Cowboys at Buccaneers: Time, how to watch, live stream, keys for wild card playoffs on Monday night

The ultimate sport of Super Wild Card Weekend pits the NFC South champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers towards the Dallas Cowboys.

These two groups met again in Week 1, when Tampa beat Dallas 19-3 in one of the crucial embarrassing video games of the season for the Cowboys — a sport that ended with Dak Prescott struggling a damaged thumb that appeared prefer it may finish the Cowboys ‘ possibilities of even making it to the place they’re now. We know what occurred subsequent: the Dallas protection and Cooper Rush stepped up and saved the season, then Prescott returned and took the offense to one other stage whereas the protection backslid. The Cowboys now enter the rematch as a highway favourite.

The Buccaneers have been actually one of many NFL’s most disappointing groups this season, ending the 12 months with an 8-9 document and entering into the postseason solely by advantage of getting performed in arguably the league’s worst division. And but, none of that issues what you get to the event. They have a chance now to play a house sport, and to make up for what they could not do all through the common season.

So, which of those two groups will advance to take on the 49ers subsequent weekend? We’ll discover out quickly sufficient. Before we break down the matchup, here is a glance at how you may watch the sport.

How to watch

Date: Monday, Jan. 9 | Time: 8:15 pm ET
Location: Raymond James Stadium (Tampa)
TV: ESPN | Stream: fuboTV (strive for free)
Follow: CBS Sports App
Odds: Cowboys -2.5, O/U 45.5 (courtesy of Caesars Sportsbook)

When the Cowboys have the ball

Look at the general numbers, and the Cowboys had one of many NFL’s finest offenses this season regardless of their beginning quarterback lacking a 3rd of the 12 months. They completed eleventh in whole yards and fourth in factors, in addition to seventh in Tru Media’s model of EPA per play. Narrow it down to simply the video games after Dak Prescott returned from damage, and the Cowboys mainly matched the Bills for second in EPA per play.

But there’s nonetheless one thing about their offense that leaves one chilly. They can undergo stretches the place they give the impression of being fairly dangerous, and battle to get the ball to their most explosive playmakers. That occurred of their playoff loss towards the 49ers final season, when Tony Pollard obtained simply six whole touches and CeeDee Lamb was focused 5 occasions, in contrast with 13 touches (for 35 yards) for Ezekiel Elliott and a mixed 18 targets for the likes of Dalton Schultz and Cedric Wilson. The Cowboys limped their approach to 307 whole yards and 17 factors, and obtained despatched dwelling early in embarrassing vogue.

This season, they largely averted these sorts of video games… besides for bookending the season with them towards the Buccaneers in Week 1 and the Commanders in Week 18. Those may need been the 2 worst video games of Prescott’s total profession (by EPA per dropback , they have been sixth- and fourth-worst, in accordance to Tru Media), as he mixed to full simply 28 of 66 passes for 262 yards, one landing, and two interceptions. Lamb had 7 catches for 81 yards and a rating on 18 targets in these two video games, whereas Pollard had 15 touches for 41 whole yards.

Simply put, none of that may occur if the Cowboys have a hope of successful this sport on the highway. They want to be the workforce that led the league in scoring between Prescott’s return in Week 7 and Week 17, scoring at least 27 factors in all however one sport regardless of averaging 1.6 turnovers per contest. The offensive line’s decline over the second half of the season (and Tyron Smith’s relative struggles switching again to the fitting aspect after a Hall of Fame profession on the left) led to a decline in dashing effectiveness, and Prescott’s newfound aggression has had its positives ( extra explosive performs) and disadvantages (extra picks).

The approach for Dallas to win this sport is by concentrating its offense round its explosive gamers. Matriculating the ball downfield all sport lengthy performs into Tampa’s palms. Mike McCarthy, Kellen Moore, and Co. want to keep away from the temptation to lean on what’s acquainted and secure (Zeke runs on first-and-10, checkdowns to Schultz over the center, and so on.), and as a substitute strive to press the benefit they’ve on this contest.

When the Buccaneers have the ball

The Buccaneers offense this season has not appeared all that very similar to what we noticed in the course of the first two years of the Tom Brady period. In 2020 and 2021, Tampa ranked seventh and second in whole yards, third and second in whole factors, third and first in Football Outsiders’ DVOA, and fifth and third in Tru Media’s model of EPA per play. This season, the Buccaneers ranked fifteenth in yards, twenty fifth in factors, sixteenth in DVOA, and twenty second in EPA per play.

The points alongside the offensive line — Ali Marpet’s retirement, Ryan Jensen’s knee damage, the lack of Alex Cappa in free company, Tristan Wirfs’ accidents, Donovan Smith’s precipitous decline — have been evident for a lot of the season, they usually impacted each facet of the offense.

The run sport was just about a catastrophe for the whole season. Tampa ranked thirtieth in rush offense DVOA, and solely two NFL groups averaged fewer yards earlier than contact per carry (1.16), in accordance to Tru Media. The Dallas protection really completed the season ranked fifth in rush protection DVOA, however the Bucs ran throughout them when these two groups met again in Week 1, with Leonard Fournette turning his 21 carries into 127 yards. (Fournette then averaged 3.2 yards per carry over the remainder of the season. His 127 yards towards Dallas accounted for 19% of his whole dashing yards all 12 months.)

Tampa additionally discovered itself unable to push the ball down the sector within the passing sport for a lot of the season. After Tom Brady averaged 9.06 air yards per try in 2020 and eight.07 per try final season, his common move traveled simply 6.83 yards within the air this season, in accordance to Tru Media. Just 1.0.4% of his passes traveled at least 20 yards downfield, a steep drop from a excessive of 15.4% throughout Tampa’s Super Bowl season. The one time it actually appeared just like the Bucs may get the ball downfield was two weeks in the past towards the Panthers, when Brady and Mike Evans repeatedly torched poor CJ Henderson, who gave up 7 catches for 127 yards and two touchdowns when in protection vs. Evans.

The Cowboys have been very susceptible to downfield passes in latest weeks, however it’s largely been groups focusing on whichever cornerback is aligned throughout from Trevon Diggs. (If the 2 matchups between these two groups over the previous two seasons are any indication, Diggs will shadow Evans. In these two video games, Evans has totaled 8 catches for 95 yards and a landing.) Since Anthony Brown was misplaced for the season, Dallas has tried Kelvin Joseph, Nahshon Wright, Mackensie Alexander, and Trevon Mullen, and none of it has labored. Xavier Rhodes has been getting work in that spot throughout practices, and he may get the primary alternative on Monday night. Brady has to be prepared to work that matchup with Chris Godwin, Russell Gage, Julio Jones, or whoever else aligns throughout from Rhodes (or no matter nook the Cowboys throw on the market).

The approach Dallas can mitigate all that is by rediscovering its move rush, which has disappeared down the stretch of the season. After recording a number of sacks in every of the primary 12 video games of the season, Dallas has two sack-less video games in its final 5, and totaled simply six sacks in these 5 contests. Prior to that, the Cowboys averaged 4 per sport. (Interestingly, the Cowboys nonetheless constantly obtained stress throughout that stretch; they have been simply unable to flip that stress into sacks.) Unless Micah Parsons, Demarcus Lawrence, Dorance Armstrong, Sam Williams, and Dante Fowler dominate the sport up entrance, it may be troublesome for Dallas to take care of issues on the again finish.

Featured Game | Tampa Bay Buccaneers vs. Dallas Cowboys

Prediction: Buccaneers 27, Cowboys 26

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