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.