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Super Wild Card Weekend is upon us.

The children have gone home. It's only grown-ups, now, as the NFL's remaining 14 teams will battle it out in a win-or-go-home tournament for the ultimate prize: a Super Bowl ring.

The Bucs own the NFC's No. 2 seed, but as we all know, the playoffs are a different animal in terms of competition, so nothing will be easy for any team over these next five weeks.

For Tampa Bay, each NFC team poses a unique threat, so we at All Bucs thought it would be a good idea to rank each team based off which teams represent the biggest threat to the Bucs' chances at a repeat.

Criteria is obvious: How does the team matchup with Tampa? How have they been playing over the last few weeks? How much playoff experience do they have? Etc, etc, etc..

The rankings are also based off each team's current composition. It doesn't factor in the potential return of certain players from IR, the reserve/COVID-19 list, or just other injuries/types of returns to the field. Those players will get factored in upon their actual return to the team.

And that's because we will be doing a weekly post -as long as the Bucs are in the playoffs, of course- adjusting the rankings each week.

So, without further ado, let's dive in.


6. Philadelphia Eagles

Overall DVOA: 15th
Offensive DVOA: 11th
Defensive DVOA: 25th
Points for/allowed: 26.1 (12th) / 22.6 (18th)

The Eagles are a tough team to figure out heading into the playoffs. They went 7-3 to close out the season, but played some terrible teams and quarterbacks over the first nine games before getting blown out, 51-26, by the Cowboys in the season finale.

But at the same time, the Eagles rested several key players on both sides of the ball for that game, so we couldn't obtain a solid evaluation. 

The pieces are there to give the Bucs trouble. Todd Bowles' defense has struggled containing exotic rushing attacks and RPOs lately and that's the Eagles' bread and butter. Dallas Goedert has also emerged as one of the league's best tight ends over the last 10 games and if you've watched the Bucs, you know they struggle to contain opposing tight ends. DeVonta Smith has improved a lot, as well. 

The defense is a big question mark, however. On paper, the front four should be raking in all kinds of sack numbers, yet, the Eagles are second-to-last in total sacks and have the fifth-lowest sack rate on the year. The linebackers aren't very good, either. The secondary has some playmakers, but can be taken advantage of if the pass rush isn't getting home. 

And then there's the zero playoff experience factor among Jalen Hurts and Nick Sirianni. Of course, Sirianni went to the playoffs a couple times as the Colts offensive coordinator, but playing the role of head coach in the postseason is different. 

The Eagles won't be an easy matchup on Sunday, but they're certainly the least-threatening team among the remaining squads. That's not an insult, either. It's just how circumstances have played out.

5. Arizona Cardinals

Overall DVOA: 10th
Offensive DVOA: 15th
Defensive DVOA: 6th
Points for/allowed: 26.4 (11th) / 21.5 (t-9th)

The Cardinals looked like the NFL's best team for the first 10-11 games of the season, but things have somewhat-fallen apart since, much like last year. 

Kyler Murray is as dangerous as they come, but it remains to be seen how much help he'll have in the playoffs. DeAndre Hopkins is pretty much out for the rest of the year and James Conner and Chase Edmonds were both banged up in Week 18. Both players' statuses are up in the air at the time of this publication. 

The defense has been shaky, as well, giving up 22+ points or more in each of the last six games. J.J. Watt's return will certainly help with that, but it's still unclear as to when that will happen. The Cardinals are "hopeful" that he'll practice on Thursday, but his game status is still unknown as of Wednesday, so we can't factor him in at this exact moment. 

There's also no postseason experience between Kliff Kingsbury and Murray, but if the Cardinals can regain their previous form, they can beat anyone. Especially the Bucs.

Can Kyler Murray and Co. recapture the magic we saw over the first couple months of the season?

Can Kyler Murray and Co. recapture the magic we saw over the first couple months of the season?

4. Los Angeles Rams

Overall DVOA: 5th
Offensive DVOA: 8th
Defensive DVOA: 5th
Points for/allowed: 27.1 (7th) / 21.9 (15th)

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If Matthew Stafford hadn't thrown eight interceptions in the last four games (including one of his four pick-sixes on the year), then the Rams would easily be the No. 1 team on this list. The Bucs were dominated in L.A. back in Week 3 and Sean McVay has shown he can exploit Bowles' defense no matter who's at quarterback.

Plus, the Rams have added Odell Beckham Jr. and Von Miller to the team since then. Miller finished 2021 with 5.0 sacks in the last four games and Beckham Jr. caught two touchdowns in the final three games, so both players are getting hot at the right time.

Cam Akers has returned, as well, but his effectiveness remains to be seen in an official capacity. 

The Rams defensive backfield is a bit banged up, which hurts their stock a little, too. They lost defensive signal-caller and leading tackler Jordan Fuller for the year in Week 18. Darious Williams, the No. 2 corner, is having his shoulder evaluated this week, and Taylor Rapp is in concussion protocol.  

Overall, the Rams are simply a bad matchup for the Bucs. If I were the Bucs or their fans, I'd be rooting hard for both the Cowboys and the Rams to win their Super Wild Card matchups, because that would delay a Bucs-Rams matchup for at least one more week.

3. San Francisco 49ers

Overall DVOA: 6th
Offensive DVOA: 5th
Defensive DVOA: 7th
Points for/allowed: 25.1 (13th) / 21.5 (t-9th)

The 49ers are arguably the hottest team in the NFC. They went 8-3 to close out the season and have shown the type of resiliency and grit that aspiring Super Bowl teams must have in order to win playoff games.

They're rushing attack is varied and multiple and will straight-up punch you in the mouth without even thinking once about it. The defense has playmakers at all three levels in Nick Bosa, Fred Warner, and Jimmie Ward. Kyle Shanahan and Jimmy Garoppolo have also been to a Super Bowl together, so they know how to navigate the postseason.

But at the end of the day, Garoppolo is what keeps this team from placing itself in the top-2 of this list. The common (and accurate) theme around the league is the 49ers don't want to put the game in Garoppolo's hands. That's not to say he can't come up with a game-winning drive or anything like that. San Francisco just doesn't want -and can't endure- him being the focal point of the offense.

Like Stafford and the Rams, a question mark at quarterback can be a killer in the postseason and it could very well be what keeps San Fran from going on a run over the next few weeks.

2. Green Bay Packers

Overall DVOA: 9th
Offensive DVOA: 2nd
Defensive DVOA: 22nd
Points for/allowed: 26.5 (10) / 21.8 (t-13th)

It's probably a surprise to see the Packers at No. 2, here, but we're still waiting to see when Jaire Alexander and Z'Darius Smith return to the lineup. The Packers opened up the 21-day practice window for Alexander, but a stint on the reserve/COVID-19 list kept him out of the season finale. He should return for the Divisional Round. However, it's not as clear for Smith. 

The Packers defense still has plenty of guys to make life hard for the Bucs, even without those two, but as a whole, the unit is a bit untrustworthy at the moment. It can't stop the run and is very inconsistent when it comes to the pass. 

Of course, Aaron Rodgers, Davante Adams, and Aaron Jones help make up for that. David Bakhtiari is also back after tearing his ACL all the way back in Week 6 of 2020. Any time you return a top-2 left tackle to the lineup, it's a big deal.

But when comparing the Packers and Bucs, it's impossible to leave out the fact that Tampa Bay went to Green Bay last year and beat them. Without Antonio Brown and way-less-than-100% Vita Vea, too. And until we see otherwise, you've gotta think Tampa is capable of doing it again this year.

Can the Bucs shut down Aaron Rodgers and the Packers if the two teams meet up again?

Can the Bucs shut down Aaron Rodgers and the Packers if the two teams meet up again?

1. Dallas Cowboys

Overall DVOA: 1st
Offensive DVOA: 6th
Defensive DVOA: 2nd
Points for/allowed: 31.2 (1st) / 21.1 (7th)

Yes, the Bucs beat the Cowboys back in Week 1, but it took a typical Tom Brady-led fourth quarter comeback/game-winning drive and then a 36-yard Ryan Succop field goal to win the game. 

And just like the Eagles, the 'Boys are a much different team since they played the Bucs in the season opener. 

The scary part about the Cowboys is they can win a shootout or a defensive contest. Dallas has wins that ended in final scores of 31-29, 36-28, 35-29, etc. and other scores of 20-17, 20-16, 27-20, etc.. 

This is because they all the right pieces in place when it comes to Dak Prescott and the offense as a whole and even on defense. Trevon Diggs has given up a ton of plays at corner, but also has a ton of interceptions. Micah Parsons is a game-wrecker and his flexibility makes him nearly impossible to defend. Demarcus Lawrence has looked really good since returning from injury, too.

Prescott has three playoff games under his belt and Mike McCarthy has a Super Bowl ring, so there's enough experience at the two most crucial positions, as well. Right now, Dallas is the scariest team in the NFC and what makes them even scarier is there is a really good chance the Bucs will see them in the Divisional Round of the playoffs. 

Stay tuned to AllBucs for further coverage of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and other NFL news and analysis. Follow along on social media at @SIBuccaneers on Twitter and Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Sports Illustrated on Facebook.