By Eric Ronnebeck
Every NFL Season has its share of weird occurrences. Be it an undefeated season ending in a Super Bowl loss or a 7-9 team making the playoffs, the NFL season never fails to entertain. Naturally, this season is no different. The AFC South and the NFC East are so bad that every team in both of those divisions still has a shot at the playoffs, even when some of those teams are 2-6! On the other end of the spectrum we apparently live in some Bizarro world where the Cincinnati Bengals and the Carolina Panthers are both 8-0. The NFL loves to use the word “parity” in these situations but I prefer to call it “chaos”. The NFL is chaos and sometimes that’s wonderful. The times it’s not wonderful is when your team has no shot of making the playoffs no matter how bad your division is.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers (3-5): Before the season began, there wasn’t a whole lot of optimism surrounding the Tampa Bay Buccaneers outside the city of Tampa Bay. They had such a horrendous season in 2014 (finishing 2-14) that the expectations had nowhere to go but up. The addition of a possible franchise quarterback in Jameis Winston certainly gives direction to the Buccaneers franchise going forward. As any long struggling NFL fan base will tell you, finding a franchise quarterback is imperative to winning. The Bucs look to now have that position locked up, a solid receiving corps, and some decent pieces on defense. Tampa Bay could very well challenge for a playoff spot in 2016, especially if they can fill out their roster a little more going into next year. This year, it’s another story. Even with the Falcons currently tanking their season, the Saints are fighting for their playoff lives while the Carolina Panthers continue to inexplicably win week after week. That keeps the Buccaneers out of the playoffs in 2015.
Enough writing about other teams! The Hawks are back from their bye this week and hosting the Arizona Cardinals on Sunday Night (Football on NBC, Al and Chris are the best on TV). This game is arguably the most important game of the season and a win will put the Seahawks in excellent position to finish the season strong. A loss would put them near the danger zone of their season being over. So… Go Hawks!