Last night, Cam Newton had a bit of a renaissance with the Carolina Panthers win over the Washington Redskins. Rather than suffer another sub 200 yard effort, Newton hit the 300 yard mark, saw running back Jonathan Stewart run for 132 yards on 25 carries all while holding Washington to 15 points, as the Cats had a 2015-esque win which was a sweet win for the Bucs as well.
Washington’s half game advantage in the Wild Card was premature as the loss gave Tampa Bay its spot back as the Wild Card #6 spot and somewhat in control of its destiny. Currently the Bucs are IN the 6th seed, but the loss to the Cowboys needs to be their last of the year if they want to see a post season invitation. Depending which site you go to, you’ll see Green Bay or Tampa Bay in the 6th spot. According to NFL.com’s tie breaking procedures (listed below) The BUCS have an advantage OVER Green Bay based on common opponents, as both teams are 6-4 in conference play.
Now a full game behind Atlanta, the Bucs may have lost the chance to get into the playoffs the division path. If you think theres little difference, the division winner may not get a bye, but at least your guaranteed a home game in the first week. Tampa Bay may not even want that benefit, as this current Bucs team are road warriors going to other stadiums and walking onto the field like its theirs.
How good are the Bucs on the road in 2016? In the NFC, every other team in the CONFERENCE has a losing record on the road except two teams; Atlanta and the Bucs are 5-2. Dallas is 6-1 so they’ve suffered one loss Home and Away; to the Giants belong both.
Do the Bucs control their destiny though? That question is hard to answer right now, they did before the loss to the Cowboys. While they are currently in the 6th seed with the tiebreaker in their favor over Green Bay, the Packers are not settling for a Wild Card spot as they WANT to play at home in January at freezing Lambeau Field. Detroit has the division lead right now, but they have to play at Dallas next week while Green Bay hosts sinking Minnesota. That sets up a winner take all divisional showdown in week 17 that is sure to get flexed to Sunday Night Football.
If Detroit is the Wild Card team the Bucs are going up against for the wildcard, its too soon to tell who would get the advantage. Detroit has a 7-3 Conference record to Bucs 6-4, but if Detroit is going up against the Bucs in the wildcard spot, it would have lost to Dallas thus giving it a 7-4 record, waiting to see what happens with Tampa Bay at New Orleans.
Atlanta plays at Carolina in a possible score fest this week, and as Washington will attest, Carolina is not rolling over. After that Tampa hosts the Panthers. The best bet for Bucs?
And you give yourself the best bet to get in.
WHO TO ROOT FOR:
Depends.. if the Bucs win out the rest of the way, root for Detroit to lose to Dallas and Green Bay; Packers take division, Lions
TO BREAK A TIE FOR THE WILD-CARD TEAM
If it is necessary to break ties to determine the two Wild-Card clubs from each conference, the following steps will be taken.
- If the tied clubs are from the same division, apply division tie breaker.
- If the tied clubs are from different divisions, apply the following steps.
- Head-to-head, if applicable.
- Best won-lost-tied percentage in games played within the conference.
- Best won-lost-tied percentage in common games, minimum of four.
- Strength of victory.
- Strength of schedule.
- Best combined ranking among conference teams in points scored and points allowed.
- Best combined ranking among all teams in points scored and points allowed.
- Best net points in conference games.
- Best net points in all games.
- Best net touchdowns in all games.
- Coin toss.