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What Buccaneers win over Panthers in Week 13 means for playoff picture in NFC

Tampa Bay held off Carolina in Week 13. We break down what it means for the NFC playoff picture.

Carolina Panthers v Tampa Bay Buccaneers Photo by Julio Aguilar/Getty Images

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers (5-7) were able to avoid a disastrous upset loss in Week 13 this afternoon, taking down the Carolina Panthers (1-11) in a 21-18 victory. The Bucs never trailed in the contest and a late Panthers comeback attempt was snuffed out when Antoine Winfield Jr. picked off Bryce Young late in the fourth quarter.

With the victory, Tampa Bay has now jumped back up to second in the NFC South standings and now sit just a game behind the Atlanta Falcons for first place. This was big as a loss would’ve dramatically crippled their postseason hopes and potentially tanked their entire season. And it was perfect timing as Tampa Bay will travel to Atlanta next Sunday for a crucial late-season showdown.

With the loss, the Panthers are now officially eliminated from postseason contention, which speaks to how weak the NFC South has been that they were still technically alive. Each passing loss is only to the benefit of the Chicago Bears, who owns Carolina’s first-round pick for next year’s NFL Draft.