Fire the cannons — the Bucs are heading to the playoffs

Check out how to cheer on the team as they make it to the playoffs for the fourth year in a row

A helicopter flies over Raymond James Stadium before Super Bowl LV. Tampa's skyline is visible in the background.

Raymond James Stadium was the sight of the Bucs’ victory in Super Bowl LV back in 2021.

It’s called Champa Bay for a reason.

The Buccaneers’ gritty 9-0 victory over the Carolina Panthers on Sunday brought a third consecutive NFC South title back to Tampa Bay. That means Baker Mayfield and company are heading to the playoffs, and are just a few games away from reaching Super Bowl LVIII.

How did we get here? And what happens next? We’ve got you covered:

The story of the season

The Bucs’ 9-8 record was enough to clinch the division, just beating out New Orleans. The Saints also recorded nine wins but missed out due to NFL tiebreaker rules.

Todd Bowles’ team started the season well, winning three of the first four games, before a slump in form left them 4-7, and an outside shot to make the playoffs. An impressive five wins out of six followed, giving the Bucs the No. 4 seed in the playoffs.

What comes next?

The NFL’s “Super Wild Card Weekend” is coming up, with games across the league played from Saturday, Jan. 13 through Monday, Jan. 15. The Bucs are hosting the No. 5 seed Philadelphia Eagles at Raymond James Stadium on Monday, Jan. 15 with kick-off at 8:15 p.m.

The Eagles reached the Super Bowl last year, losing to the Kansas City Chiefs in a thrilling encounter. They are coming to Tampa as slight favorites as things stand — this may change by the time the game starts. This will be the second game between the two sides at Ray Jay this season, after the Eagles came out victorious 25-11 back in September.

Quarterback Baker Mayfield was seen limping after hurting his ankle during the regular season finale on Sunday, and was already dealing with a rib injury sustained the week before. His health, and the team’s success, will become clear soon.

The winner of Monday’s clash will move on to the Divisional Round, with bookmakers suggesting the most likely scenario is a trip to the No. 1 seed San Francisco 49ers. The NFC Championship Game comes next, and then the Super Bowl in Las Vegas.

The pirate ship at Raymond James Stadium up close. There is a parrot sat by the stern.

Let’s hope the cannons are firing on Monday night.

Photo by TBAYtoday

Show your support

If you want to cheer on the boys in-person, there are resale tickets available for the game.

The atmosphere is sure to be electric at one of our area’s seemingly endless choice of sports bars, including spots like Ducky’s Sports Lounge in SoHo, Ferg’s Sports Bar and Grill in the EDGE District, or Hattricks in downtown Tampa.

The game will also be shown on both ESPN/ABC.

Wherever you’re cheering on the team, it feels good to sport some team gear. Grab a women’s or men’s jersey.

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