I know it’s early. I know it’s probably silly to talk about playoffs right now but just so you know, through the first five weeks of the season, the Bucs are a six-seed. NFL.com says so. That would be good enough as of now to reach the Wildcard Round of the postseason and it would be a rematch of a game the Bucs would very much like back against the Chicago Bears.
A redemption game of sorts.
It was the last game the Bucs played since they had their bye week this past weekend and it left a bad taste in the mouths of the team and Bucs fans alike. At the end of the day though, the fact that the Bucs would be a Wildcard team should bring the reality of Tampa Bay’s season back into focus: they’re 2-2. More than that, they’re 1-0 in what still looks to be the toughest division in the NFL. Most power rankings have the New Orleans Saints positioned at number three with the Carolina Panthers just a few spots behind them. Need I remind you that it was a win on the road in the Superdome against the Saints that got the Bucs that 1-0 division record.
The Bucs haven’t been to the playoffs since the 2007 season where they lost in the Wildcard Round after going 9-7 that year. Considering the division they are in this season, a 9-7 record may not cut it, meaning the Bucs are going to have to reach double-digit wins. However, an updated strength of schedule prediction from ESPN.com has the Bucs’ remaining 12 games ranked in the middle of the pack for toughness. That’s good news considering going into the season, the Bucs were thought to have one of the toughest 2018 schedules period. This translates into the fact that the Bucs have winnable games coming up and they’ve already got two under their belt.
The Panthers would join the Bucs in the Wildcard Round as well, with the Saints locking up the Divisional Round as the second seed of this year’s playoff outlook. Of course, these rounds don’t take place until January, but if you want to look at the full would-be playoff picture, see here.