The Buccaneers under Greg Schiano purposely view each game as its own one-week “season,” refusing to let the developments of one Sunday affect the preparations of the following week.
Week 17 is a little bit different.
That doesn’t mean Schiano’s crew prepared any differently, or dwelled on last week’s loss to the Rams, but this is one case in which a game’s result might have a more lasting effect.
It’s the old “finish strong” idea, the notion that a win to cap the season, even if it doesn’t lead to the playoffs, can provide momentum heading into the offseason. It’s not a quantifiable thing, of course, but many Buccaneer players suggested the idea of finishing strong as an extra motivation this week. The Bucs, once 6-4 and feeling robust about the playoffs, obviously believe they are better than their current five-game losing streak would indicate, and they can prove that to themselves in a small way on Sunday.
Schiano sees a slightly more concrete advantage to finishing the season with a win. He knows that the most lasting lessons are learned on game day, and that there aren’t too many of those to go around.
“Any time you have an opportunity to get better at winning football games, which this is – you’ve got 16 of them this year and this is another chance to go win a football game – whenever you can do that, you get better,” said Schiano. “When you don’t do that, somehow, someway you slip back. We have a chance to do it today and I really think it’s important to go out and win the game. The way you do that is trust your training and play one play at a time.”