Exactly Why The Bucs Are Losing The Division Tiebreaker To The Falcons

December 12th, 2016
Painful reminder

Painful reminder

Deep in the intestines of NFL division tiebreaker rules lies the reason why the Bucs are now in second place, despite being tied with the Falcons at 8-5 atop the NFC South.

The first division tiebreaker is head-to-head games. The Bucs split with Atlanta.

The next tiebreaker is division record. The teams are tied there.

And next is record against common, aka shared, opponents.

Right now, Atlanta has a 6-3 record versus teams the Bucs played. The Falcons’ wins were against Oakland, L.A., New Orleans, Carolina, Denver and Arizona. Tampa Bay is 5-4 against teams Atlanta played, with wins against Kansas City, New Orleans, Carolina, Seattle and San Diego.

So there’s your difference. If the Bucs and Falcons win out to close the season, then the Falcons win the division.

Atlanta has a relatively easy road with the 49ers at home on Sunday, followed by a trip to Carolina and a home game against the Saints to close the season.

Joe still can’t believe the Bucs lost that Rams game to Case Keenum, Mark Barron and friends. America’s Quarterback, Jameis Winston, was not sharp when it counted and the Bucs defense was unrecognizable compared to what it is now.

The Rams scored 37 points that September day. Since then, they’ve only scored 20 or more twice.

40 Responses to “Exactly Why The Bucs Are Losing The Division Tiebreaker To The Falcons”

  1. Big Mo Says:

    I’ll take us and the Falcons winning out to close the season. Gimmie all of that.

  2. OneLove Says:

    I don’t know what it is, but for the last few years Jeff Fischer ALWAYS seems to have our number! I hope we play them against next year!!!

  3. OrlandoBucs Says:

    The Saints and Carolina can beat Atlanta. I expect them to lose 1 or 2 of those games.

  4. Tom Edrington Says:

    If the Bucs and Falcons finish with the same record, Bucs should earn a playoff spot as a wild card, anyway, it’s awesome to see meaningful Buc football in December.

  5. Lamarcus Says:

    Yep. As I thot those games earlier in the year would come back to haunt us but who can beat us now? Nobody

  6. tmaxcon Says:

    Falcons are going to blow one. Doubt we will get any help from Saints though. Got to hope San Fran and Carolina steal one.

  7. Tampa Tony Says:

    @Onelove- only way the Bucs play the Rams is if the Bucs finish in last

    2017 opponents
    AFC East (Patriots and Jets at home)
    NFC North(Bears and Lions at home)
    2nd place NFC East team
    2nd place NFC West team

    Rams game is gonna haunt this team all off season

  8. Waterboy Says:

    Not making excuses but I knew that once they came back from the hour rain delay that the Bucs would lose. They had momentum and the Rams defense was tired but that delay gave the Rams a chance to rest and regroup.

  9. 813bucboi Says:

    @Orlandobucs…I agree…cam and brees always play atl tough….I think cam will beat atl at home in a couple of weeks….GO BUCS!!!!

  10. Couch Fan Says:

    Bucs just need to keep winning. Focus on Dallas. If we lose any of the next 3 games we dont deserve to win the division anyways. Its the Falcons, they are inevitably going to blow it and when they do, as long as we win, the division is ours.

  11. DrummerJim Says:

    The word “conference” in the third paragraph should be changed to “division”.

    The rankings with a two team division race go:
    1. Head to head
    2. Division record
    3. Common games
    4. Conference record
    5. Strength of victory (whatever that means)


  12. Espo Says:

    Those early season games are coming back to haunt us. Our defense was still figuring it out and Aguayo kept us in bad spots.

  13. NutterBuccer Says:

    Been saying all year long that Rams game was gonna screw us…but gotta keep winning….how the hell did we lost to the Rams lol this definitely isn’t the same team would blow them out of we played today.

  14. Buccaneer scotty Says:

    We have to win out ! We have to many teams on our tail playing good ball !

  15. Pawel Says:

    Funny thing is of out the last 3 games if Bucs lose to Cowboys and Falcons lose to Saints or Carolina, we are winning the division.

  16. zwak Says:

    Inner conference games are always played tough, lets hope Atlanta lose one..

  17. celly Says:


    The second tie breaker is is best won-lost-tied percentage in games played within the division.

    Conference games are the 4th tiebreaker.

    NFL Tiebreaking Procedures

    Two Clubs

    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. Strength of schedule.
    7. Best combined ranking among conference teams in points scored and points allowed.
    8. Best combined ranking among all teams in points scored and points allowed.
    9. Best net points in common games.
    10. Best net points in all games.
    11. Best net touchdowns in all games.
    12. Coin toss

  18. Trevor Says:

    Not just the Rams loss which was a bad loss to a bad team, but we were 1 “hey jude” holding call away from beating the raiders. “hey jude’s” stupid penalty on 4th down gave the raiders new life, the hold was away from play too making it that much more infuriating.

  19. DraftJameis Says:

    Think if we go 2-1 we’ll be in the playoffs. But if we lose this Dallas game, I’m going to be extremely nervous going into the Superdome…

  20. Warrenfb12 Says:

    The more I see and hear, the more I think 10-6 won’t do it for the Bucs. They need to win out to get in. With Green Bay warming up, and Washington finding a way to win, Bucs won’t make it with a loss in any of the next three.

  21. firethecannons Says:

    That Rams game was also lost by the kicker Aguayo.

  22. Buccaneer Bonzai Says:

    I said it before the season started. The team would need until after the bye week to develop and start gelling.

    If we win out, we would still make the playoffs…and I suspect we would have the opportunity to prove we are better than the Falcons once we get into the playoffs.

    If we do make the playoffs, I want to win at least one game. Otherwise it’s a waste in my opinion.

  23. Defense Rules Says:

    Can’t help but wonder sometimes why folks will label an opponent as a ‘bad team’. If they beat you, they’re a better team than you are … that day. Also have to chuckle at folks who bemoan losses earlier in the season without putting those losses in perspective. Example: Bucs-Rams game … Bucs missed a FG & an extra point kick that day plus twice failed to convert on 2-point tries after scoring TDs. Rams had a good rushing attack and stressed that to good advantage. Case Keenum wasn’t awesome, but he did manage to throw 2 very long TDs (43 yds & 44 yds). And oh ya, Bucs were without Ayers (injured) and Noah Spence only played 12 snaps so our pass rush wasn’t what everyone saw yesterday against the Saints, nor was the secondary communication what it is today.

    Still remember an old saying I was taught many years ago … ‘You are where you are’. Sounds obvious I know, but looking backwards accomplishes little (once you’ve learned from that experience). Bucs defense particularly has learned their lessons very well this year, thanks to Smitty & some outstanding position coaches. But it often seems that the most level-headed folks after Bucs wins are (1) Coach Koetter; and (2) Jameis Winston. And they both stress the same thing: ‘One game at a time’.

  24. Buccaneer Bonzai Says:


    No it wasn’t.

  25. softastissueMcCoy93 Says:

    Bucs Lost to Rams 3 years in a damn row!

  26. Dave Says:

    I thought the rams were the best bet to beat ATL. SF has been playing better, if they can best ATL, it equals out the w-l vs common opponents. After that it goes to strength of victories which still favors ATL unless the bucs beat Dallas.

    Regardless, just keep winning!!!
    And pleeeeeeease get the offense going on the second half!!!
    As games go on, the defense keeps getting better as the offense keeps getting worse

  27. Tony Says:

    One game at a time, folks. Looking ahead is what losing teams do.

    Plus – you simply can’t say the Bucs are haunted by earlier season losses. That’s so narrow sighted and is not how life actually works… the Bucs are the team they are right now BECAUSE they lost to the Rams, BECAUSE they gave the game away against the Raiders, BECAUSE the Falcons destroyed them on a Thursday night. That’s what made them look in the mirror, that’s what made the media question whether Jameis was a winner, that’s what led to Jameis’ letter and the players decide to buy all in on the system and each other… and THAT’s what gave them the bad tape to learn from, to see what wasn’t working and why.

    These guys are in a brand new defensive system – which takes time to learn and hone. Same with being under the guidance under a new head coach who had never been an NFL head coach before. Those early season potholes were an absolute necessity for the Bucs to be the team they are right now.

    This Sunday night we will all absolutely know if the Bucs are ready or still just one offseason away. My bet is that they are ready and will see that even the best team in the conference is nothing they can’t overcome.

  28. Tbbucs3 Says:

    I think it’s no coincidence that the defense improved when “hey Jude” is not on the field.

  29. Mikeck Says:

    Meh….it comes down to this. If the Bucs win the next 3, they are in the playoffs. It’s that simple. Win your in.

  30. Jim Says:

    @ Dave, thanks for acknowledging that, in this winning streak, it’s the Bucs defense that is playing at an elite level, while the offense has been mediocre…

  31. BuccoBruce76 Says:

    The Bucs are 6-4 against common opponents. They beat Carolina, NO, KC, SD, Seattle and SF. Lost to Oakland, Denver, LA and Arizona.

  32. cmurda Says:

    Ladies and gents. Forget about the Rams game. Complaining about it now does us no good. The fact of the matter is winning our next 3 games or in my opinion even 2 out of the next 3 games gets us in. All that matters is making the playoffs. Sure, we all would love the #2 seed etc but I’ll happily take the #6 seed. The Cowboys are beatable even in their house and we obviously know we can beat the Saints and Carolina at home. None of those 3 will come easily. There is still work to do but this team has proven it has come together and is willing to win by any means necessary.

  33. feelthepewterpower Says:

    Common games won’t matter nor the Dallas game will matter if the Buccs win the final two division games and Atlanta loses one of their two remaining division games.

  34. Trubucfan22 Says:

    I remember the rams hadn’t scored a TD until they faced the bucs. The Bucs defense let them score their first 4 (?) TDs of the season. I remember being embarassed. Im glad the defense made the turn around they did. But man if only they had it together to start the season, we could be way ahead of ATL for this division.

  35. Buccfan37 Says:

    I get the sense Atlanta will win out. They will outscore their last three opponents and win the first playoff team they face.

  36. Jerry Says:

    We need upsets to win the division. But considering the Bucs play quite well on the road, a wild card wouldnt be too bad.

  37. Kevin Says:

    Im not even thinking about winning out yet, we gotta beat dallas first then ill talk about it

  38. 98bucsfan Says:

    If we played them now I can see us beating the raiders, cardinals and rams easy. And if we both win out we still make playoffs. Let’s just focus on the task at hand. The cowgirls

  39. pick6 Says:

    bucs are 5-1 on the road so far. being a wildcard shouldn’t scare them

    although they’re 3-4 at home, they’re 3-0 since the bears came to town.

    just want them in the tournament, they can figure it out from there

  40. R West Says:

    Much, much better to win the division. Wild card is much tougher. Play on the road, maybe in freezing weather up north … that’s not good at all!