Tampa Bay Buccaneers (1-0) at New York Giants (0-1)
Location: Cowboys Stadium, Dallas, TX
Nat’l TV: N/A
Bucs TV: MyFOX 5 (FOX)
Away TV: KFDW (FOX)
Announcers: Joe Buck/Troy Aikman/Pam Oliver
Live Stream: NFL Live Stream
Radio: WDAE 620AM (Tampa), KRLD 105.3FM (Dallas)
Satellite Radio: Sirius 125 (Bucs Feed), Sirius 93 (CowboysFeed)
Weather: 93°F, Sunny
Line: Cowboys by 8
Injury Report: TAMPA BAY — WR Sammie Stroughter (IR), CB Anthony Gaitor (OUT), CB E.J. Biggers (PROBABLE), CB Eric Wright (PROBABLE), RT Jeremy Trueblood (PROBABLE), RE Adrian Clayborn (PROBABLE), LB Quincy Black (PROBABLE)
DALLAS — DT Jay Ratliff (OUT), C Phil Costa (OUT), LB Alex Albright (OUT), DT DeMarcus Ware (PROBABLE), TE Jason Witten (PROBABLE), WR Miles Austin (PROBABLE), LB Sean Lee (PROBABLE), CB Mike Jenkins (PROBABLE)
Key Matchup: Bucs Secondary vs. Tony Romo
Last week was disgusting to stomach, and that has everything to do with that nasty second half. If the Bucs secondary can play like they did in the first half when the picked off Eli Manning three times, all will be good. But that can’t just be two quarter efforts moving forward, as we saw what happened when the defense doesn’t make proper adjustments. If Aqib Talib and company allow a shootout again, a potentially fatal flaw in this 2012 team could be permanently exposed.
Last Game: Buccaneers lost to Giants 41-34, Cowboys lost to Seahawks 27-7
Last Meeting: December 17, 2011– Buccaneers 15, Cowboys 31
Series History (Since 2001): Cowboys lead series 4-2 (not including playoffs)
Key Bucs Storyline: Will the Bucs secondary implode once again?
Opposing View: Can the Cowboys get back on track after a polarizing start to the season?
Last Minute Preview: These two teams are meeting in reeling positions; both are coming off devastating losses that couldn’t be any different without being painfully similar. The Cowboys git whooped by the Seahawks 27-7 in a game they probably should have won, but they lost because of bad decisions and a late start on offense. The Bucs almost won a shootout against the Super Bowl champs but they reason it got to be a shoot out was because of the poor play and bad decisions by the secondary.
Both teams should have won, both lost because they failed to properly execute.
That’s why Sunday’s matchup between the two is an equally winnable game for each team. It’s all going to come down to who can keep their mistakes in check, or who can better utilize the mistakes by the other team. And it’s the weaknesses on these teams that are polar opposites.
Obviously the Cowboys are going to try and pick apart a secondary that allowed over 500 yards passing to Eli Manning last week. The Cowboys are fully capable of posting a repeat performance with Miles Austin, Kevin Ogletree and Dez Bryant all looking to explode on Sunday. It’s going to be up to Aqib Talib to reverse his vomit-inducing performance against the Cowboys and inspire the defense. If Talib crumbles again it’s going to be a domino effect.
But the Bucs have an equally dangerous flaw on the Cowboys to expose and that’s their run defense. The Cowboys have allowed the 12th-most fantasy points and that not only means good news for owners of Doug Martin, but it’s good news for the Bucs. Last week the passing game got going and that’s because Martin rushed for 66 yards.
If Martin can again get rolling on the ground, that should keep the Cowboys safeties on their heels and it will put immense pressure on the Cowboys dynamic duo at corner.
Rob Ryan has to be salivating at the chance to throw his hound dogs at the Bucs. Ryan had been pining for a pair of shutdown corners like his twin brother has up in New York, and Rob Ryan now has that in Brandon Carr and rookie Morris Claiborne. Last week was either a hiccup or a vision of how the dup will play moving forward.
For the Bucs, they’ll be facing the cornerback they passed up in the draft in Claiborne, a guy they were heavily rumored to want. Right now the Bucs are a little red in the face for passing on Claiborne given the problems at corner. However, Mark Barron has proved worth the pick thus far and the two will have dueling performances. Despite the position difference, Barron has been pulled back into coverage situations a lot and is looking like the only competent defender in the secondary.
It’s going to be another massive matchup and the fact that the Bucs are in a position to win is incredible. It’s the Fox Game of the Week yet again with Joe Buck and Troy Aikman calling a Bucs game for the second straight week. The national spotlight is on the Bucs yet again, and if you think that’s because of the kneel-down — get over it.
This is yet another chance for the Bucs to shine and despite a loss last week, a lot of people in high and intelligent places where impressed by their play. That’s a huge building block the Bucs are standing on and finishing a tough three game stretch 2-1 is going to go a long way.
Prediction: Bucs 31, Cowboys 28