To win, or not to win, that is not the question.
The best way to stop Tampa Bay from falling into the abyss is for the Bucs to lose to New Orleans on Sunday in their regular-season finale.
It's a must-lose game for a franchise mired in misery.
So put your pride in your pocket. Anyway, 3-13 is just as ugly as 2-14.
No matter what happens against the Saints, Tampa Bay is guaranteed at worse the second pick in the 2015 NFL Draft.
A Bucs loss against New Orleans assures Tampa Bay the first pick. A Tennessee Titans win over the Indianapolis Colts guarantees the Bucs the first pick.
Only a Bucs win and Tennessee loss ruins things.
Let's make this happen.
It's time to round up the gang that can't shoot straight.
Break out the Mike Kafka jerseys and send out a search party for Garrett Gilkey, the offensive lineman who is penalized on every other play when he is not hiking the ball into second deck at Raymond James Stadium.
Get overpaid defensive end Michael Johnson and offensive lineman Anthony Collins, the guy who can't block opposing linemen falling into his lap.
Granted, there is reason to worry.
Only the Bucs could bungle this one.
The Saints are out of playoff contention, and there is speculation quarterback Drew Brees might sit. If he does, Luke McCown will start for Sean Payton's legion of disappointers.
This could be a Roger Goodell nightmare: Saints quarterback Luke McCown vs. brother Josh McCown in a game where the spoils go to the losers.
It's why Bucs head coach Lovie Smith appears to be fraught with anxiety.
This is a Marcus Mariota Bowl for Lovie.
The ultra-respected Tony Dungy says Mariota reminds him of Aaron Rodgers and his 38 touchdown passes and two interceptions rank him No. 1 nationally in pass efficiency.
Oregon's Heisman-winning quarterback is a ticket out of the Greg Schiano dungeon of misfits.
The difference between the first and second pick in this year's draft is wider than the Grand Canyon, unless you believe Jameis Winston has left all his off-the-field problems in
Tallahassee along with his 17 interceptions.
If you know Lovie, you know he won't touch Winston, especially with his good friend Dungy giving a ringing endorsement to Mariota.
The first pick in the draft means there will be a bevy of trade offers from other teams, if you want to go that route. Just saying.
The Bucs need to lose in the worst way. This is a team that has never had a franchise quarterback, except for a tease from Josh Freeman.
They haven't had the first overall pick since 1987, when they chose Vinny Testaverde, who became a quality quarterback after he left Tampa Bay.
The Bucs have a multitude of problems, mostly with the offensive line and quarterback. There is a debate on what you repair first, but getting a chance to select a potential franchise quarterback is a one-time dream.
Have you ever heard of a left tackle saving a franchise?
The Bucs should sit every starter they can legitimately place on the inactive list without causing the NFL cops to get a search warrant.
Smith can't come out and say he wants to lose, but he can see the future, and it doesn't include Mike Glennon.
"We're going to do everything that we possibly can to try and win the game and let everything else take care of itself," Smith said.
Maybe the Bucs should keep injured tackle Gerald McCoy home because he wants to win too much. And maybe Josh McCown would better to start than Kafka because is used to losing.
Let's just hope Lovie does the right thing.
Here's how the tiebreaker to determine the first pick in next year's NFL Draft works:
The Bucs and Titans are the only 2-13 teams in the NFL.
Won-loss records and strength of schedule are used to determine draft order, and the Bucs are locked into having the weakest schedule, which is a benefit of playing in the horrific NFC South.
The team with the worst record gets the first pick. If two or more are tied the one with the weakest SOS gets it, and that would be Tampa Bay under all scenarios.
So that means the Bucs will get the first pick unless they win and the Titans lose.
Alan Dell, Herald sports writer, can be reached at 941-745-7056. Follow him on Twitter @ADellSports.