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What does Panthers-Bucs mean for NFC standings in Week 18

The Panthers and Bucs face off in Tampa in Week 18. We break down what the game means for the NFL playoff picture.

Tom Brady #12 of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in action against the New York Jets at MetLife Stadium on January 02, 2022 in East Rutherford, New Jersey. The Buccaneers defeated the Jets 28-24. Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

Update: The Bucs took down the Panthers 41-17 to close out the regular season in Week 18. Tampa has clinched the No. 2 seed and will host the Philadelphia Eagles in the Wild Card round next weekend.

The Carolina Panthers will see their season come to a merciful end as they take on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Week 18. Tampa Bay is playoff-bound as they have locked up the NFC South which guarantees them a top-four seed. When these divisional opponents met in Week 16, the Bucs came away with the easy 32-6 victory. Kickoff from Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida is set for 4:25 p.m. ET with the game airing on CBS.

Bucs playoff picture

Current NFC standing

With the Green Bay Packers locking down the No. 1 seed, that leaves the No. 2, No. 3 and No. 4 open for the Buccaneers to move into with a win in Week 18. Tampa Bay suffered a rare shutout loss in Week 15, but have gotten their offense back on track the last two weeks scoring 32 and 28 points, respectively. A loss doesn’t really hurt the Bucs here, as they will be no worse than a top-four seed, but they could use the momentum heading into the playoffs with a win to end the regular season.

Rest of the NFC playoff field

Packers (13-3) @ Lions (2-13-1)
49ers (9-7) @ Rams (12-4)
Seahawks (6-10) @ Cardinals (11-5)
Saints (8-8) @ Falcons (7-9)
Cowboys beat the Eagles on Saturday