Josh Freeman's heroics lifts Tampa Bay Buccaneers' hopes

It's tough to win on the road, it's even more impressive if it's done in dramatic fashion with a late-game frenzy to force overtime and then ultimately prevail in the extra period.

Greatest on the road ...

Josh Freeman, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

If the season ended today, the Buccaneers would be on the brink of qualification for the NFC playoff field sporting a 6-4 record. Getting to this point was no small feat, having gotten all they could handle from a Carolina Panthers team that has been laughingly mediocre in what started as a promising season in Charlotte.

Things were looking bleak at Bank of America Stadium on Sunday. The Buccaneers faced an 11-point deficit with six minutes remaining in the game. A Conor Barth field goal with four minutes left set the stage for some late-game heroics for Freeman. Freeman helped force overtime with a touchdown pass and two-point throw to Vincent Jackson. Then, Freeman kept alive the Buccaneers' playoff hopes with an overtime touchdown strike to Dallas Clark.

The 27-21 triumph was the Buccaneers' fourth consecutive win, and fifth win in six games. With three touchdown passes against the Panthers, Freeman has 16 touchdown passes in his last six games.

Also considered:

Randall Cobb, Green Bay Packers

Cobb continues to be a multi-dimensional go-to player for the Packers, contributing as a receiver, rusher and return specialist. With the Packers trailing 20-14 late in the fourth quarter, Cobb hauled in the winning touchdown on a 22-yard pass play from Aaron Rodgers. It helped the Packers escape Ford Field with a 24-20 win and keep pace with the Chicago Bears in the NFC North.

Cobb is the Packers' leading receiver, which is saying something given the talent the team has at the position. His emergence has aided the Packers' quest to overcome a dismal 2-3 start with five consecutive wins.

Jacoby Jones, Baltimore Ravens

The Ravens renewed their back-alley brawl of a rivalry with the Pittsburgh Steelers at Heinz Field, yet it was a return specialist who provided the go-ahead score. Jones' 63-yard punt return for a touchdown helped the Ravens build a lead they never relinquished in their pivotal AFC North clash with the Steelers. The 13-10 win gave the Ravens a nifty two-game cushion atop the division.

The Ravens have now won 12 consecutive games in the AFC North, and have won seven of their last eight games to remain in the thick of the chase for home-field advantage throughout the AFC playoffs.

Follow Jim Reineking on Twitter @jimreineking.