Looking Forward to the Dallas Cowboys vs Tampa Bay Buccaneers


Forget the egg the Cowboys dropped yesterday against Seattle. What really matters is that the defense gave up twenty points or less for the second week in a row. While they were completely out-muscled in the running game, something tells me the return of Jay Ratliff might do something to alleviate that. Also, that would allow a one man larger rotation, which might have staved off the second quarter decay until later. More concerning is the total lack of effort, but Jason Garrett will do everything in his power to fix that.

Sept 16, 2012; Seattle, WA, USA; Dallas Cowboys head coach Jason Garrett talks with quarterback Tony Romo (9) during player introductions against the Seattle Seahawks at CenturyLink Field. Mandatory Credit: Joe Nicholson-US PRESSWIRE

Below is my take and predictions for the Dallas Cowboys vs Tampa Bay Buccaneers game. First and foremost, Dallas better win.

  • The Buccaneers are pretty similar to the Seahawks (focus on running game and toughness, average quarterback) but with one caveat-they have a major weakness on the other side of the ball. Seattle had a pretty solid defense, so it wasn’t mind-blowing (though still surprising) to see the Cowboys get completely embarrassed like that. The Buccaneers aren’t the Seahawks. They have what the NFL calls a sub-mediocre defense, so if there’s anyone the Cowboys should score on, it’s them. Of course, total duds against bad teams has been a mantra of sorts the last five years or so, meaning it’s entirely possible they only get a touchdown for a second straight week. Never say never.
  • Assuming the Cowboys get to the red zone, they may have more success. The left cornerbacks are pretty tall, the top two six feet and over, but the right cornerbacks are short. Dez Bryant should be able to go ever the top of the receiver on a jump ball. Kevin Ogletree will probably be a non-factor in the red zone, but Miles Austin might catch a touchdown, probably on a slant.
  • Josh Freeman has struggled this year, totaling 381 yards combined in the last two games. Despite the fact that this is a running-based offense, passing for 138 yards against the Panthers is simply unacceptable. He played better against the Giants, but certainly didn’t dominate. I don’t think he will play well against the Cowboys, either, so they should focus more on stopping LaGarrette Blount and Doug Martin instead of blitzing every play. That being said, I predict he’ll struggle (more on that later.)


  • Bruce Carter will again total 9+ tackles. A running oriented team that likes to rush right at you (sound familiar?) should be easy pickings for Carter and Sean Lee. Both should equal or top 9 tackles, but for Lee it’s more of a given. Since Josh Freeman is less mobile, Carter may rack up even more tackles since he won’t be watching the quarterback. Maybe I should have said 11+.

Sep 5, 2012; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; Dallas Cowboys linebacker Bruce Carter (54) stops New York Giants wide receiver Domenik Hixon (87) during the third quarter at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Anthony Gruppuso-US PRESSWIRE

  • The Cowboys score over 30 points. The Bucs’ defense isn’t great (they just gave up 41 to the Giants) and the Cowboys just got embarrassed, which should leave them extra motivated to make a statement in a big way. I also thought they would play well against Seattle and they didn’t, but I still hold that this team has enough fire power to dominate, and this seems like the kind of time to do it.
  • The Cowboys don’t have have four fumbles again. This is pretty self explanatory, but this way I can say I got something right when I do my brief recap on the previous week.
  • Josh Freeman throws two picks. Neither the Panthers nor the Giants have the secondary talent the Cowboys do (who ever thought they could say that seriously,) but Freeman has already thrown a pick in each game. He isn’t all that quick from a standstill (though underrated once he gets moving) and the defensive line is pretty good, (not to mention Demarcus Ware is on the team and he’s hungry for some sacks) so even though they will probably play the run he will be under pressure all game long. This is assuming the defense turns in a Giants-level performance, but I’m an eternal optimist. Considering Freeman gave away 22 picks last year, this isn’t actually a terribly bold prediction.
  • I peg Freeman at 70/30 to fumble. He does so about every other game but hasn’t yet, so he has to cough one up eventually.
  • The Cowboys win 31-17. If the Cowboys play to stop the run and have any push from their defensive line, this is a very likely score. Maybe I’m overselling the Cowboys, but I did just predict they’ll score over thirty so I have to add that. This should actually be a closer game than the score suggests since the Cowboys haven’t stopped a tough bruising back this year, a type they have had trouble with the last few years, but if they play the run they should be fine. I also said that about the Seattle game, but hopefully they learn.

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