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NFL playoff picture: What does Buccaneers-Panthers mean for NFC standings

The Bucs face the Panthers in Charlotte on Sunday. We break down what the game means for the NFL playoff picture.

Head coach Todd Bowles and Baker Mayfield #6 of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers celebrate their 30-12 win against the Jacksonville Jaguars at Raymond James Stadium on December 24, 2023 in Tampa, Florida. Photo by Mike Carlson/Getty Images

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Carolina Panthers face off in Week 18 to close out the 2023-24 NFL regular season. The Panthers have nothing to play for, with even draft positioning relatively unimportant without a first round draft pick. The Bucs have everything to play for in the NFC South race.

The game kicks off at 1 p.m. ET and the Bucs are a 4.5-point favorite at DraftKings Sportsbook.

Buccaneers playoff picture

The Bucs are 9-7 and sit in first place in the NFC South. They’re tied with the Saints but hold the common games tiebreaker advantage. If Tampa Bay loses, they’re eliminated from playoff contention. They can clinch with the NFC South with a win over Carolina. If the unlikely occurs and this game finishes as a tie, the Bucs would clinch the division title if the Saints lose or tie against the Falcons.

If the Bucs tie the Panthers, they can also clinch a wild card berth if the Seahawks lose to the Cardinals and the Packers lose to or tie the Bears.

Panthers playoff picture

The Panthers were eliminated from playoff contention in Week 13.