The Buccaneers will not rest their starters in Week 17.
That’s the word from head coach Bruce Arians, who said today that he wants to finish the season 11-5 and earn the highest seed in the NFC playoffs that the Buccaneers can get.
“We’re going to play to win,” Arians said.
The Bucs clinched a wild card berth by beating the Lions on Saturday, and Tom Brady did not play in the second half. That cautious approach with Brady, combined with Arians’ comments before the Lions game about potentially resting starters, led to questions about whether Arians might protect Brady and other key players on Sunday against the Falcons.
But the Buccaneers would like to clinch the No. 5 seed, which would result in a first-round playoff matchup against the NFC East winner. That’s the easiest game any NFC wild card team can play.
And since the Bucs clinch the No. 5 seed if they win on Sunday, that’s exactly what Arians will try to do.