Buccaneers' Playoff Seed Already Set Before Week 18

Isaiah De Los Santos
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers' playoff seed is already set as they prepare for Week 18.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers' playoff seed is already set as they prepare for Week 18. / (AP Photo/Peter Joneleit)

It took the Tampa Bay Buccaneers a while, but they have officially claimed the NFC South division title for a second straight year following their Week 17 comeback win over the Carolina Panthers. Now, Tampa Bay turns its attention to a meeting with the Atlanta Falcons in the regular-season finale.

However, this game is downright meaningless for the Bucs, as their playoff seed is already locked in.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers Playoff Seed

NFL Research says Tampa is guaranteed to be the No. 4 seed in the NFC playoffs regardless of Week 18's results. As a division winner, they get to open the Wild Card Round at home. They'll host either the Dallas Cowboys or Philadelphia Eagles to kick off the postseason.

The Buccaneers already having their playoff position solidified certainly could change their plans for the finale. Todd Bowles may elect to rest his starters in a meaningless affair and focus on his team being 100% rested for the postseason opener. It would be incredibly devastating if a key contributor goes down due to injury in Week 18 and is forced to miss the game that really matters now.

However, Tampa Bay could also elect to play its starters for at least part of their Week 18 game. Some teams in similar positions have adopted this strategy in the past in order to avoid any rust from developing during the gap between Week 17 and the Wild Card Round.

Quarterback Tom Brady has already said he wants to play in the finale, so it'd be no surprise if the Bucs' key contributors make some kind of appearance against Atlanta. Bowles and co. will ultimately make the final call ahead of Sunday, though.

As things stand, Tampa Bay is listed as a 3-point road underdog for Week 18 on FanDuel Sportsbook's NFL odds.

SIGN UP NOW. No Sweat First Bet Up To $1,000. dark

Isaiah De Los Santos is not a FanDuel employee. In addition to providing DFS gameplay advice, Isaiah De Los Santos also participates in DFS contests on FanDuel using his personal account, username zayyy05328. While the strategies and player selections recommended in his articles are his personal views, he may deploy different strategies and player selections when entering contests with his personal account. The views expressed in their articles are the author's alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of FanDuel. 

Game odds refresh periodically and are subject to change.