Dallas Cowboys can expect to face plenty of Cover-3 in Tampa

Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports
Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports /

The Dallas Cowboys played the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Week 1 and since then, a lot has changed. The Bucs have been in steady decline, losing their once-dominant offensive attack and entering the playoffs with a losing record. While the Cowboys have survived injury after injury to push their offense back into the top echelon of NFL rankings and a 12-5 record.

Dak Prescott has led the Dallas Cowboys to become the best third down team in the NFL. Tom Brady has led his Buc to become the last team in the NFL in explosive play rate. But one thing stands consistent, Tampa Bay’s love for the Cover-3.

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are going to make Dak Prescott and the Dallas Cowboys beat their Cover-3.

The Bucs finished the 2022 regular season with the third highest rate of Cover-3 usage. With middle of the field closed looks, they take away the prime real estate and force passers to hit seams and tight windows for passing success.

While Dak Prescott is efficient everywhere downfield, his best area to attack is the middle where he averages 0.23 EPA/play. Taking that away removes his most effective attack.

Cover 3 is Prescott’s weakness in coverage this season. He’s averaging -0.022 against the coverage, indicating a loss. Todd Bowles isn’t going to hesitate to do what he already does best. And the Tampa DC is known for taking away his opponents key items and forcing them to beat his team in other ways.

The Dallas Cowboys should know this as well. It will be on them to develop a workaround. That falls on Kellen Moore AND Mike McCarthy (who somehow escapes blame for offensive issues). This is about strategy and back-up plans made during the week.

Both sides will need to adapt as the game goes on, but things like this aspect are apparent and can be expected. The Dallas Cowboys know what Tampa likes to do and they know what they themselves struggle against. It doesn’t take a fortune teller to figure out what’s going to happen.

light. More. Can Dak get it done in the playoffs?

It’s all about beating that Cover 3.