A Look At The Playoff Puzzle

December 6th, 2010

Joe’s done the heavy lifting for you on the Bucs’ playoff chances.

First, let Joe say the Bucs have to win their next three games against lesser teams. That would bring the Bucs to 10-5 and an 8-3 conference record, which is the second Wild Card playoff tiebreaker after head-to-head record.

Current records:

NY Giants (8-4, 6-2 in NFC)

at Minnesota
at Green Bay
at Washington

Philadelphia Eagles (8-4, 5-3 in NFC)

at Dallas
at New York

Chicago Bears (9-3, 7-3 in NFC)

at Minnesota
at Green Bay

Green Bay Packers (8-4, 6-3 in NFC)

at Detroit
at New England

New Orleans (9-3, 7-2 in NFC)

at Baltimore
at Atlanta

Tampa Bay (7-5, 5-3 in NFC)

at Washington
at New Orleans

If the Bucs win their next three to get to 10-5 (8-3 in NFC), they’ll likely then be tied with the Giants and Eagles and a conference win ahead of the Eagles. This assumes the Giants beat the Eagles at home on Dec. 19 and the Packers beat the Giants in Green Bay the following week.

Regarding Green Bay, with the above scenario, the Bucs would then be tied with Green Bay at 10-5 (same conference record), assuming the Packers lose in New England on Dec. 19 and beat Detroit on Sunday.

Now New Orleans is two games up on the Bucs now, but its next three games are home against the Rams, then at Baltimore and at Atlanta, two games where they’ll be underdogs.

Bottom Line: If the Bucs win their next three, and the above likely scenarios play out, then Tampa Bay will have to win in New Orleans to close the season to get in the playoffs. Barring a miracle collapse of other teams in the hunt, the Bucs have to win out.

52 Responses to “A Look At The Playoff Puzzle”

  1. Dave Says:

    Funny, I was looking at the same thing earlier this morning.
    I just looked at the teams and their remaining schedules and noticed that even if the Bucs win 10 games, there is a good chance they do not make the playoffs.
    WOW. Pretty amazing.

  2. Buc You Says:


    You talking Playoffs?????????????????!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


  3. Joe Says:


    The tiebreakers will kill the Bucs. So many people tried to pass off the winless record against winning teams and make excuses — or even get upset when that critical fact was even mentioned — but that’s an importantl element in conference tiebreakers.

    Joe has said this before and will say it again: That loss at Atlanta was a killer that will haunt this team, perhaps cost the Bucs a playoff appearance.

  4. BamBamBuc Says:

    Yep, the Bucs are likely out of the playoffs this year. As much as I’d like to see it (and it’s still possible, though doubtful), I can’t see this year as a failure of any sort. Beating teams you’re supposed to beat is essential, and they’ve done that. Are they Elite? No, not yet. Anyone that expected this team to turn from a 3-13, bottom of the barrel team to a Super Bowl contender in one year with half the roster still in their first or second year in the NFL was delusional. Yet, the playoffs are still potential and the Bucs could still shock the fans with an appearance. Even if they go 9-7 this year, and no wins vs winning teams, it’s still improvement. Something to build on next year.

    Oh damn, the team didn’t go from the cellar to the penthouse in one year. Ah Jeez, every rookie on the team is gonna turn into Michael Clayton and flop the next 5 years. Oh Wahhhh, we’re gonna get stomped by “good” teams until they fire the coach.

    Quit yer whining and understand they’ve outperformed what most anyone gave them credit for and have improved steadily throughout the season. If they can show that improvement during the season, they should be able to show the same (or more) improvement in the off-season. Playoffs or no, I’m proud of where this team has gotten this year over last, and look forward to continued improvement in years to come.

  5. Apple Roof Cleaning Says:

    “”Joe has said this before and will say it again: That loss at Atlanta was a killer that will haunt this team, perhaps cost the Bucs a playoff appearance.””

    As we were leaving Tampa Stadium, many fans could be heard saying ” There go our playoff hopes”

    But it is true ….

  6. Buc You Says:

    But the question remains, is Raheem Morris capable to not only get this team to the playoffs, but win a playoff game?

    Wasn’t the whole premise behind the Gruden firing a result of him not winning play off games and going deep into the playoffs?

    Seriously, will it be a wasted opportunity of this young team to keep giving a mediocre coach a chance? How many mediocre seasons does raheem get anyway?

  7. Bucs4ever Says:

    Buc You shut ur yap…you dumb saint fan

  8. Architek79 Says:

    BUC YOU, you are very ignorant and I believe you are a new Bucs fan after reading some of your posts. Why do you come to a Buc’s site and ask stupid questions?

    What opportunity wasted? It’s the NFL and the team is learning what ATL learned last year, close games or lose. ATL lost to NO the same way last year. We created this situation, good and bad, for ourselves. We have improved and using rookies in the process, how do expect young players to behave in the clutch? You should not post here anymore because you are by far the biggest IDIOT of all of the bloggers here.

  9. mikeck Says:

    No, Gruden was fired because he couldnt go anywhere in the playoffs, then next year, he couldnt win just 1 out of 4 games necessary to get into the playoffs. Add that to the fact that he and Allen drafted via dartboard so that there appeared to be no potential for anything other than 7-9 to 9-7 seasons in our future…like the Browns or Texans.

    Win or lose, I actually enjoy watching the Bucs play. They are executing much better than under gruden with less developed talent (but far more potential)

  10. gavster Says:

    hmm i dont see why we cant win out. So playoffs are very much there guys.

  11. Buc You Says:

    “so that there appeared to be no potential for anything other than 7-9 to 9-7 seasons in our future”

    That’s where we are at with Raheem. God forbid Raheem has to coach against a good team.

    Face it, Raheem is medicore at best. I still rate him in the bottom of coaches, closer to the bottom 5.

    So, basically, you guys will just blindly support Raheem regardless of his poor coaching record against good teams and his sorry defense.

  12. Apple Roof Cleaning Says:

    Even IF Tampa wins out, we have to play the Saints at home, w/o many of our key starters we had when they creamed us in Tampa. Hey, I WANT Tampa to make playoffs, but just being realistic. The Atlanta loss yesterday really hurt us, and this last game of the year with the Saints may not be meaningless for them. They may be in a situation for home field advantage or the division championship with Atlanta, who beat us twice.

  13. McBuc Says:

    Buc You…You really are a fool if you can not see improvement in this team.

    [Joe appreciates you having his back McBuc but no sense in trying to incite a flame war. ]

  14. Hawaiian Buc Says:

    @Buc You,

    Yesterday, you actually made a couple decent posts for once, but I see you’ve come back to reality today. First of all, Gruden was fired because he refused to develop talent, period. Besides, that was 2 years ago. You, Eric, and all the other Gruden crotch sniffers need to give it up. We are losing against good teams because they are better than us. How many pro bowlers does Atlanta have? How many do we have? We have 1 starter remaining on our OL from the beginning of the year! We are playing rookies (many of which are late rounders or not drafted at all) and other teams practice squad players in key positions, but still hanging with the big boys. You really should have played sports growing up, so maybe you would have a clue.

    So due to your impatience and wanting a Super Bowl immediately, you think Raheem is mediocre? That’s like saying the Chicago Bulls should have fired Phil Jackson because he couldn’t beat the Pistons in his first couple years. It’s ignorant, as are you. News flash for you dumb arse, we didn’t lose yesterday because of our defense. They held Turner to under 100 yards, and Atlanta to 21 points (can’t count special teams) and less than 300 yards total offense. We support Raheem because he is doing a great job with this team.

  15. Mr. Lucky Says:

    Sorry guys but the Bucs don’t DESERVE a playoff berth – this year.

    This is the NFL and you need to earn your way into the post-season (unless you play in the NFC West).

    The Bucs are much improved but yesterday they fell short.

    Yesterday the Bucs:

    1. Lost to the better team
    2. Got out-coached

    There – that’s the truth. Deal with it.

  16. Mr. Lucky Says:

    Buc U – Morris has gotten these players to play at a level that no one suspected for 2010. He’s a great motivator. Will he be able to take it to the next level? I don’t know but he’s earned the chance for another season.

    Maybe you’d prefer john Fox or Mike Singletary? Not me

  17. Buc You Says:

    Lucky said it all:

    Yesterday the Bucs:

    1. Lost to the better team
    2. Got out-coached

    Ain’t dat da truth!

    The lackluster defensive coordinating job and head coaching decisions are what really sets us apart.

    Perhaps if we had a REAL coach then we could realize true hope.

  18. Buc You Says:

    “He’s a great motivator. Will he be able to take it to the next level? I don’t know but he’s earned the chance for another season. ”

    How chances will this mediocre coach get? That’s my question.

    The Glazers should just nip it in the butt and go get Bill Cowher for the head coach. Let Olson stay as the OC and let Dom stay as the GM. Give Cowher full reign to build a REAL defense.

  19. Buc You Says:

    How many chances will Raheem “I can’t beat a winning team” Morris get?

    That’s how it should have read.

    Look, you don’t like what I post, but this is in your face boys. Stop freaking out over these legitamate comments.

    Even if i don’t agree with my own assesment, there are still outstanding questions that Rah needs to prove. Too bad the fanbase has to sit through it in the stadium watching an inexperienced coach to go along with the young team.

    Too bad Glazers don’t have the nuts or the brains to go get a real coach.

    Too bad the stadium won’t sell out next season either with this travesty of a franchise. GO GET A REAL COACH TO COACH THESE YOUNG KIDS GLAZER BOYS!

    Someone has to say it.

  20. d-money Says:

    Mr. Lucky,

    I agree that Atlanta is probably the better team.

    But how exactly were they out coached? If the players on the feild would have executed the plays and made tackles this game wouldn’t even have been close.

    Freeman threw a interception at the worst time. Special teams gave up a touchdown and the defense had costly penalties and gave up a 3 and 20.

    Thats not on the coaches that is on the players. The plays were there all day to be made but no one made them.

    The game plan was fine the execution was bad.

  21. Dave Says:

    WOW. BUC YOU is pretty ignorant when it comes to football huh?

    You don’t consider the youth? The purge of vets? The rebuilding? The fact that most said 6 wins AT BEST? The first full year of being D-Coordinator? The first full year with offeseason of the O-Coordinator? The number of rookies starting in their first season?

    If it was Gruden you would be praising him for an awesome coaching job given with what he had to work with.

    My money says if the Bucs win 10 he gets coach of the year. Maybe even they get to 9 wins.

    They have improved against the better teams. They ahve plugged in undrafted guys, 7th round guys and gotten better.

    I don’t see where the coach lost that game. I see a bad Special Teams play and some poor execution on defense (3rd and 20 and a stupid horse collar penalty on 3rd down).

    Maybe they hired Raheem because he was cheap in comparison, but to say he sucks after where this team was 18 months ago to now is absolutely ignorant.

  22. Mr. Lucky Says:

    d-money – sorry but I disagree about the coaching.

    the Bucs shut down in the 3rd and 4th quarter. The decision to take a FG on 4th and 1 I can live with. Punting on 4th down was too conservative.

    Remember this is the same team that tried an onside kick last time in Atlanta?

    The coaching on the last Bucs TD with the Graham pass – THAT’S the kind of play calling the Bucs needed in the ENTIRE 2nd half.

    Plus losing your center to an injury and putting in a rookie LG and moving Zutah to center? that’s the best plan? Why not put Trueblood in and move Lee? I’m sorry but when a single player goes down and your offensive line goes from effective to piss poor – that’s the coach’s fault.

    Also the play calling with the Freeman pick. There was 2 minutes to go and you’re on their 30 yard line. Why not try an end around with Benn.

    Speaking of which Freeman is MISSING wide open receivers more and more. Josh got rattled and that’s due to his inexperience or lack of prep.

  23. jvato24 Says:

    Buc You .. You are funny .. But in public you would probably freak me out as I have a fear of clowns

  24. Mr. Lucky Says:

    Dave – penalties are commited by undisciplined players. Penalties are a sign of bad coaching.

    this year the Bucs were MUCH improved but on that last drive the ucs gave up 30 yards in penalties to the Falcons.

    Hence we got outcoached.

  25. Mr. Lucky Says:

    Buc U – I too would have like Cowher to come to town.

    HOWEVER, after the season that the Bucs have had I feel Raheem EARNED another 2 seasons in order to finish what he started.

  26. McBuc Says:

    OK Joe, I will stop asking Buc You why is came back, but he is a fool.

  27. McBuc Says:

    That should have said why he came back…

  28. d-money Says:

    Mr. Lucky,

    We can sit here with the benefit of hindsight and pick apart every play that didn’t work but the fact is the coaches come up with a plan the players have to execute.

    If Stovall pushes the kick returner out of bounds or Biggers is in position on 3 and 20 or If Freeman doesn’t over throw his recievers all day we’re having a completely different conversation today. The game plan was sound the players didn’t execute it.

    I’m not going to say the coaching was perfect but the gameplan was good enough to win and it was the players that deserve the bulk of the critisism today.

  29. flmike Says:

    For those of you who wish for Cowher, please don’t. You will set this team back 5 years. Cowher runs the 3-4, we neither have the personnel or staff to do that. We just spent a 1st and a 2nd on a 3 Technique and a Nose Guard to play in the Hybrid T2, it would take 3 to 5 years to put together a decent 3-4 D with the current personnel and drafting, in other words look at the mess the Redskins are in, year 2 of the switch and they are at least another 2 years away.

  30. leningan Says:

    Hey Joe,

    Tiebreakers are as follows:

    1. Head-to-head (best won-lost-tied percentage in games between the clubs).
    2. Best won-lost-tied percentage in games played within the division.
    3. Best won-lost-tied percentage in common games.
    4. Best won-lost-tied percentage in games played within the conference.
    5. Strength of victory.
    6. Coin Toss.

    Yahoo has a fun little playoff scenario generator… we can make it with 10 wins and the scenarios are not all that unlikely.

  31. New Era Buc Says:

    Well that’s the first time I’ve heard someone call out Freeman for his lack of preparation. His proplem is experience and maybe some nerves. The sky is the limit for this kid, its just going to some time.

  32. Hawaiian Buc Says:

    Are you serious, out-coached? That’s a stupid statement. Let me break this down real simple for the slow people: THEY ARE MORE TALENTED THAN US! They have legitimate pro bowlers everywhere on offense: QB, WR, RB, TE, and OL. How many do we have? Probably none. Yet we probably would have won if not for the kick return. Notice how I don’t blame Bissacia for that, it’s just Atlanta made the play and we didn’t. It’s no need to go around firing people. Was it not good coaching to challenge that first INT? You are lying through your teeth if you thought the ball hit the ground. You probably thought it was stupid to even challenge in the first place. You are also crazy if you thought Gruden would have went for any of those fourth downs.

    You can’t just switch Lee to Guard and put in Trueblood. It’s a totally different position with a totally different skill set. This isn’t Madden. We just got beat by a team that is considerably more talented, there’s really no shame in that. We are completely decimated by injuries, yet we are still playing well. The coaching staff (not just Morris) deserves a tremendous amount of credit for that. Credit that anybody who has any knowledge (or common sense) of football would see.

  33. Hawaiian Buc Says:

    Penalties are a result of good coaching? Really? So I guess the Pittsburgh Steelers are terribly coached? You might want to rethink that philosophy. Penalties happen for so many different reasons, and coaching is far down the list. Youth, inexperience, over aggressiveness, officiating have a lot to do with it too. I highly doubt any of our coaches have taught tackling by horse collar.

  34. eric Says:

    As I recall Sam was fired with a “young upstart team” after starting 5-2 and finishing 7-9.

    Dungy fired after a loss to Philly in the playoffs.

    Gruden fired after back to back 9-7 seasons and Division Champs in 05 and 07.

    Why the different standard for the Dream?

    The wallet perhaps?

  35. Hawaiian Buc Says:


    Seriously, what don’t you get about there being different expectations due to the extreme youth of this team? We dismantled a team and rebuilt it to be highly competitive in less than 2 years. What is wrong with your brain that you just can’t seem to comprehend this? Try for once to ignore your hatred of Raheem and understand this. It’s really not that hard, at least for everyone in the country except a few (coincidentally the ones who have no football experience).

  36. Hawaiian Buc Says:


    I guess you don’t recall that Sam had 4 consecutive losing season, and the team collapsed during his last season. If Raheem has 4 straight losing seasons, I will be right next to you screaming for his head. However, you and I both know that’s not going to happen. Too bad only one of us is happy about it.

  37. BamBamBuc Says:

    Hawaiian…. add Gruden into that equation. After the Super Bowl, he never again won a playoff game. Sure, he made it to the playoffs, but never won a single playoff game in six years. Wyche had multiple losing seasons, Gruden had multiple losing seasons and no playoff wins when he did get us there.

  38. BamBamBuc Says:

    Buc You, see the post above for one reason Gruden was fired. The other is that he refused to develop young talent. They spent no effort evaluating talent because he would rather have aged veterans.

    As for “Can Morris get the team to the playoffs? Can he win a playoff game?” Well, we don’t know that yet, and probalby won’t know til next year. How long should he be given to show he can get us there? Well, that’s the real question. If the owners see improvement in the team, he should be kept another year. They may see improvement this year as “beating teams we should beat”. Doing the same thing next year won’t be improvement next year. Next year it will be beating teams we weren’t supposed to beat, making the playoffs.

    Two years is only a small sampling of a coaches ability, but if signs are positive, you stick with it. Many other coaches have been given many more years and never won a playoff game. I won’t be one to say Gruden won with Dungy’s team, he was the coach, it was his team. But take away that one, first, year as a coach, Gruden never won a playoff game since. Not in 6 years. If we can give him 6 years to recapture what possibly was a first year fluke, we can give Morris more than 2 years to totally rebuild a team from the ground up with draft picks and undrafted rookie free agents.

  39. Hawaiian Buc Says:

    Great post BamBam, I agree with every word. The haters always trying to compare Gruden’t failures to Raheem’s, but the ironic thing is that they are not giving Raheem the same chance. Gruden got 7 years, but they wanted Raheem gone after one year (after the team was dismantled no less). Even after dramatic improvement, they still want him gone. Unbelievable. I was incredibly sad and disappointed by the loss yesterday, but I’m intelligent enough to see that it doesn’t mean the team stinks and we should blow the whole thing up. Regardless, they are never going to change their mind, because their minds are too simple. It’s so funny to me that they think they are correct, and 99% of the experts and fans are wrong. You can’t find one credible source that says Raheem is not doing a good job, yet they think they are so knowledgeable that they know more than them.

  40. Hawaiian Buc Says:

    I was wondering why Eric is not responding, but now I realize why. Gruden is on MNF, and he is fantasizing about them walking on the beach holding hands.

  41. eric Says:

    Gruden did a bad job because he “only got us to the Playoffs”. (ignoring the Super Bowl Championship as usual among Gruden Haters).

    But, of course, everyone is giddy over Rah and his team was just effectively eliminated from the playoffs.

    11 years HC in this league. Six Division Titles, a conference championship, and a Super Bowl.

    And Rah has done what again? Oh thats right, beat the 1-11 Panthers twice. And the mighty Bengals, Cards, Browns, 49ers and the signature Ram win.

    Mississippi State coulda won seven games with this schedule.

  42. BamBamBuc Says:

    Your prediction of Missippi State is more generous than your prediction of our Bucs, and probably equally as wrong.

    I have already said I’ll credit Gruden with taking a very good team and “getting them over the hump” to win the Super Bowl. I won’t take that away from him. But I also won’t forgive him for taking that very good team and turning it into one of the most consistently inconsistent teams in the NFL. From first to worst every other year, and no playoff wins with “his” teams. I only clarify “his” teams, because those last 6 years were teams he had the most say in who the players were. Those last 6 years he had all the time in the world to implement his “most incredible NFL offense in the whole world”. Yep, that’s right…. the same offense that was consistently in the bottom half of the league. Oh wait…. I’ll give him the one good year of offense he had. Out of 7.

  43. Hawaiian Buc Says:

    This aint college dumb arse. You really don’t get that. The 2 playoff berths we got after the Super Bowl were due to easy schedules too, if you really want to go there. First of all, I am not a Gruden hater. I think he is a great coach, but an incredibly poor judge of talent and developer of talent. That’s barely a point anyone can argue. That is why he got fired, why don’t you get it? I keep asking this, you keep ignoring it. Are you 4 years old and you can’t comprehend questions? Are you mentally challenged? If so, I apologize.

    What has Rah done? Let’s see, he has infused us with young talent, including a franchise QB (which has never been accomplished in Tampa). He has built a team from the ground up in one year (Gruden didn’t win with Dungy’s team, but he by no means built it either). He actually won a game west of the Mississippi, THREE TIMES! I recall getting our brains beat in every time we went to California. Is it worthy of giving him a lifetime achievement award, no, but it is worth of giving him more time to develop this team, as well as respect.

  44. Hawaiian Buc Says:

    So you think Mississippi State could beat those teams. Ask yourself this, could the Florida Tuskers? Because if we still had Gruden, that’s exactly what our team would look like.

  45. Buc You Says:

    Rah is so meh.

    His defense is like DOH! 30 pts a game?

    So, when Rah gets let go, will ESPN ask him to be on Monday Night Football?

    Rah won’t last, because he would have to do a better job next year than this… And this year he had the easy schedule and all the luck in the world on his side. Next season, the media will destroy him for underperforming.

    Poor guy has such a short leash. But that’s life when you aren’t even supposed to have been gifted a head coaching job.

  46. Hawaiian Buc Says:

    Nice stat, Buc You. Too bad it is like totally inaccurate. It’s 20 points per game genius, tied with the New York Giants. Again, if you are going to argue a point, at least know what you are talking about.

  47. Hawaiian Buc Says:

    Also, FYI, we are in the top half of the league in virtually every defensive category, with the exception of rushing yard allowed (which we have been climbing out of each week).

  48. eric Says:

    Well Rah has had two seasons now, no playoffs.

    When will the man have anything for his trophy case?

    Only one coach in Buccaneer history has the Lombardi trophy in his, and it sure as hell aint Raheem Morris.

  49. Hawaiian Buc Says:

    Season aint over yet, number one. I’m not going to repeat myself again, it’s becoming irritating. You apparently are mentally challenged, so I’m just going to leave you alone.

  50. Ravelston Says:

    Would I be right to say that, in 2003 and 2004, with a Superbowl winning team, Gruden won a total of 12 games? That doesn’t seem a whole lot better than Coach Morris winning 10 (so far) with a team of rookies. Also, after the Superbowl, wasn’t Gruden 5 games below .500 over six seasons? I think the objective at this point is to build a team that can be a consistent winner – Gruden clearly wasn’t capable of doing that (in Tampa at least). My guess is that that was why he was fired.

  51. eric Says:

    Yeah that is the company line all right.

    Patiently waiting for it to happen.

    Any coach is gonna have down years, including Bellichick, parcells.

    The overall body of work of six division titles in eleven years and a Super Bowl is very good, to any fair minded thinker who does not have a grudge.

  52. Hawaiian Buc Says:

    We get it, he’s the best to ever grace the sidelines. It’s Lombardi, Walsh, and Gruden. But guess what, he’s gone. Get over it. Move on with your life.