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

Family of deceased Kyle Field construction worker awarded $53 million by jury

Chris Bosh to miss All-Star Game with calf injury, Al Horford to replace

NBA commissioner Adam Silver supports bringing sports betting in to the light

Mets pitcher Jenrry Mejia becomes first player ever banned by MLB for PEDs

Eight bold predictions for NBA All-Star Weekend

Iowa athletics department under federal civil rights investigation

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

2016 Naismith Hall of Fame finalists announced

Hasselbeck ‘strongly leaning towards playing’ in 18th season

Pitchers to wear new protective headwear in spring training

Klay Thompson: Warriors will shoot for all-time wins record

Bryce Harper 'squashed' beef with Jonathan Papelbon

WWE has record revenue despite perceived troubles

Cardiff City owner tells team to shoot more, because ugly men can marry beautiful women

Report: American Pharoah will make $35 million as stud in 2016

City hosts Tottenham in Valentine’s Day clash

Ranking the ten best free agent pitcher signings

Is there a place for Aaron Hill with the Brewers?

The market for forwards may shape the NHL trade deadline

Who had the best NBA All-Star Game of the last 40 years?

The winners and losers of the 2016 MLB offseason

The most intriguing NBA story lines for the rest of the season

Report: Timberwolves ‘lament’ Andrew Wiggins missing weight-lifting sessions

Kevin Durant to the Warriors makes little sense

City of Atlanta, Braves fighting over iconic Hank Aaron statue

Brock Osweiler hopes to remain part of ‘very special’ Broncos

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

Ranking the ten best free agent pitcher signings

Who had the best NBA All-Star Game of the last 40 years?

The winners and losers of the 2016 MLB offseason

On Kobe Bryant and taking greatness for granted

Bucks need to choose between wins, development

Fantasy booking WrestleMania 32

Unrestricted free agents each team must consider re-signing

QUIZ: Name the winners of the NBA Slam Dunk Contest

Thank you Daniel Bryan

The timeless greatness of Jaromir Jagr

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