It's impossible to call the Buccaneers' 2021 season anything but a success.
Multiple franchise records were broken, including the most wins in a regular season. The Bucs earned the NFC's No. 2 playoff seed, which is the only the second time they've accomplished that and it's the first time they've had the No. 2 seed since they won Super Bowl XXXVII back in 2002. And they are NFC South champs for the first time since 2007.
As great as all that may be, it's time to throw it all out of the window. For now, at least.
This is because none of that matters anymore. The playoffs are here. Everyone is 0-0 entering this weekend and they're starting with a clean slate.
Franchise records don't win playoff games.
But before we officially drop the regular season and dip into the postseason, let's check out where the Bucs landed on Sports Illustrated's final power rankings for the 2021 regular season.
The Bucs finished tied with the Buffalo Bills for the third-best team in the NFL. The final rankings were assembled by the entire Monday Morning Quarterback Crew, so it's a collective of opinions rather than one person dictating things.
This is what the MMQB staff had to say about the Bucs' 2021 regular season:
T-3. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (13–4)
Points in poll: 174
Highest-place vote: 2 (1 vote)
Lowest-place vote: 6 (1 vote)
Next week: vs. Eagles
The defending champs are banged up, but still dangerous as they head into the playoffs. Would anyone be surprised if Tom Brady won a ridiculous eighth Super Bowl ring?
First off, no one likes a tie. Secondly, t's rather interesting to see the Bucs tied with a team they beat a little over a month ago. And while both teams haven't really beaten anyone special since, one would think the Bucs hold the edge over the Bills.
But I digress. A top-3 (or 4, technically) is quite the feat, no matter what team it is. SI also ranked the Bucs as the No. 3 team coming into 2021, so the defending champs were not only good, but consistent, as well.
This week's opponent, the Eagles, finished at No. 13 in the final poll. Just like the Bucs, it's impossible to deem the Eagles' season anything but a success. Nick Sirianni did a heck of a job in Year One with this team. More importantly, he helped Philly establish identities on both sides of the ball as the team finished 7-3 and clinched a playoff berth.
13. Philadelphia Eagles (9–8)
Points in poll: 117
Highest-place vote: 10 (1 vote)
Lowest-place vote: 16 (1 vote)
Next week: at Buccaneers
Nick Sirianni is the only rookie head coach who took his team to the playoffs this season. The reward is a trip to Tampa to face the defending champs. But whatever happens, this season has been a success.
It's a shame that someone's season has to end this weekend, but that's just how it goes. The Bucs are currently 8.5-point favorites, per SI Sportbook, so right now, it looks like it'll be the Eagles that will pack it up and go home after Sunday.
But as we all know, anything can happen in the playoffs.
You can check out SI's full power rankings, here.
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