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Todd Bowles: “We know what we have to do”

Mike Florio defends his Week 16 power rankings to Chris Simms, from the Chiefs, 49ers and Bengals rising up, to the Cowboys falling out of it and more.

The Buccaneers are 6-7. They’ve been horribly disappointing. They seem incapable of reaching their presumed potential.

And yet they’re still in position to win the NFC South and host a playoff game.

On Wednesday, coach Todd Bowles was asked whether he reminds the players that the preseason goals remain within reach.

“You always remind them, but you correct them first,” Bowles said. “You correct the film and you go over the tape and you’re still pissed off and disappointed, regardless of what’s in front of you. You let it go the next day once you watch the tape and you move on. Everything is still in front of us -- we’re trying to win the division, we need to take care of ourselves. We don’t need to look at anybody else. We know what we have to do.”

Winning a game would help. They’ve lost two in a row, and they’ve looked not great since an unlikely win over the Saints, fueled by multiple uncalled holding penalties.

But here’s the reality. If the Bucs get in, they can be dangerous. Tom Brady has played 47 postseason games in his career. He has far more experience than the other likely NFC playoff quarterbacks (Jalen Hurts, Dak Prescott, Kirk Cousins, Brock Purdy, Daniel Jones) combined.

Everything changes when it’s single elimination. It’s about focusing intensely on the task at hand, and about finding a way to execute for three hours.

The Bucs haven’t done much this year to make anyone overly confident they can do that. But they’ve done just enough from time to timer to remind us that they’re sometimes capable of doing just enough.

Two years ago, they won the Super Bowl as the No. 5 seed. It’s not crazy to think they could get back there as the No. 4 seed.

Every once in a while, Brady slips back into superhero mode. Usually, late in a close game. If he can make that transformation during the postseason, the Bucs could be surprisingly dangerous.