Lovie Smith: 'As we see it, the playoffs started'

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Lovie Smith isn't messing around.

His team has gone 3-1 over their past four games, setting themselves up for a potential push towards one of the NFC's Wild Card spots. Smith knows very well, though, that there is little room for error for his Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

This is why, in his mind, and likely the minds of most players, the playoffs have already started, per Kevin Patra of NFL.com.

"We finished up the third quarter of our season with a 3-1 record, and we have a big four-game stretch starting up," Bucs coach Lovie Smith said after Sunday's win, via the Tampa Tribune. "As we see it, the playoffs started. And we feel like we have to win out."

So, can the Buccaneers get the job done and win out? Smith has no doubt that he and his team both believe it can happen.

"... In that locker room we believe we can do it."

It's going to be quite the ride, as the Buccaneers not only draw the division rival New Orleans Saints, then the St. Louis Rams and Chicago Bears, but also the undefeated Carolina Panthers to wrap it all up.