The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have played their way to a 9-7 mark in the 2016-17 NFL season with a 17-16 home win over the Carolina Panthers, and entered their regular season finale technically alive for a Wild Card berth in the postseason. In order for them to have actually reached the postseason, however, they needed not only to log their ninth win of the season but have six other games go their way.
Unfortunately for their fans, Tampa Bay didn’t get all the necessary help that it needed in the other games relevant to its fate. Actually, only two of the six contests produced the desired result. Tampa Bay needed three things to fall into place to nab a Wild Card spot: a tie in the New York Giants at Washington Redskins game, a Green Bay loss at Detroit and clinching the strength of victory tiebreaker over the Packers.
Strength of Victory Tiebreaker
Strength of victory is the is one of the tiebreakers in the NFL procedures for breaking ties for a Wild Card spot between three or more teams. In order for the Buccaneers to have clinched that edge over Green Bay, Tampa Bay needed four teams to win their games: the Dallas Cowboys, the Indianapolis Colts, the San Francisco 49ers and the Tennessee Titans. When the Philadelphia Eagles defeated the Dallas Cowboys, it became impossible for the Buccaneers to nab the strength of victory tiebreaker over the Packers. Not having that tiebreaker therefore eliminated Tampa Bay from playoff contention, regardless of the fact that the Colts and Titans won their games.
Even if the Cowboys had won, Tampa Bay would have been eliminated when the Giants beat Washington. Once again, had the Giants and Washington played to a tie, the Buccaneers would have been eliminated when Seattle won. Finally, had both of those things went Tampa Bay’s way, the Buccaneers would have been eliminated when Green Bay defeated Detroit in the Sunday night game.
Here is what the NFC looks like after updating the standings for all of the Week 17 games.
NFC Playoff Field
Dallas Cowboys 13-3 – clinched the NFC East, a first-round bye and home-field advantage throughout the NFC playoffs
Atlanta Falcons 11-5 – clinched the NFC South and a first-round bye
Seattle Seahawks 10-5-1 – clinched the NFC West
Green Bay Packers 10-6 – clinched the NFC North
Wild Card Teams
New York Giants 11-5
Detroit Lions 9-7
Wild Card match-ups
5) New York Giants at 4) Green Bay
6) Detroit at 3) Seattle