- The Dallas Cowboys (12-5) are 2.5-point road favorites over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (8-9)
- Tom Brady finished under .500 for the first time in his storied 22-year career
- Super Wild Card Weekend from Raymond James Stadium kicks off on Monday, January 16 at 8:15pm ET on ESPN
Dallas isn’t just facing the Buccaneers on Monday night. They’re up against the mystique of seven-time Super Bowl champion Tom Brady. Can the Cowboys overcome a history of playoff failure and topple the all-time great in Tampa Bay?
Buccaneers vs Cowboys
|Spread||Money Line||Total Points|
|Dallas Cowboys||-2.5 (-114)||-140||Ov 45.5 (-110)|
|Tampa Bay Buccaneers||+2.5 (-106)||+120||Un 45.5 (-110)|
The legend of Tom Brady
Despite finishing with four more wins than their first-round opponent, the 12-5 Cowboys have to travel to Raymond James Stadium on Monday night. Mike McCarthy’s team ranks top five in points scored (27.5) and points allowed (20.1) per week. Yet, he’s probably coaching for his job. Dallas has gone one-and-done in seven of their past 11 playoff appearances with eight-consecutive road losses.
Meanwhile, Tom Brady is 7-0 in his career against the Cowboys, including a 19-3 victory in Week 1. The 45-year-old living legend has also won four-in-a-row as a playoff underdog and is 7-3 all-time in the postseason as an underdog. Defeating Jerry Jones’ club on Super Wild Card Weekend would give Brady his 36th playoff win. That would be one more than the entire Cowboys franchise.
Tom Brady has a chance to improve to 8-0 with a win vs. Dallas in the NFC Wild Card matchup 👀 pic.twitter.com/H50t7gs5rQ
— NFL on ESPN (@ESPNNFL) January 11, 2023
How bad are the Buccaneers?
The 8-9 Buccaneers won their second-straight NFC South title despite struggling to score points all year. Tampa Bay averaged the eighth-fewest points per week (18.4) in the NFL. Still, thanks to being a bad division, they squeaked into the postseason with a series of fourth-quarter comebacks against the Rams, Saints and Cardinals.
Todd Bowles’ defense is top-ten against the pass, but only middle of the pack against the run. Therefore, it will be vital for Ezekiel Elliott and Tony Pollard to find success on the ground. The duo has gone cold in their past two games and the Bucs permitted only 71 rushing yards to Dallas in Week 1.
Tampa Bay vs Dallas
The Cowboys are 2.5-point home favorites on Monday night and the over-under is set at 45.5. Dallas is actually averaging the most points per game (32.5) in the NFL since Dak Prescott returned from a thumb injury. However, the veteran quarterback led the league in interceptions (15) despite missing five games. Prescott has tossed pick sixes in three of his past four starts and takes a seven-game interception streak into Super Wild Card Weekend.
While Tom Brady finished the year top ten in passing yards (4,700) and touchdowns (25), he struggled under pressure, ranking 29th in QB rating and 31st in yards per attempt. Somehow, he’ll have to overcome a decimated offensive line and get the ball out quick against Micah Parsons and the Cowboys’ top-ranked pass rush.
Dak Prescott is the first player in NFL history to lead (or share lead of) the NFL in interceptions despite missing 5+ games pic.twitter.com/ho0gCBuc1D
— NFL on CBS 🏈 (@NFLonCBS) January 9, 2023
Dallas’ 26-6 loss to Washington in Week 18 sure didn’t inspire confidence. But maybe, just maybe, we’re all overreacting to their performance in a meaningless game. The Cowboys have been the far better team all season and will cruise to victory as long as they don’t let the Bucs keep it close enough for Brady to stage another miraculous fourth-quarter comeback.
Final Score Prediction: Cowboys 30, Buccaneers 20
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