Buccaneers focused on securing NFC’s No. 2 seed vs. Panthers

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers could use a drama-free conclusion to the regular season.They’ll attempt to achieve that when the Carolina Panthers visit for Sunday’s game at Tampa, Fla.The Buccaneers (12-4) have more to accomplish before heading into the playoffs.”You play to win. You play to get that second seed, that’s huge,” Buccaneers coach Bruce Arians said. “We’re not resting anybody. We’re playing to win.”Tampa Bay could be the NFC’s second, third or fourth seed depending on the final-week outcomes. The Buccaneers must defeat Carolina in order to have a chance for the No. 2 seed behind Green Bay.The Buccaneers are 6-1 at home for the second-best home mark in the NFL, so securing as many chances as possible to play at Raymond James Stadium in January could be critical.Last week’s antics involving receiver Antonio Brown are bound to be the topic following the team until another game is played.The Panthers (5-11), losers of six consecutive games, have been eliminated from playoff contention.Two weeks ago, the Buccaneers clinched the NFC South divisional title when they defeated the Panthers 32-6 in Charlotte, N.C.”Those players are getting paid, so they’re going to bring it,” Buccaneers safety Antoine Winfield Jr. said. “This is going to be a big game for them. It’s also a big game for us. Whatever we did last week or the week before, it doesn’t matter.”While the Buccaneers are looking to add to their recent history, the Panthers are trying to avoid a negative distinction.Carolina is one loss away from finishing with the worst record in NFL history for a team that started 3-0. The 2001 Chargers and 2012 Cardinals went from 3-0 to 5-11. The Panthers would be 5-12 if they lose the finale.Either way, Carolina is guaranteed a last-place division spot for the second time in three years. The Panthers, who have had four straight losing seasons, finished with five wins in each of the past two seasons.”This team is going to fight for each other,” Panthers safety Jeremy Chinn said. “We’re never going to let each other down.”

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