-The Buccaneers locked up the fifth seed in the NFC thanks to their win over Atlanta at home in the regular season finale. It meant that they would face the winner of the NFC East – who had yet to be determined by the time the Bucs concluded their game Sunday afternoon. It ended up being the Football Team in Washington, who as the winners of their division at 7-9 on the season, will host the Buccaneers at their place on Saturday night at 8:15 p.m. ET. Head Coach Bruce Arians made sure to say on Tuesday that the WFT's losing record doesn't mean the Bucs are underestimating them in the slightest.
"They've got a lot to lose," said Arians of Washington. "We don't see them as a 7-9 team, we see them as a 4-1 team because every time Alex Smith has played, they went 4-1 and had a plus-three turnover margin. It's a different team when Alex is playing and we know that. We're playing that 4-1 team, not that 7-9 team."
They also boast the league's second-ranked overall defense, allowing just 304.6 yards per game thanks in large part to their defensive front full of first-round picks, including this past year's second-overall pick in defensive end Chase Young.
"They're a really good defense and they're playing really, really [well] right now," said Bucs wide receiver Chris Godwin. "They have a really talented front seven and they really get after the quarterback, so I think as an offense it's going to be our job to make sure we control them. Make sure we're on our Ps and Qs with protection and make sure our routes are on point. If you allow them to really get after your quarterback and disrupt the game, they'll really do that."
The significance of the moment, while not a driving force, isn't lost on the Buccaneers either. Especially on those who have waited a really long time for this – like inside linebacker Lavonte David.
"Obviously, this can't be a normal game because it's sudden death, basically," said David on Tuesday. "If you lose, you're out. And if you win, you keep on moving forward. Our whole mindset is focus on us and forget about everything that happened the last 17 weeks. It's a new start. It doesn't matter [what] a team's record [is and] it doesn't matter how they got here. They're here, so they're going to give you their best and we should put our best out there. It's definitely going to be fun to be a part of – to feel the atmosphere, the intensity that being in the playoff brings. Definitely have to be able to focus on what we focus on and just try to end this thing with a victory Saturday night."
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