The Tampa Bay Buccaneers appear to be mathematically eliminated from qualifying for the NFL playoffs. They will enter Week 17, the final week of the NFL regular season, as an 8-7 team. At a quick glance it may appear as though a win and some other events get them into the post-season, however there's no scenario that I could find where the Bucs do actually qualify.

Tampa vs. Carolina doesn't matter

Tampa Bay's final game of the season is a home against the Carolina Panthers. That in itself is a very winnable game and perhaps that seems like a degree of good fortune in the scheduling for the Bucs.

The Washington Redskins are currently 8-6-1. If the Redskins win their final game of the season against the New York Giants, then Washington will be 9-6-1. That will give them a higher finish than TB so if Washington win, TB will finish beneath Washington in all scenarios.

That TB can finish higher than Washington makes things appear as though TB have a chance to make the post-season still. However, when I punch the results from Saturday so far into the New York Times' Upshot probability calculator, a device that calculates all the permutations and combinations of playoff possibilities, the software says that the Bucs have a "0 percent" chance of making the post-season (see Twitter tweet below).

Bucs lose on all tiebreakers?

If a 9-7 Buccaneer team finishes ahead of Washington and tied with either Green Bay or Detroit for the final Wild Card spot then it appears as though the complex NFL tiebreakers all work in the Packers' or Lions' favor. The first tiebreaker is head to heads, but TB hasn't played Detroit or GB this season. The 2nd tiebreaker is in-conference wins and I see Tampa Bay as potentially tied with either GB or Detroit. However, the Bucs must lose on subsequent tiebreakers which has to do with common games and strength of victory.

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The NFL tiebreakers can get very complex so I will defer to the New York Times' calculations. Accordingly, the Bucs cannot make the post-season any longer even if they win their final game. In that event, in all cases their competitors would either have stronger records or they would win on tiebreakers.

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