Playoffs Are No Punch Line

November 21st, 2016


Tampa Bay’s only Pro Football Hall of Fame voter, eye-RAH! Kaufman, writes today about what’s on everyone’s mind from Lakeland to Largo, from bartenders to Black Friday shoppers. Playoffs!


We’ve been here before.

Buc fans thought they were poised on the brink of a playoff chase last Dec. 6 after a 23-19 victory against Atlanta improved Tampa Bay to 6-6. Not even Lovie Smith’s loudest detractors expected he would be out of a job one month later.

Dirk Koetter, only 10 games into his NFL head coaching career, is surely safe no matter what happens in the next six weeks. But here we are again, thinking about the possibility of ending a postseason drought that stretches back to 2007.

Why shouldn’t we?

The NFL standings shout out that the Bucs are in this race, even if players, coaches and ownership have taken a solemn oath to refrain from mentioning the word “playoffs.”

We are under no such restrictions here at JoeBucsFan.

Only seven NFC teams top Tampa Bay’s 5-5 mark and the Bucs are just one game behind first-place Atlanta in the NFC South.

Those are the cold, hard facts.

Besting The Browns

But when the Bucs faded down the stretch in 2015, we were painfully reminded how inept this franchise has been when it comes to closing time.

Once the calendar flips to December, the Bucs are 11-37 in the past decade.

That’s the worst record in the league in that span. Yes, even worse than the 12-36 Cleveland Browns.

Here’s a quick look at the current competition.

Coming off a bye, the Falcons will be difficult to unseat. They play four of their final six games at home and the road matchups at Los Angeles and Carolina don’t appear to be overly formidable.

Atlanta and Tampa Bay split the season series and the Falcons are 3-1 within the division, compared to 2-1 for the Bucs.

The wild-card scenario is filled with promise — if the Bucs do their part by dropping only one more game the rest of the way.

The Race To 10

Raheem Morris is right … it’s a race to 10. If the Bucs finish 10-6, I like their chances.

The Redskins, so impressive Sunday night against Green Bay, now hit the road for a three-game swing that begins Thanksgiving Day in Dallas. Let’s see where they stand when they return home to face the Panthers on a Monday night.

The Giants are looking good at 7-3, with a breather at Cleveland coming up, but the Browns are the only remaining New York opponent with a losing record.

In the NFC North, the Lions still have road games with the Saints, Giants and Cowboys. Minnesota, which just snapped a four-game losing skid, now faces the Lions and Cowboys in back-to-back Thursday matchups.

Last year’s Buccaneer collapse was hard to stomach, but not difficult to dissect. While closing with four losses, Tampa Bay was minus-6 on the turnover table as opposing passers completed 77 percent of their throws.

Dirk Koetter was an eyewitness to the carnage as offensive coordinator, and now he’s got something going for himself with four wins in the past six games.

Here comes Seattle, arguably the NFC’s best bet to reach the Super Bowl. The Seahawks are favored by a touchdown, and they should be, but the Bucs just knocked off a heavily favored Chiefs team on the road.

An upset victory Sunday would vault the Bucs into the national conversation. The local whispers have already started.

Embrace the moment.

21 Responses to “Playoffs Are No Punch Line”

  1. Doctor Stroud Says:

    A cautionary tale, Mr. Kaufman! Thank you for making these points. Let’s focus on filling the stadium next week with Bucs fans.

  2. ElioT Says:

    Embrace indeed!

    Everyone in that locker room should have a laser focus on the Seahawks.

    This is the game that will separate the men from the boys.

    They should all be foaming at the mouth waiting to get back to RayJay and put one on Carroll and his band of punks.

    Go Bucs!

  3. Negative Jeff Says:

    Full on Wood if they beat the Seahawks next week.

  4. JonBuc Says:

    A division title seems more plausible than a wild card birth given the strength of the NFC East…who may have 3 playoff teams this season.

  5. The bucfan 88 Says:

    Shout out to mike smith he’s doing a great job with this defense

  6. Pickgrin Says:

    It usually takes 11 wins to guarantee a wild card play off spot. 10 wins is iffy.

    Winning the division is our best chance at playoffs so the Bucs better win at least 4 games out of the next 6 (including all remaining division games) and also hope that Atlanta loses 3 out of 6 (including at least 1 more division loss).

    In other words – Its still a long shot at this point…

  7. flmike Says:

    I have a feeling even though it’s Victory Monday, One Buc place is not empty today.

  8. BigPoppaBuc Says:

    Buc fans have been desperate for a big win at home. If we take down the Seahawks at Ray Jay, the fan base will be instantly energized. Sunday will be the biggest home game the Bucs have had since that tough Atlanta loss back in the Raheem days. You can tell Koetter is desperate to get the fans behind this team. And we need to. It may be exactly what they need to finish turning the proverbial corner. The players are starting to believe… It’s time for the fans to do the same.

  9. Bird Says:

    PLAYOFFS. WE talking about playoffs?

  10. Tampa Tony Says:

    Fingers are crossed for a rash of Seattle injuries

  11. Doctor Stroud Says:

    At JW’s press conference: “Man, the crowd noise was amazing,” Winston gushed. “Every third down, they did an ‘Nole-chant’ and I was so pumped up, it really made me feel at home.” Should we start doing this at home games?

  12. Mike Johnson Says:

    Embrace the moment? Come on Ira!! Like you say, we’ve been down this road far to many a time. To many in fact for get my hopes up. Nope..sell it somewhere else. I’m not jumpin on this hype..this hope train just yet. But you got one thing right Ira..Wanna really get people talkin? Beat Seattle come Sunday. Now that’s a start to have that optimism. But I’ve gotten me hopes up many times over the yrs only to be..slammed down..and hard. Right now? I’ll settle for us braking even for the season…IF..we can! Show us some consistency Bucs. Stop see sawing and being..wavy gravy. Play as hard as you played against KC and the Bears the rest of the way. Then maybe..we can start talking playoffs.

  13. Buc1987 Says:

    I don’t think they’ll make the playoffs.

    I still like saying the words maybe and if at this time of the year though.

    It’s actually quite nice and it’s been a long while.

  14. Buc1987 Says:

    If they beat Seattle at RJS.

    That place is going to explode like the 4th of July.

  15. Phred Says:

    Bucs are not making the playoffs this year. If you think they are, you’re setting yourself up for a huge disappointment.

    Instead, take great pride in the strides they have made this year and the slowly changing locker room mentality from perennial cellar dwellers to a winning mindset.

    Next year they’ll have the juice to make a serious run at the playoffs.

  16. DB55 Says:

    Playoffs is crazy talk but winning the division is not that far fetched. Improbable but definitely possible. But what do I know?

  17. WhatdaBUCisthis Says:

    Like another poster on here in another thread said as a Gator fan he would proudly give #3 the FSU war chant (a true BUCS fan) to get em hyped. As we should Gator chomp for #28 all the same. LET’S GO TAMPA!!!!!!!!!!
    This is our house!
    We must protect this house!
    C’mon BUCS

  18. WhatdaBUCisthis Says:

    How is playoff talk crazy and yet winning the division isn’t far fetched again?
    Your statement makes no sense to me

  19. Bucnut2 Says:

    Yes, we can make the playoffs, but this is not a playoff caliber team. That is a cold, hard fact. So forget it Bucs fans, we are not that good.

  20. ChanEpic Says:

    2 more wins and I consider this season a moderate success. We’re progressing that’s pretty evident now and I love it.

  21. IsrBuc Says:

    We should be happy to get 3 more wins. ATL schedule is much easier, I don’t think we can catch up.