By Eric Schmidt

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers suffered a disappointing last second loss to the Philadelphia Eagles last Sunday, severely hurting their playoff chances. The Buccaneers have put themselves in a hole with three straight losses, with two of those losses coming at home. In week 12, the Falcons defeated the Buccaneers 24-23 prior to last week’s 23-21 loss to the Eagles.

Despite holding a 6-7 overall record, the Buccaneers are still technically alive in the playoff hunt, but the road to the playoffs will take a series of events to unfold.

First of all, the Buccaneers must win all three of their remaining games. Another loss, and a trip to the playoffs is out of the question.

To remain in the hunt, Tampa needs a series of events to unfold around the NFL this week. The Buccaneers will need the New York Giants to lose to the Atlanta Falcons. The Dallas Cowboys must lose to the Pittsburgh Steelers, while the Washington Redskins lose with Kirk Cousins under center to the suddenly surging Cleveland Browns. The Buccaneers need the Chicago Bears to lose to the Green Bay Packers as well. And that scenario is just for week 15, additional help will be required in the next two weeks as well.

The Buccaneers have put themselves in this position. Had the Buccaneers defense not had a second half collapse against either the New York Giants, Atlanta Falcons or the Philadelphia Eagles last week, their playoff chances would be much stronger. Tampa has lost three games by 2 points or less this season and have only lost one game by more than seven points. It has been a significant upgrade from the team the Buccaneers fielded in 2011.

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