In 2021, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers hosted the Dallas Cowboys in Week 1, as the teams met on the Thursday night season opener for the entire NFL. In a thrilling offensive battle, the Buccaneers held off the Cowboys, 31-29. The motivation from that loss sparked the Cowboys to a 6-1 start, but an injury to Dak Prescott in Week 6 put a shadow over his passing the rest of the season. The rest of the way, the Cowboys would go 6-4 as they swept the lowly NFC East but only beat New England (in overtime), Carolina, Atlanta, New Orleans, Minnesota and the Chargers outside divisional play. That included allowing a woeful Carolina offense to put up 28 points, beating a New Orleans team using its third-string quarterback, and needing overtime to beat the Patriots. Their record also included an ugly home loss to a Denver team starting Teddy Bridgewater at quarterback and a defense-free overtime loss to Las Vegas on Thanksgiving. The Buccaneers, on the other hand, went 13-4, a record that could have been even better without a mystifying loss in Washington and not one but two losses to New Orleans. Let’s break down this matchup as you ponder how to handle your NFL betting on this game.
NFL Preview: Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Dallas Cowboys (Sunday, September 11)
When: Sunday, September 11, 2022, 8:20 pm ET
Where: AT&T Stadium, Arlington, TX
Radio: Westwood One
Live Stream: Sling TV
NFL Odds: Tampa Bay -1.5 / O/U 50 // Tampa Bay -125 / Dallas +105
Why should you bet on the Buccaneers?
Tampa Bay has put together a terrific run defense the past few seasons, and they also feature a ferocious pass rush. Dallas let La’el Collins go during the offseason, and they just saw Tyron Smith go down to an injury that will keep him out at least six weeks. That makes both starting tackles from a year ago a thing of the past, at least for now, and it means that Dak Prescott will be running for his life, while Ezekiel Elliott and Tony Pollard will have a hard time finding room in the running game.
Tom Brady put up career-best numbers last year and continues to look ageless. The sportscasting deal he signed with Fox Sports will pay him nine figures and makes 2022 almost certainly his last playing in the NFL. It’s hard to see Brady doing anything but playing at top form this season, and that will begin with slicing and dicing a Dallas secondary that lost a couple of key starters without any significant additions through free agency.
Why should you put your money on the Cowboys?
Dak Prescott has shown that he is a gritty leader during his time at quarterback for the Cowboys. Even when his accuracy is a bit off, he finds a way to lead his team on crucial drives. This year, he won’t have Michael Gallup (injury rehab) or Amari Cooper (gone to Cleveland) running routes for him, which means that CeeDee Lamb is not only the top receiver but also the only real target for opposing cornerbacks. So expect some big plays, and expect tight end Dalton Schultz to get some key touches.
Dan Quinn returns as defensive coordinator, and so while such losses as Randy Gregory have reduced the talent on this side of the ball, Quinn’s scheme remains a solid one. If the Cowboys can keep Leonard Fournette from doing a lot of damage on the ground, they were able to mount a pass rush at times last year, led by rookie Micah Parsons.
Final Score and Prediction
Jerry Jones says that the Cowboys have all the contributors they need to contend for a Super Bowl title this year. I suppose that means that you don’t need an elite left tackle, and that you can play outstanding defense for 17 games led by a youth movement. I don’t see Dak outdueling Tom Brady, so I would take the Bucs here. Tampa Bay 30, Dallas 23.
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