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Buccaneers Enter Week 14 With Big Playoff Implications on the Horizon

A couple scenarios could lead the Bucs to having the NFC's No. 1 seed after Week 14. But they have to take care of business, first.

Don't tell Bruce Arians, but the Buccaneers have a chance to take over the NFC's No. 1 seed this weekend with a win and a little bit of help.

"Yeah, we don't really talk about it," Arians told reporters Monday when asked about running the table the rest of the way and how important home-field advantage will be in the playoffs. "You start thinking about January you're going to get your ass beat and you'll be playing on the road for sure. It's just taking care of every day's business. The only thing we can do is take care of Wednesday's practice and Wednesday's meetings. One day at a time – we’ll add them all up at the end. Everybody knows how important that is. We're sitting at the No. 3 seed right now and each win, each game, really matters. And it's fun."

While BA is 100% correct, we as viewers can still have some fun and talk about it. So let's do just that.

It won't be easy, but if the Bucs do in fact take care of business against the Bills on Sunday, then all they need is a loss from the New Orleans Saints and the Carolina Panthers to become NFC South champs for the first time since 2007. 

The Saints play the New York Jets in New York this weekend and the Panthers play the Atlanta Falcons at home, so there's a good chance both teams win their respective matchups this week. If that happens, then the Bucs can officially wrap up the division in Week 15 with a win against Buffalo this week and a win against the Saints in Tampa Bay in Week 15. 

In terms of the big playoff picture, the Bucs are currently sitting at No. 3 in the NFC behind the Green Bay Packers and Arizona Cardinals. An ideal scenario for the Bucs in Week 14 would be for both teams to lose and the Bucs win, obviously.

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Would that change anything?

The Packers would drop to 9-4 on the year with a loss to the Bears in Week 14, which means the Bucs would jump them for the No. 2 seed simply based off having a better record.

Tampa Bay does have a shot to jump up to the NFC's No. 1 playoff seed this weekend if the Cardinals and Packers both lose (and the Bucs win). The Packers would drop to No. 3 with a 9-4 record and the Bucs and Cards would go through the NFL's tiebreaking procedure(s) at 10-3 apiece. The Bucs would have a better conference record (7-3 compared to Arizona's 6-3), therefore, they'd pass the Cardinals for the No. 1 seed in the NFC.

But this is all assuming the Bucs beat the Bills this weekend. That has to happen before any of this becomes even a slight possibility. Just as Arians said, the Bucs have to take care of their own business before everything else starts falling their way.

Main photo credit: John A. Babiak/@Photog_JohnB

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