The Buccaneers’ dominant defense looks to continue their showing in the postseason. In order to get a win in the first week of the playoffs this team will need to run a tight ship. Here’s how the Buccaneers’ defense can make an impact.
Contain the Run
The most effective portion of the Cowboys’ offense has been the run. They finished the regular season eight in yards and second in touchdowns. Averaging 4.3 yards a carry with Tony Pollard and Ezekiel Elliot has kept this team in each and every game.
The issue has been the 4.5 yards a carry the Buccaneers’ defense has allowed. The good news is they have been stout in the red zone and only allowed 12 rushing touchdowns. They did however keep the rushing attack under control the first week, holding them under four yards a rush and no touchdowns.
In order to keep the same result Anthony Nelson and William Gholston will have to be prepared. They’ll be playing over top of the left side of the offensive line. So far this season Pollard has had his best attacks off the left side. He’s averaging 7.2 yards per attempt on 31 attempts coming around the left end. Additionally, when running between the left guard and tackle he’s averaging 6.7 yards a carry.
Shutting down the left side will severely limit his capabilities.
Turn Over Battle
Dak Prescott finished the season leading the league in interceptions with only twelve games under his belt. with a 3.8% interception percentage he could very well be the down fall of the Cowboys offense.
In order to take advantage the Buccaneers secondary needs to find that “grave diggers” mentality again and get after the ball. So far this season they only have 10 interceptions and 59 pass deflections. Last season they had 17 and 85 respectively. It’s time to find that fire again.
Judging by the injury report Carlton Davis, Mike Edwards, and many others will be healthy for this game.
This defense did the job the first time. They’ll be leaned on to do it again If the contain the run and force Prescott to possibly win the game then they should find themselves winning the turnover battle.
Also, I feel this defense feels like it’s long over due for a pick six.
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