Home NFL X-Factor Matchup: Cowboys vs Buccaneers
Dallas Cowboys linebacker Micah Parsons (11) sacks Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady (12) in the first half of a NFL football game in Arlington, Texas, Sunday, Sept. 11, 2022. (AP Photo/Michael Ainsworth)
Dallas Cowboys linebacker Micah Parsons (11) sacks Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady (12) in the first half of a NFL football game in Arlington, Texas, Sunday, Sept. 11, 2022. (AP Photo/Michael Ainsworth)

X-Factor Matchup: Cowboys vs Buccaneers


They say that styles make great fights and the same is true in football. The NFL playoffs are all about matchups. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are no exception to this theory.

Their matchup vs the Dallas Cowboys is somewhat favorable despite the Bucs being just 8-9 and the Cowboys being 12-5. We saw this on display in week one when the Buccaneers beat this Dallas team. However, there are some pivotal matchups that could go either way.

The biggest one revolves around the Cowboys edge rushers. This is a strength of this Dallas team and the Bucs will have to bring their A game to block them. I went more in-depth in the playoffs X-Factor matchup.

Dallas Edge Rushers

The name that has to be mentioned first is Micah Parsons. Despite not being a full time edge rusher, he is easily the most disruptive pass rusher on this team. His 13.5 sacks this year are a testament to what he is capable of.

His freak athleticism makes him too fast and too flexible for most offensive tackles to handle one on one. We saw this to be true in week one when he got to Tom Brady twice for a pair of sacks. Expect that same type of disruption this week.

Beyond Parsons, the other big name is DeMarcus Lawrence. Lawrence has been one of the most underrated players in the league over the last several years and is still productive as he enters his 30s. He’s someone that has to be accounted for at all times.

Dorance Armstrong is having a career year at defensive end. His 8.5 sacks this year are more than his first four years combined. Dante Fowler is also having a nice year as a depth pass rusher with 6 sacks.

This is a strong group overall with elite talent and depth. Protecting Brady from this stable of talent will be no easy task.

Buccaneers’ Offensive Tackles 

Fortunately for Bucs’ fans, one of the best tackles in the NFL resides in Tampa Bay. Tristian Wirfs is one of those few guys who has the athleticism and skill to mirror a guy like Parsons. In fact, he should erase anyone who lines up against him in this game.

On the left side is Buccaneers’ veteran Donavan Smith. To be blunt, Smith has not had a good year. He has been asked to shoulder more responsibility with first time starters playing next to him and he just hasn’t been able to handle that.

Smith has been a consistent culprit of penalties and surrendering pressure. He has been the weak link up front for most of the year and will likely be the target of the Cowboys attack. He will have to return to Super Bowl form for the Bucs in this game to contain this group of pass rushers.

Getting Chippy

One thing the Buccaneers can do to help Smith in this game is chipping on the edge. It doesn’t matter if it’s the tight ends or running backs, the Bucs should plan to help out up front. This is particularly true with Parsons.

Of course, we saw a few chips on Parsons in the week one matchup between these two teams. Leonard Fournette laid a big hit on Parsons and made his presence felt as a blocker. Needless to say, the Cowboys star didn’t like it.

Parsons took to Twitter to complain about the block. From a Bucs perspective that’s a good thing. If Parsons will be playing with Fournette and that big hit in the back of his mind then it might slow the pass rush down some.

This is as much as the Bucs can hope for. It’s probably unrealistic to expect to shut the door on all pressure this group can put on the quarterback. However, if the Cowboys edge rushers can be limited up front then it could be the difference between victory and defeat.

Gambling Odds

Bucs +2.5
Cowboys -2.5
Over/Under 45.5
Betting odds provided by BettingApps.com

The Bucs Report/Sports Talk Florida Pregame Show

Bucs LIVE With Rick & David

Bucs Wild Card Monday Stream

Follow, Like and Subscribe to Bucs Report


For more on this and everything Bucs check back here hourly at BucsReport.com