As many of you know by now, Tampa Bay’s winning streak ended last night, with the Dallas Cowboys beating them, 26-20. While moral victories are often ignored, it’s important to point out that the Bucs came within six points of defeating one of the best teams in the NFL right now.
Sometimes the development of an elite NFL team is not about wins or losses, but the experience gained in the process. I think they’ll learn from this and apply what they learned to use in the weeks ahead.
Playoff wise, Tampa Bay does not control its own destiny now. Winning their last two games (in New Orleans this Saturday afternoon, then at home against Carolina on New Year’s Day) gets them to 10-6. The Redskins can go to 10-5-1 (10.5 wins to Tampa’s 10) and make the playoffs should they win out. If the Bucs and Packers each win out tie at 10-6, the Packers currently own that tiebreaker, which likely would be the “strength of victory” criteria, combining the records of the teams the Bucs and Packers each defeated.
However, the Redskins have to play the Giants in two weeks, and the Packers have to beat the Vikings and Lions. So, there’s still hope. Even if the Bucs don’t make the “Super Bowl Tournament” this year, they are a team on the move, which is all local fans can hope for.