Here are the key matchups to look for when the Bucs go to Dallas to face the Cowboys.
Bucs vs Dallas Crowd
The Bucs don’t need to make it fancy, just try to hold on to the ball as long as they can. Take the crowd out of it with precision first downs. Take as much time to score as possible because the Cowboys are a dangerous threat on offense.
Ezekiel Elliot vs Bucs Defensive Line
Ezekiel Elliot is on the verge of breaking 1,500 yards for the season. He has 1,892 all-purpose yards this season. That’s 37 percent of their yards on offense and 32 percent of the touchdowns with 9. Not only is he the leading rusher, but he’s also the second on the team in receiving yards with 543 yards.
If the Bucs’ defense by some miracle contains him, they may have a shot at keeping the game competitive.
Amari Cooper vs Bucs Secondary
Since being traded by the Raiders, star wide receiver Amari Cooper and quarterback Dak Prescott quickly built a rapport that was sorely missing with his other receivers. He’s already topped Cowboys receiving yards in his short time with 674 yards and six touchdowns.
Prior to Cooper’s arrival, the Bucs would have managed better only dealing with Zeke, but Cooper’s arrival creates complications in the secondary that will make the secondary respect the pass.
Barber and Evans V Cowboys D
Trying to gain ground against the Cowboys in Dallas is no easy task with their seventh-ranked defense. Bucs QB Jameis Winston needs to remain on point and forget about his performance against the Ravens. Using the pass to set up the run will be key for offensive success.
No point in being the no. 1 offense in the league if you can’t take advantage of it. If Peyton Barber can be productive, he has a real shot at getting 1,000 as another positive notch in this depressing season.
Bucs Special Teams V Themselves
While it should be obvious, special teams have been particularly troublesome this season. What’s sadly becoming an annual tradition, the Bucs changed kickers mid-season, from Chandler Catanzaro to Cairo Santos. While Santos has been automatic on extra points, he’s been mostly consistent on field goals with the exception of the second game against the New Orleans Saints.
Field position will be everything, and there are two possibilities: either it will be a low-scoring game or Zeke will wreak havoc in a route.