TAMPA, Fla. — A year ago, so many the Tampa Bay Buccaneers' players were in the postseason for the first time in their careers. Now -- they're like old playoff vets after winning three postseason games on the road and Super Bowl 55 last season.
Bucs' coach Bruce Arians said his players quickly flipped the switch to postseason mode.
“As soon as everyone walked in the building today, 2021 is over," Arians said. "This is a new season. Nothing matters except winning this week. Everyone is in tuned to that.”
“From last year to this year, everyone is a lot calmer and not emotionally charged as we were last year which I think is a good thing," offensive lineman Ryan Jensen added.
The Bucs (13-4) earned the number two seed in the NFC which guarantees at least two home playoffs games as long as they win Sunday. Tampa Bay finished 7-1 at Raymond James Stadium this season.
"It's been great this whole season," wide receiver Mike Evans said. "I expect nothing different, even better come Sunday. Our first home playoff game since I was in, what, middle school?"
2008 was the last true home playoff game for Tampa Bay. The Philadelphia Eagles look to spoil it Sunday with the NFL's top-ranked rushing offense. The weather could also dampen the fun, too. The expectation is rain and wind by the time the game kicks off at 1 p.m.
"It all depends, what kind of wind, is it directed across the field, how bad is the gust," Arians said. "Those things do affect it. That's one thing about Tom, he's played in a bunch of bad weather and a lot colder, so at least it will be in the 70s."
"If the rain is really bad, obviously it affects the receiver position the most," Evans said. "DBs start getting happy. It's hard to catch a ball wide open in the rain."
The Bucs could get some reinforcements for Sunday's game. The team designated three players to return from injured reserve -- running backs Leonard Fournette and Giovani Bernard and linebacker Lavonte David.