Week 16 and 17: Buccaneers @ Lions | Falcons @ Buccaneers
Root for: Lions and Falcons
With two Buccaneers losses and two Bears wins: Rams, Cardinals, and Bears snag the playoff spots
Of all of the scenarios in which the Chicago Bears make the playoffs, this would be by and large the most unlikely. But, it deserves to be mentioned.
The unofficial Nick Foles fan club has undergone a mass unfollowing in recent weeks. But his contributions to the Bears’ 20-19 victory over the Buccaneers should never go understated. They’ve created a scenario in which Tampa Bay, with two hiccups, could be on the outside looking in come January.
The Buccaneers would have to do the virtually impossible, losing games to the Lions and Falcons. But, as Week 15 showed us, a Matt Ryan-led Falcons team is always a threat to give you three-quarters worth of a scare, and with a break or two, could put the Buccaneers on upset watch.
And then, as the Chicago Bears had the misfortune of learning, Matthew Stafford still has the ability to turn the clock back to 2011 and channel his inner late-game brilliance.
The Buccaneers don’t yet have the look of a postseason defense and are (0-5) when they score 24 points or fewer this season. If they’re a bit off schedule offensively — a long shot for a Tom Brady-led team with a playoff shot on the line — anything can happen.
Just don’t count this scenario.