Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Bucs Have Two Paths to the Playoffs in Week 16

Tampa Bay could have their postseason ticket punched by mid-afternoon on Saturday, but even if that doesn't happen they could still get it on Sunday


Three teams have already qualified for the 2020 NFC playoff field and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are first in line to have a chance to join them.

The Buccaneers head to Detroit in Week 16 for the first of three games to be played on Saturday, with kickoff scheduled for 1:00 p.m. Tampa Bay will become the fourth NFC team to qualify for the playoffs if they beat the Lions and get their 10th win. The Buccaneer currently hold the sixth seed in the conference field and, of the teams behind them in the standings, only the seventh-seeded Arizona Cardinals can also reach 10 wins. On Saturday, a win is 10 and 10 is in.

Obviously, the Buccaneers want to extend their winning streak on Saturday and get into the playoffs on their own accord, but even a loss won't end their chances to clinch in Week 16. The 7-7 Chicago Bears play at the 1-13 Jacksonville Jaguars on Sunday at 1:00 p.m. and if the Jaguars pull off the upset they will also help their fellow Floridians.

A loss by Chicago would drop the Bears to 7-8 and max out their 2020 win total at eight. Since the Buccaneers already have nine wins and no other teams in the conference behind Chicago can get to nine, that would also clinch a spot for Tampa Bay.

Elsewhere in the NFC, Green Bay, New Orleans and Seattle have all clinched playoff spots. The Packers have already won the NFC North and can clinch the top seed and the only first-round bye with a win and a Seattle loss. The Cardinals and the Los Angeles Rams can also clinch playoffs spots this weekend, meaning the entire conference field – the seven teams, if not necessarily the order – can be set by the end of Sunday night. The scenarios mostly revolve around the Bears. The Rams can clinch by beating the Seahawks or with a loss by Chicago. The Cardinals need a win over San Francisco and a Bears loss to clinch. There are other scenarios for each team involving tied games but they are not worth worrying about given how unlikely a result that would be.