After an up and down year, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers clinched a playoff spot. They lost to every team that is close to playoff contention except for the Packers earlier in the season. The defense has looked spectacular against the bottom feeders in the NFL, and looked average at best against the better teams. With all that being said, they are in the postseason and slated to face the winner of the NFC East, which is the best any team could have hoped for.
They don’t know who they are playing because the division has not been won yet, but their options are very intriguing. They will face the Cowboys, Giants, or Washington to start off the postseason. This is a good way to start off a young team who is making their first playoff appearance in many years. The Bucs will get a team who even though they are on the road, they will be favored to win the game anyway. If Washington wins, they will give the toughest test to Tampa Bay due to their elite level pass rush. Chase Young may be in line to win Defensive Rookie of the Year, and who better to get your first ever playoff sack than against Tom Brady?
As for the game against the Lions, this was far from a barn burner. The game was essentially over before it started, because of the coaching issues in Detroit. They were down five coaches and the defense was called by a position coach. Not to mention, Brady has been playing against a similar defense daily in practice for the past 20 years in New England. Matthew Stafford got hurt on the first drive, and after that it was downhill quick. Brady did not play in the second half, because they were up 34-0 already.
This is the first time all year in which there are no critiques I have to offer. Tampa just needs to make sure that they stay healthy coming out of next week so that they can have a fully loaded roster for the NFC East winner. They won’t know who they play until the Sunday Night Football game is played between Washington and Philadelphia, so they will be on the edge of their seats like everyone else.