TAMPA, Fla. — The Tampa Bay Buccaneers (12-4) are currently the number three seed in the NFC, which guarantees at least one home playoff game in the wild card round.
“You want to be the highest seed you possibly can be,” Buccaneers tight end Rob Gronkowski said. “We have a chance to move up in the seeding so it's very important.”
But a win Sunday coupled with a Los Angeles Rams (12-4) loss to the San Francisco 49ers, the Bucs would move to the second seed. That would mean the Bucs would move to the second seed and could play at least two home games and avoid having to travel to Green Bay’s Lambeau Field until the NFC Championship Game.
The Bucs play the Carolina Panthers (5-11) this Sunday, a team Tampa Bay beat 32-6 just two weeks ago.
“This is a copycat league and teams are finding ways to repeat plays against us,” Buccaneers defensive end Ndamukong Suh said. “We have not stopped them, so this is going to be a big test for us going against a team that wants to run the ball.”
“Right when you slack off you can get slapped right in the face because you are not prepared. That’s happened before,” Gronkowski added.
The Bucs are banged up and bruised going into the regular-season finale. Running back Leonard Fournette and linebackers Lavonte David and Shaq Barrett are all trending to back in the time for the playoffs.
Outside the Bucs’ locker room there is doubt this team can repeat as Super Bowl champions with so many injuries.
“We’ve been there before now,” Buccaneers linebacker Kevin Minter said. “They counted us out last year. It’s almost that’s what they’re supposed to do.”