Bucs can’t point to any wins against playoff opponents, even in very good years. When they had a 10-6 record in 2010, they racked up wins against poor opponents and lost to or got blown out by teams that made it into the playoffs. The result was a strong regression the next year.

This time, we can legitimately hope that things will be different. Because unlike last season, the Bucs actually beat some good teams. Teams that may be headed to the Super Bowl, but at least have racked up some wins in the postseason. And that’s rare enough for a Tampa Bay team.