Puh… Playoffs?

November 7th, 2008

In case Bucs fans didn’t know, it’s the bye week. The Bucs have but seven games left in the regular season.

To keep you focused on the Bucs season, Joe rolled out some playoff realities for you on Monday. He made the case that another NFC South championship for the Bucs will secure a first round bye in the playoffs.

Today, with the help of Anwar Richardson of the Tampa Tribune and with apologies to current NFL Network analyst and former Indianapolis Colts coach Jim Mora, Joe will take another look at what chances the Bucs have to make the… puh… playoffs?

They are 6-3 and half a game behind Carolina in the NFC South with seven games remaining. The Bucs probably will need at least 10 wins to be in playoff contention, and four more victories seems to be an achievable goal.

Here are the teams the Bucs have left on the schedule, in order:

Minnesota, at Detroit, New Orleans, at Carolina (Monday night), at Atlanta, San Diego, Oakland.

As Richardson points out, the Bucs probably need to win 10 to make it to the playoffs. It’s possible, if not likely, but it won’t be easy. Minnesota is dangerous. Despite not having a QB of any worth, the Vikings have a lot of talented players. This game won’t be easy.

* Playing Detroit should be a no-brainer win. The Lions are dreadful beyond words and their coach, former Bucs defensive line coach Rod Marinelli, may be fired by then. He’s already getting really snippy with the fourth estate. But then again, the Bucs don’t exactly instill any confidence the way they have played on the road this year. Besides, the odds are the Lions have to win sometime this season.

* New Orleans, like Minnesota, is a dangerous team. Again, not a gimme game at all.

* Playing at Carolina, even though the Bucs manhandled them at the CITS earlier in the year, means nothing. Joe almost is ready to count this game as a loss.

* When the season started, this second Falcons game looked like a sure win. Not so fast. Atlanta (5-3) is  playing good football and is in the playoff hunt. Rookie quarterback Matt Ryan just gets better and better. He has better numbers as a rookie than Peyton Manning did in his first year. And don’t forget how dicey road games have been for the Bucs. Playing a road game six days after another road game is not usually a good thing. Potentially consecutive losses.

* San Diego, like New Orleans and probably more so than Minnesota, has a team with plenty of weapons to make for a long Sunday night at the CITS. Sure the Chargers recently canned their defensive coordinator but the defense now under Ron Riveria may be playing in a groove by then.

* Playing home against Oakland, the Bucs, on paper, should win that. The Raiders are rotten to the core and Joe can’t picture the Raiders not having thrown in the towel by then. The Silver and Black will likely be going through the motions.

On paper, Richardson is right. The Bucs should be able to lock up four wins. But Joe is a little more than concerned that getting those four wins will be a tough task.

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