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NFL Playoff Scenarios: Can The Bucs Join The Saints And Falcons In The Postseason?

No. Well, that doesn't mean the Tampa Bay Buccaneers can't make the playoffs. But they can only do it at the expense of the New Orleans Saints, as far as I can tell. After losing to the Detroit Lions today, the Bucs need to win both of their remaining games. Next week they get the Seattle Seahawks at home, with the Saints in the Superdome after that.

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The Bucs will need help from the Atlanta Falcons as well. If the Saints drop both of their last two games, the first of which is in Atlanta next week, Tampa will rep the NFC South in Wild Card Round instead of the Saints. New Orleans will be very heavily favored at home over a banged-up Bucs team, but there should at least be something at stake, if Atlanta can beat New Orleans.

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There are other factors at play, of course. A three-game winning streak by the Green Bay Packers would knock out the Bucs, but that's looking unlikely minus Aaron Rodgers and against the New England Patriots tonight.

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I may have missed a scenario or two, but as far as I can tell that's the only way Tampa's getting past week 17. More scenarios coming at SB Nation throughout the week.

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Photographs by coka_koehler used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.