Monday Night Football NFL wild card odds preview: Cowboys at Buccaneers trends, pick

Tampa Bay Buccaneers' Devin White, center left, sacks Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott (4) as running back Tony Pollard (20) and linebacker Shaquil Barrett (58) look on in the second half of a NFL football game in Arlington, Texas, Sunday, Sept. 11, 2022. (AP Photo/Ron Jenkins)

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Dallas Cowboys will both look to advance to the divisional round of the NFL playoffs as they face off in Tampa on Monday night.

The Cowboys will look to get things rolling again after a very disappointing loss to the Washington Commanders last week. Dallas played their starters as they were still in contention for the No. 1 seed, but it didn’t matter as the team made a ton of mistakes. Dak Prescott threw a pick-6 and the special teams had a muffed punt and a bobbled snap on a punt. It was the worst performance by the Cowboys since Week 1, when they lost 19-3 to the Buccaneers in Arlington, Texas. Prescott hurt his hand in that game and only threw for 134 yards and an interception.

The Buccaneers won that game with their strong defense, as they have in many of their wins this season. However, the offense appears to be hitting its stride. Two weeks ago in the division-clinching win against the Panthers, Tom Brady threw for 432 yards and three touchdowns, with Mike Evans catching all three of those touchdowns with 207 yards receiving. Brady will be looking to move to 8-0 all-time against the Cowboys.

FanDuel Sportsbook has listed the Cowboys as a 2.5-point favorite with an over/under of 45.5.

Let’s take a closer look at the odds and trends:

Dallas Cowboys at Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Time/TV: 8:15 p.m. ET, Monday, ESPN

Point spread (from Caesars Sportsbook): Dallas -2.5

Money line: Dallas -132, Tampa Bay +112

Over/under: 45.5

Analysis: The Cowboys have one of the best rushing attacks in the NFL. The combination of Tony Pollard (1,007 yards rushing) and Ezekiel Elliot (876 yards) has emerged as one of the best 1-2 rushing attacks in the NFL. Pollard is more of the home run threat and receiving option, while Elliott has the ability to wear out

defenses late in the game. Wide receiver CeeDee Lamb has emerged as one of the best receivers in the NFL. On the season, Lamb has 107 catches for 1.359 yards and nine touchdowns. If Dallas can get the run game going, Lamb could have a big day. On defense, Micah Parsons is having a Defensive Player of the Year-type of season, but injuries in the secondary could be a huge thing to watch for in this game.

Tom Brady has been solid all year for the Buccaneers, throwing for 4,694 yards and 25 touchdowns with only nine interceptions. However, it is the big plays that are lacking. He is averaging only 6.4 yards per pass attempt, which is tied for the lowest season he has had since 2002. The Buccaneers’ offense also has struggled on the ground, as the team averages only 76.9 yards rushing per game, last in the NFL by a wide margin (Houston was next-worst at 86.8 yards). Wide receivers Mike Evans (1,124 yards) and Chris Godwin (1,023 yards) could have big-time matchup advantages against the Cowboys’ secondary.

The Buccaneers have quietly started to play some good football, and they will play just well enough to get the win.

Prediction: Buccaneers 24, Cowboys 20


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