The Tampa Bay Buccaneers' 13-year playoff drought could end this year, but their 18-year Super Bowl drought might not.
The Bucs currently sit at No. 6 in the NFC (8-5) after pushing Minnesota (6-7) out of the playoff picture with a 26-14 win on Sunday.
Tom Brady completed 15 of 23 passes for 196 yards and two touchdowns, the Bucs sacked Kirk Cousins six times, and Minnesota kicker Dan Bailey cost the Vikings 10 points on three missed field goals and a missed extra point.
All in all, the Bucs did just enough to get the win – but just getting by wasn't the expectation with Tampa Bay's roster this year.
Tom Brady – the six-time Super Bowl champion – ranks 10th in average passing yards per game (268.9) and fourth in passing touchdowns (30).
But those stats don't tell the full story, as Brady sits 25th in completion percentage (64.8) and is tied for the fourth-most interceptions (11), despite taking the 25th-fewest sacks (15).
To make matters worse, Tampa Bay isn't effectively using its ground game, as the rushing attack ranks 26th in the league (97.2).
The Bucs have struggled to find an offensive identity this season, ranking 17th in total yards per game (358.2). The team's rushing leader, Ronald Jones, sits fourth in the league in yards on the ground (900), but outside the top 10 in both average yards per game (69.2) and rushing touchdowns (6).
And despite the win on Sunday, winning at Raymond James Stadium is not a trend for Tampa, considering the Bucs have lost three home games against division title contenders in a five-week span.
The Bucs are also just 2-4 against teams with winning records, including getting swept by the New Orleans Saints, which effectively ended any chance of Tampa Bay winning the NFC South division.
On Monday, Colin Cowherd exclaimed that he has yet to see anything special or competitive about this Tampa Bay squad with the postseason approaching.
"I just don't see the edge here at all."
However, ESPN's Stephen A. Smith still thinks there's a chance that Brady and Co. can pull it together and make a run at the Super Bowl.
"I believe if Brady – with the rest of the rest of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers – are clicking on all cylinders offensively, I think they are going to the Super Bowl."
FOX Bet hasn't ruled the Bucs out of the mix either, as the team boasts the eighth-best odds (+1600) to win the ultimate prize.
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