The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have already accomplished so much in 2020 the franchise hasn’t witnessed in quite some time. Double-digit wins, clinching a playoff berth, franchise records, and even a shot at quite an achievement in the history books of the NFL. As they say, this season has been different, and for the Bucs that saying is quite an understatement.
For Tampa Bay though, the goals are just starting to get met, and there are plenty more ahead of them. One such goal, of course, is to win a Super Bowl. Something which would set history in more ways than one. In fact, I wonder if there’s a way to find out how much history any one year’s roster has ever set in a single season. Perhaps this year’s Bucs are nearing that mark as well.
Before they can get to all of those post-season goals, they have to reach it, and standing in their way is a Week 17 match-up against the Atlanta Falcons. A match-up the Buccaneers are currently expected to win by a margin of six and a half points.
A second win against Atlanta would give Tampa Bay their first season sweep of the NFC South rivals since 2015, in Jameis Winston’s rookie season.
The win would also lock in the Buccaneers as the NFC’s fifth-seed and guarantee them a date with either the winner of the Dallas Cowboys (-3) vs New York Giants game, or the Washington Football Team. The Philadelphia Eagles are out of the race, so if they beat Washington (-1.5) then the winner of the first match-up wins the NFC East and hosts the fifth-seed.
Of course, if the Bucs can’t beat the Falcons they can still clinch the fifth-seed if the Los Angeles Rams fall to the Arizona Cardinals (-1).
Playoff seeding and final regular-season record are the priorities here, but there’s another standing in question in Week 17 as well. The standings of NFL receivers who had consecutive thousand-yard seasons to start their careers.
Right now two men hold the record having six such seasons. Those men are Hall of Famer Randy Moss, and Buccaneers star, Mike Evans.
With forty-yards on Sunday against the Falcons, Evans will notch his seventh-straight thousand-yard season, and stand alone on top of the list as the most productive receiver over his first seven seasons in the NFL. Quite the accomplishment.
After impressive performances against the Falcons in Week 15, and then again against Detroit last weekend, Evans has an 80% chance of going over 39.5 yards in this game, giving him the record. Something which didn’t seem likely just a few short weeks ago.
Another mark being aimed at this weekend is smaller in stature, but important nonetheless, as Ronald Jones II looks to make his return to the field eyeing becoming the first Bucs running back to rush for 1,000-yards since Doug Martin did it in 2015.
His over/under is currently set at 63.5, but we first have to see if he even makes it to the field coming off of the Reserve/COVID-19 List and having had pins inserted into a broken finger just two weeks ago.
Either way, you slice it, there’s plenty to play for when the Tampa Bay Buccaneers host the Atlanta Falcons in their final preparation opportunity for the NFL Playoffs. Man, it feels good writing that.