The NFL Divisional Round competition is set, with just one more NFC spot open in the Super Bowl race. It will be filled after the Dallas Cowboys and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers play tonight, and the Boys are out in front with the sportsbooks.
If Dallas aspires to beat Tom Brady and advance to the next state, it will come down to their ability to stop the Bucs offense. The Cowboys defense has improved in recent weeks, while QB Dak Prescott did not look safe at the end of the regular season.
The Cowboys have never lost a postseason game against the Buccaneers. However, stating the obvious, the Bucs didn’t have QB Tom Brady on either occasion. He’s 7-0 against Dallas.
Cowboys With the Advantage
In an uncommon occurrence (but one that is becoming the norm) for the Bucs, they’re not finding a lot of optimism from oddsmakers in this game. The Cowboys are in front on the moneyline, but the spread shows that there’s a great deal of hesitation on the part of the sportsbooks.
|Spread||-2.5 (-115)||+2.5 (-105)|
|Over/under||O45.5 (-106)||U45.5 (-114)|
|Courtesy of FanDuel|
It all comes down to the stats. Dallas had over 6,000 offensive yards with 55 TDs in the season. Accompanying this was a 45% success rate on third-down conversions. This is better than what Tampa Bay produced with its 5,894 yards, 32 TDs and a 37% third-down conversion percentage.
At the same time, though, Prescott has received a lot of criticism for his 15 interceptions. He had seven straight games with at least one giveaway, as well as four games at least two.
Prescott isn’t a bad QB, but he’s not doing himself any favors with his errors. Still, he has demonstrated veracity in overcoming deficits, rebounding from 19 in his career.
Two were doing this past regular season, and only one has been in a playoff game. Because of this, the Boys will need to be better prepared defensively to stop a seasoned vet like Brady with his ability to move and find receivers.
On the ground, the Bucs know what to look for. The Dallas offense scrapes the bottom with an average of 76.9 rushing yards. In the air, however, they’re soaring high, in second place with 269.8 yards per game.
All On The Line
Everything could be on the line for Brady tonight, but his ability to overcome challenges is well-documented. The Bucs go into the game as the underdog, a spot the seven-time Super Bowl champ has been in 10 times.
Of those, Brady has a 7-3 record. Granted, all of those came when he was sitting on top of the world, not when he was dealing with divorce and potentially tens or hundreds of millions of dollars in investment losses.
Tampa Bay only barely sneaked into the playoffs, despite Brady leading the league in completions. The defense has had numerous difficulties, and they could show up again tonight.
The Cowboys are looking for their first postseason win since 2018. They’ve had a banner year, compared to their recent history, and are close to taking down a titan. In what will undoubtedly be a hard-fought game on both sides, Dallas will be able to muster enough strength to win. Seeing the over hit is an easy image to conjure for this game between tough opponents.
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