As frustrating as this stretch of four games has been for the Bucs, their 3-1 finishes in each of the first two quarters has the team in an advantageous position as they take their bye in Week 13, before embarking on the final four games of their regular season.
Tampa’s odds to make the playoffs, though still relatively safe, have cratered since the start of November, going from roughly -1500 four games ago to -675. Making the playoffs is still close to being a certainty, but its nowhere near as comfortable a feeling as it was at the midway point of the season.
Playing in Week 13, losses by the Arizona Cardinals, Los Angeles Rams, Minnesota Vikings, Chicago Bears, and San Francisco 49ers would certainly help the Bucs secure a spot in the Super Bowl tournament.
With the Cardinals hosting the Los Angeles Rams this weekend, a win by Arizona put the Bucs and both of these two teams at seven wins entering Week 14.
Of course, the Buccaneers can help their own chances by beating the Minnesota Vikings next weekend. A team which will likely be 6-6 following their contest against the struggling Jacksonville Jaguars, a win for Kirk Cousins sets up a big match-up with the Buccaneers as a loss by Tom Brady’s team would bring the two squads even at seven games with Minnesota then owning the tie-breaker.
For the Bears, a match-up against the 4-7 Detroit Lions is an opportunity for Mitchell Trubisky to lead his team to just their second win since defeating Tampa Bay back in Week 5.
Finally, the 49ers host the Buffalo Bills looking to unseat Josh Allen coming in with their own playoff aspirations in tow. Following their trip to the Super Bowl just one season ago, a win this weekend keeps Kyle Shanahan’s group in the playoff mix while a loss drops the team to 5-7, at risk of giving their coach his third losing season in four tries at the helm of the 49ers.
Plenty of football left to play, but as it stood heading into Week 13, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are certainly in control of their own destiny, and highly favored to bring January football to Bucs Nation for the first time since 2007.