Tampa Bay Buccaneers vs. Dallas Cowboys
Two teams looking to end losing streaks face off on Saturday as the Tampa Bay Buccaneers host the Dallas Cowboys. The Cowboys are -6 point favorites over the Buccaneers with an over/under point total of 46.5.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have to be one of the biggest disappointments this season as they went from barely missing the playoffs last season to being one of the worst teams in the NFL over the past two months. It appears to have all come unraveled for Raheem Morris and the Buccaneers and it would be surprising if there weren’t major changes on the way. QB Josh Freeman appears to be regressing instead of improving and his turnovers eventually led to his benching last week against Jacksonville and being replaced with Josh Johnson. For the season Freeman has completed 61.2 percent of his passes with 12 touchdowns and 18 interceptions. The Tampa Bay backfield has been decimated by injuries but it’s LeGarrette Blount left and he’s averaging 4.4 yards per carry for 737 yards and four touchdowns. Mike Williams has 60 catches and three touchdowns, Kellen Winslow has 58 catches and two touchdowns, and Preston Parker has 35 catches and three touchdowns. Defensively Tampa Bay has 20 sacks, 10 fumble recoveries, and 13 interceptions with a minus 10 turnover ratio and they allow 388.5 yards and 28.5 points per game. Sean Jones has 80 tackles, Ronde Barber has 67 tackles, and Mason Foster has 63 tackles but clearly this is a deflated group. The Bucs are clearly a team in disarray and in a vicious downward spiral.
The Dallas Cowboys have hit the skids at the worst possible time and they have gone from controlling their own destiny in the playoff picture to being on the outside looking in. The Cowboys let it get away from them on Sunday Night in a pivotal game against NFC East rival the New York Giants and now despite being tied in the standings the Giants hold the tiebreaker though they do meet again before the season ends. Tony Romo has completed 64.9 percent of his passes for 3,646 yards with 26 touchdowns and nine interceptions. DeMarco Murray emerged as a “go to” back averaging 5.5 yards per carry for 897 yards and two touchdowns but now he is gone for the season so Felix Jones will get another chance to prove he is an every down back. Jason Witten has 64 catches and five touchdowns, Dez Bryant has 47 catches and eight touchdowns, and Laurent Robinson has 46 catches and eight touchdowns. Defensively Dallas has 35 sacks, 11 fumble recoveries, and 15 interceptions and a plus five turnover ratio and they allow 344.5 yards and 21.6 points per game. Sean Lee has 87 tackles, Gerald Sensabaugh has 67 tackles, and DeMarcus Ware as 15 sacks. After this one Dallas finishes the season against the Eagles and then at the Giants, two teams highly motivated to ruin the Cowboys’ season.
Tampa Bay is 8-3 against the spread in their last 11 games as an underdog of 3.5 to 10 points, 1-5 against the spread following a loss, and 5-16 against the spread as a home underdog. Dallas is 1-3-1 against the spread in their last five road games, 0-4 against the spread in their last four games overall, and 0-5 against the spread in their last five games against the NFC. The Cowboys have covered in four of the last five meetings of these two but the home team has covered in five of the last six meetings.
With the total at 46.5 I have to wonder where all of these points are going to come from even in the offense happy NFL and I look for this one to be comfortably under the total and that will be my pick, under 46.5.