Originally posted on Fox Sports Florida  |  Last updated 12/15/12
Game time: Sunday at 1 p.m. ET TV: FOX After blowing another late lead, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers' playoff hopes are in serious jeopardy. To make the postseason, the Buccaneers will likely need a string of wins - and will certainly need some help - starting with Sunday's road game against the struggling New Orleans Saints. After its fourth consecutive win Nov. 18, it appeared that Tampa Bay was headed for its first postseason berth since 2007. A three-game losing streak since, however, has put the Buccaneers (6-7) in serious danger of missing the playoffs once again. Tampa Bay, which has dropped its last three by a combined 11 points, blew an 11-point lead in the final seven minutes Sunday and allowed Philadelphia to snap an eight-game skid with a 1-yard pass as time expired. The 23-21 defeat marked the fourth time this season that the Buccaneers have failed to capitalize on a fourth-quarter lead. They couldn't maintain a late six-point advantage in the first loss of their slide, falling 24-23 to Atlanta on Nov. 25. "Every loss is tough, but we can't dwell on it. A lot of guys are disappointed, but they still understand we've got a lot of football to play the rest of the year," defensive end Da'Quan Bowers said. "You can't dwell on that one game. We've got to correct the fixable things and transfer our focus to New Orleans." Tampa Bay is two games behind wild-card leaders Seattle and Chicago and has four other teams in front of it as well. The Bucs have made matters worse by dropping six of nine conference games. "Right now, we're playing for a lot," coach Greg Schiano said. To avoid their longest losing streak of the season, Tampa Bay will try to take advantage of a team that's all but out of the playoff picture. While New Orleans (5-8) hasn't been eliminated, it would need an unlikely set of circumstances to stay alive past this week - a win and losses by Chicago, Seattle and Washington. A repeat of last week's performance won't help. With a 52-27 loss to the New York Giants, the Saints matched their third-highest total for points allowed in a game. New Orleans gave up a team-worst 287 yards on six kickoff returns, including a 97-yard touchdown in the first quarter. "We have a prideful group in this locker room," running back Mark Ingram said. "Our focus going forward is just getting better every single day and improving individually. We've had three straight losses. It would be nice to close the season with three straight wins." The Saints defeated Tampa Bay 35-28 on Oct. 21, erasing a 21-7 second-quarter deficit as Drew Brees threw four touchdowns. The Bucs' Josh Freeman passed for a career-best 420 yards and three TDs in that game, but he hasn't topped 265 yards in the seven contests since. Rookie Doug Martin ran for 85 yards, including a 36-yard TD, on 16 carries versus the Saints. He has four games of at least 128 yards rushing in the last seven. Brees has struggled in the last two contests, throwing one touchdown and seven interceptions while posting a 53.8 passer rating. "Each of these games is so important, still so important, because we have a lot of prideful guys," Brees said. "We're not about to shut it down and feel like the season is lost. There's still a lot that can be done." New Orleans has won two straight over Tampa Bay.
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Report: Tom Thibodeau has 'always wanted' Knicks job

Report: Luke Walton will not consider coaching offers until offseason

Budweiser: Peyton Manning not paid for Super Bowl beer plug

Archie Manning: 'I think Peyton's done in Denver'

Donald Trump: I told Tom Brady not to endorse me for President

Marshawn Lynch: Complicated and talented NFL anti-hero

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Hue Jackson lets Manziel and ex know they aren’t alone

Report: Knicks fire coach Derek Fisher

Tyronn Lue faces backlash for Cavs record since Blatt’s firing

Report: LeSean McCoy assaulted off duty Philly police officers

John Elway was right, the Broncos didn’t need a Plan B

Canadiens and Sharks starting to gauge trade market

Lisa Ann wants to reward Emmanuel Sanders for Super Bowl win

WWE Superstar Daniel Bryan to announce retirement

Nine best and worst players from 2015 NFL playoffs

Rodman wants Phil Jackson to know he’s ready to coach Knicks

Wade Phillips trolls Cam Newton with dabbing tweet

Top defensive performances in Super Bowl history

FBI questions Jeremy Shockey about drug and gambling ring

Coldplay drummer thought Johnny Football was real name

Ranking every game from 2015 NFL Playoffs

PHOTO: Panthers LB shows gruesome arm injury after SB

Patriots, Panthers early Super Bowl 51 favorites

Von Miller trolls Cam Newton, Panthers

Cam Newton proves again he is a great winner and terrible loser

NFL News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Report: Knicks fire coach Derek Fisher

The best and worst commercials from Super Bowl 50

Best and worst from Super Bowl 50

Six best plays from Super Bowl 50

Eli doesn't look thrilled as Peyton wins Super Bowl

Did Beyonce almost fall down during Super Bowl halftime show?

Curry to serve as drummer for Panthers

Report: Marshawn Lynch plans to retire

The 14 biggest plays in Super Bowl history

Five outrageous predictions for Super Bowl 50

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker