DALLAS COWBOYS (7-6) at TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS (4-9)
Saturday, 8:20 PM ET, NFL Network, Sirius (Dal 92, TB 93), Westwood One Radio
Dallas lost a heartbreaker Sunday night to division rival Giants. Their playoff hope is very much alive if they win out. That means sweeping aside the Buccaneers tonight, avenging an early season loss to the Eagles, and then winning the New Year’s rematch with the Giants.
The NFL bills this game as the “Saturday edition of Thursday Night Football.” Really? That’s the best they’ve got? Well, Cowboys-Buccaneers does have the same appeal as Falcons-Jaguars. This is the only NFL game going. What are you going to do?
What To Watch
Dallas QB Tony Romo has thrown 26 touchdowns and nine interceptions. Tampa Bay QB Josh Freeman has thrown 12 touchdowns and 18 interceptions. The difference in performance tells all you need to know about the offense of the two teams. The Bucs have yet to break 30 points in a game this season. The Cowboys have done so four times this year, including the 34 points in the losing effort against the Giants. They face the NFC’s most generous defense for points allowed. The Tampa Bay is 0-5 since signing DT Albert Haynesworth.
The young Buccaneers are learning a hard lesson. Improving upon excellence is harder than achieving it. The Tampa Bay achieved a franchise high point by beating nemesis New Orleans at home. But, they could not live with success. Their seven-game losing streak includes last week’s 41-14 beatdown by the Jaguars, themselves the 41-14 loser to the Falcons Thursday night. (Queue the Twilight Zone Theme). “Youngry” is not enough for Tampa to win.
The Bucs are superior to the Cowboys in one respect, running the ball. But that’s because DeMarco Murray is lost to the Cowboys for the rest of the season. LeGarrette Blount is a bull of a rusher for Tampa. The Bucs would be wise to give him more rushes than QB Josh Freeman has pass attempts. Dallas is favored by 7.
Who Will Win
The Cowboys will always be the Cowboys, but even they won’t blow this one. DALLAS.