Bucs preparing for 'playoff' game

TAMPA, Fla. -- It's coming in Week 17, but I think Tampa Bay Buccaneers coach Greg Schiano is making one of his smartest moves of the season.

Although Tampa Bay’s postseason hopes disappeared long ago, Schiano is encouraging his team to treat Sunday's game at New Orleans like a playoff game. The game has been flexed to a 4:25 p.m. ET start because of the playoff implications it has for the Saints.

"When you're 4-11, you don't usually get pushed back in the day on the TV time," Schiano said. “Obviously, it’s a game with implications and we’re fortunate to be involved in it. Even though it’s not our implications, it is our implications. It’s our playoff game. We're going there to play it that way."

Yeah, it may not be the real thing, but it’s still an opportunity for a young team to get a glimpse of something close to a playoff atmosphere. In years past, I’ve seen John Fox and Tony Dungy challenge their teams to treat late-season games as playoff contests even though they had no real implications.

In the case of both Fox and Dungy, their teams made it to the playoffs the following season.