On Sunday, the Buccaneers dropped, 24-17, to the Saints at Raymond James Stadium. The Bucs would usually spend Monday watching film and have Tuesday off but with a game against the Rams just days away, the team must begin preparing almost immediately.
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Following a particularly difficult loss that has hurt the Bucs' playoff chances, a short week might be a blessing in disguise.
"The good news is we have a game Thursday, so it's a quick turn around," quarterback Jameis Winston said following Sunday's loss. "We definitely have a chance to redeem ourselves."
As far as on-the-field work, the Bucs will be limited. The team will be working on Monday and Tuesday, but that's it. On Wednesday, the Bucs will fly out to St. Louis and on Thursday, the two teams will kick off at 8:25 p.m., EST. Head Coach Lovie Smith echoed a similar sentiment as Winston about the Bucs' short week.
"Quick turnaround," Smith said. "When you play like that you want to get back on the field as soon as possible. We get our wish with the Thursday night game, but it's about us winning a game. It's about us playing better when we have an opportunity to win a football game."
The Rams are preparing for a short week as well, but under different circumstances. St. Louis won last week, defeating Detroit, 21-14. And the Rams were at home in Week 14, so there will be no travel required for Thursday's game. At 5-8, the Rams' playoff chances are slim. They are currently projected as the NFC's 11th seed.
The Buccaneers can still make the playoffs, but they will need some help. They need to win, at the very least, two of their final three games. Even if the Bucs will all three, they will need some help from the Seahawks and Vikings. But as Coach Smith has reiterated the past few weeks, this week, and this building, are the only things that the Buccaneers are focused on.