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Bucs Upcoming Opponent Scouting Report – Buccaneers vs. Cowboys

As the sun sets on another losing season, the Buccaneers take another shot at a playoff contender. The Cowboys are desperate for wins and with the Bucs having nothing to play for, the pressure is on in Big D to get the Dub.

Tale of the Tape

Total Offense416.6 (3rd)346.4 (21st)
Points Scored24.6 (12th)19.7 (26th)
Passing Off318.9 (1st)215.6 (24th)
Rushing Off97.7 (28th)130.9 (4th)
Total Defense386.6 (28th)317.4 (5th)
Opp Scoring28.8 (30th)19.2 (4th)
Opp Passing258.5 (27th)224.1 (7th)
Opp Rushing128.1 (27th)93.4 (5th)
Turnover Ratio-16 (31st)0 (T17th)

Bucs Offense vs. Cowboys Defense

Be it “Safe Jameis” or the loss of Desean Jackson from the Tampa Bay offense, the Bucs simply have fallen off track. After facing the league’s top defense in Baltimore last week, the Bucs take on the 5th ranked defense in the league in the Cowboys.

Dallas does everything well, top ten in points against, passing and rushing. This is a Dallas team that held the Saints to just 10 points a few weeks ago.

If Tampa Bay can get some points on the board, especially early, it will help tremendously, as the Cowboys don’t have the most dynamic offense in the league and if the Bucs turn it into a track meet, it benefits the Bucs. On the other hand, a low scoring Dungy-ball style game is how the Cowboys have been winning games in 2018.

Cowboys Offense vs. Bucs Defense

The Bucs have certainly been better under Mark Duffner, but they’re not great. Their facing an offense that doesn’t put up a lot of points or pass the ball very well, but have a terrific weapon in Ezekiel Elliot.

After being embarrassed by the likes of Christian McCaffrey, Saquon Barkley and other runners this season, the Bucs defense has to figure out a way to stop the run, something that was supposed to have been fixed with the addition of Beau Allen, Vinny Curry and Vita Vea. Vea has definitely improved his play, but Tampa Bay hasn’t gotten the job done against the run lately, and that’s really how Dallas can take control of this football game.

Special Teams

Bucs kicker Cairo Santos rebounded from his rough outing against the Saints to nail his opportunities in a rainy Baltimore, few as they may be. Bryan Anger continues to underwelm as the Bucs’ punter and even with Bobo Wilson, Tampa Bay isn’t getting much in the return game.

Dallas dumped veteran kicker Dan Bailey in the pre-season and has gone with Brett Maher, whose done pretty well, including nailing a 62-yd field goal against the Eagles. Chris Jones has punted for a pretty decent average but the Cowboys haven’t gotten much from their return game this season.

Interesting Notes

  • Cowboys lead the All-Time series 12-4
  • Cowboys have won six of the last seven meetings.
  • Tampa Bay is 1-9 lifetime in Dallas, scoring a victory in Big D in 2001.
  • Jameis Winston is on a personal 11 game road losing streak as a starting QB.


Dallas is coming off an ugly performance in Indianapolis, where they were shutout by the Colts. The Bucs are, well, the Bucs.

It’s weird that the last time the Tampa Bay Buccaneers were here, they were the toast of the NFL in control of their playoff destiny, had their game flexed to Sunday Night Football, there was discussion of Dirk Koetter being the NFL Coach of the Year. Then the Bucs lost, missed the playoffs, and have gone 7-15 under Winston since that game, 11-21 overall.

Now, Koetter and GM Jason Licht appear to be in deep trouble, Winston’s status as unquestioned franchise QB is on shaky ground and the Bucs will miss the playoffs for the 11th consecutive season, the second longest streak in the league.

Can the Bucs upset Dallas? Sure. When they play consistent there isn’t a team in the league Tampa Bay can’t beat. The problem is that consistency. You may get a half or three quarters and then the wheels come off. Without any mental fortitude, one bad mistake sends the Bucs to a “here we go again” mentality that ultimately results in them finding a way to lose the game.

Prediction: Dallas 23, Tampa Bay 17

J.C. De La Torre

Want to give JC a piece of your mind? E-mail him at JC De La Torre is formerly a columnist/blogger for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers blog site where in 2016, he was nominated as best sportswriter in Tampa Bay by Creative Loafing. Previously, he served as a featured columnist for Bleacher Report on Tampa Bay sports, an editor and featured columnist for SB Nation Tampa Bay covering the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Tampa Bay Lightning and Florida Gators, wrote for’s Blog Blitz and contributed to Pewter Report, one of the top magazines on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. JC is also a filmmaker, comic writer and rabid Whovian.

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