There is a very simple way to predict who will win the upcoming game between the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the Dallas Cowboys.
As much as people would like to pretend that it is, football isn’t rocket science. Numbers and data do tell a huge story in how the sport should be played and how teams with certain strategies will perform, and the upcoming game between the Buccaneers and the Cowboys is no different.
These numbers and strategies obviously aren’t flawless, especially when there are aspects of football that are impossible to plan for, but there is one aspect of the upcoming game that should determine who wins the game:
The team that commits least to establishing the run will win.
Lovers of the run can cry more.
This is not to say that the team that runs more will lose, especially when looking at the ends of games where teams have the eat clock by running the ball, but the team that runs most on first down, second and long, and third and long in early situations is going to be at a massive disadvantage.
The Bucs and the Cowboys are very similar on paper. Good defenses with comparable strengths and weaknesses, excellent passing attacks, and the impossible-to-understand desire to establish the run.
The Cowboys do it with Ezekiel Elliott, and the Bucs do the same with Leonard Fournette. These are both good backs, but using either instead of the top-10 quarterbacks and the talented wide receivers is silly.
While the Cowboys almost won the game last year despite starting to pass later in the game, their initial heavy use of the run is really what cost them the game.
With a similar matchup coming up this weekend, the Bucs and the Cowboys are playing against themselves as much as they are playing against the other.
Mark it down: the team that tries to establish the run more is going to lose this game.
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