NFL Power Rankings: Cardinals rise, Broncos fall in Week 15

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Dec 13, 2015; Tampa, FL, USA; Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Jameis Winston (3) throws a pass to wide receiver Adam Humphries (11) for a touchdown against the New Orleans Saints during the second half at Raymond James Stadium. New Orleans Saints defeated the Tampa Bay Buccaneers 24-17. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports


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It was going to take a near-perfect end to the season for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to break into the wild-card spots, but they fell to the New Orleans Saints, and will likely sit out of the postseason this year.

The offense underwhelmed against a Saints team playing much better of late. Jameis Winston was held to just 182 yards and one touchdown. A key was the lack of success on the ground. The Bucs lean heavily on Doug Martin and the run game, but the unit put up just 115 yards, which is lower than their expectations.

Drew Brees has been playing some excellent football at times this year, although he clearly doesn’t have the consistency each week. This week, he put up 312 yards and two touchdowns. With Mark Ingram out for the season, Tim Hightower took the bulk of the carries, rushing 28 times for 85 yards and a score.

The Buccaneers sit at 6-7, two games behind the 8-5 Minnesota Vikings and 8-5 Seattle Seahawks in the wild-card spots. With just three games to go, the playoffs look out of sight. But this season can be viewed as a major step in the right direction.

Next: No. 15