The Talking Plank - Week 8
The Talking Plank - Week 8
Bucs At Cowboys:
The Bucs travel to Dallas where they are 1-8 over their history. But the Cowboys don't look to be as intimidating now with several key players now out. The Bucs have a very good chance at going into Dallas and stealing a win from a banged up team. If they do, they'll be 6-2 and well on their way to earning a playoff bid.
On Offense, the Bucs come in ranked 8th overall (352.6y/g), 16th in points (23/g), 14th passing (221.1y/g), and 9th rushing (130.4y/g). The Cowboys' defense is ranked 11th in yards allowed (303.9y/g), 24th in points allowed (25/g), 16th against the pass (201.7y/g), and 13th against the run (102.1y/g). The Cowboys run a 3-4 defense now with a lot of disguised blitzes. They've racked up 20 sacks, though they've played some poor lines. So they will come after Garcia a lot. Fortunately for the Bucs, the Cowboys aren't very big on the defensive line, which is not the norm for a 3-4 that typically needs a lot of beef at the nose. The Bucs should be able to get enough of a running game going to make it a threat. The big key, however, will be in keeping Garcia upright for most of the game. If they can, then he will be able to take advantage of the secondary that now lacks it's best corner (suspension), and it's top back-up/replacement (injury). The Cowboys have been vulnerable in the secondary with those guys in there. They also don't get many turnovers (2 picks so far). If Galloway goes, our receivers should be able to really go after them. The Tight Ends could be a huge factor in this game, as they won't be covered by fast, slightly under sized LB's. They will be covered by big guys who are slower. So look for the Tight Ends to get a lot of balls. St. Louis had it's way with this defense last week. The Bucs should be able to have success, but they will need to pick up the blitzes and take advantage of the vacated zones. I think the offense will score often in this game.
On Defense, the Bucs come in ranked 9th overall (292.7y/g), 4th in points allowed (15.3/g), 15th against the pass (201.1y/g), and 10th against the run (91.6y/g). The Cowboys are ranked 3rd in total offense (393.1y/g), 7th in scoring (27/g), 3rd passing (265.9y/g), and 11th rushing (127.3y/g). Once again the Bucs will be facing one of the league's highest rated offenses (something they've done most of the year). The Cowboys will, however, be without Romo at QB, meaning Brad Johnson will start again. His last outing, against a poor Rams club, was very good, and you can expect the same this game as Gruden knows Johnson much the same as he knew Gannon. The Bucs' defense has been getting its hands on balls constantly, grabbing 12 picks to date, with about a dozen dropped. The Bucs will likely want to get in Johnson's face and exacerbate the problem for him. With Felix Jones out, as well as the starting Left Guard, the Bucs will mainly need to only concentrate on stopping Barber. If they can slow or stop him, they'll put a lot of pressure on the Cowboys to beat the Bucs stellar secondary through the air. They might get a big play or two, but the secondary will likely make a lot of plays on its own, and make life difficult for Brad. The Rams are horrid on defense, and still got to Brad 3 times. Unlike a lot of the passers the Bucs have faced recently, Brad is a statue in the pocket. I expect the Bucs to rack up a couple of sacks at the very least. If the Bucs can keep Owens or Williams from getting deep on them, the Bucs could put a lid on the Cowboys' offense, something I expect for them to mostly accomplish.
On Special Teams, the Bucs come in with a sorry 4.9 yards per punt return and 21.6 per kick. They are allowing 10 yards per punt and 21.3 yards per kick. The Cowboys are getting 6.7 yards per punt and 23.9 yards per kick, while allowing 9.1 per punt and 22.6 per kick. Seems both teams have some suckage, so I guess we'll see who sucks the most. I do expec the Bucs to refocus a lot on the Special Teams play and try to turn it around. Bucs have a better punter, and the kickers are roughly the same. I expect the Bucs to play better this time around, but I don't know how much better they will be. Field position will be a big key for the Bucs, and we'll see how it turns out. I personally think neither team will see much of an edge from this group.
In the end, because of some key injuries, and because of how good the Bucs are becoming (they are one of the most balanced teams in the NFL), I see the Bucs winning this game.
Bucs 24 Cowboys 17