Dallas Cowboys vs Tampa Bay Buccaneers Matchup Preview - January 16th, 2023

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The last time these two teams played each other was Week 1 in 2022. That game resulted in a home win for the Buccaneers with a final score of 19-3. The Buccaneers entered that game as a slight road favorite. They were favored by 2.5 points before covering the spread. The Game Total for that game was 49.5 and which the Under hit.

It would be great to say something notable about Dallas, but they been about as unremarkable as a team can be this season. Offensively, they rank #12 in the league in yards per game (351). They haven't been strong or deficient in either facet of their offense, ranking #16 in passing yards per game (231) and #16 in yards per carry (4.4). They've been middle of the pack on defense as well, ranking #15 in yards allowed per game (339). Pass defense and run defense? You guessed it: #15 and #11 in the NFL, respectively. For all the good it's done them, the Cowboys like to lean on the run, keeping it on the ground for 43.5% of their play calls in a neutral context, #9-most in football. It's worth noting that they've run a very up-tempo offense this year. They've averaged 26.58 seconds per play, #4-fastest in the league. Perhaps of note is that they've no-huddle on offense (excluding plays run inside the two-minute warning) on 12.6% of their plays this year, #9-most in the league. Keeping a winded defense on the field (and unable to swap into different packages) can provide an advantage to an offense and at least keep them at a serviceable level. In terms of their offense, the Cowboys have ranked #12 in the league in total yards per game. They've passed for 231 yards per game (#16 in football). On the ground they've ranked #16 with 4.4 yards per carry.

Tampa Bay's primary disadvantage this season has been their rushing offense, which has ranked #32 in football with a low 3.69 yards per carry. The most important component of a strong ground game is a good offensive line. If the line isn't opening up holes and creating space, it doesn't matter how good a team's running backs are. Unfortunately for Tampa Bay, their line ranks #5-worst in the league in run blocking. Perhaps because they routinely failt to successfully establish the run, Tampa Bay has also lacked effectiveness through the air. They've scraped together a measly 6.47 yards per target, ranking the bottom 10 in football. When it comes to their defense, the Buccaneers check in at #11 in football when it comes to total yards allowed per game. Opposing air attacks have notched 206 yards per game against Tampa Bay this year (#9 in football). Opposing ball-carriers have ranked #19 against them with 4.58 yards per ground attempt. This Buccaneers defense hits their peak effectiveness when it comes to defending opposing running backs, keeping them in check at just 24 yards per game (#2-best in the league). Tampa Bay's defensive effectiveness bottoms out when it comes to defending opposing tight ends, who have caught 74.6% of their passes (#7-highest in the league).

Dallas Cowboys Insights

  • The Sharp Model projects Dak Prescott to be a more integral piece of his team's run game this week (12.6% projected Carry Share) than he has been this year (6.5% in games he has played).

  • Dak Prescott has thrown for many fewer yards per game (241.0) this season than he did last season (288.0).

  • The Dallas Cowboys have gone no-huddle on 12.6% of their plays outside the two-minute warning since the start of last season (9th-most in the NFL). This quickens the pace, leading to more volume and stat-padding.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers Insights

  • The Sharp Model projects this game to have the least plays run out of all the games this week at 143.6 plays, accounting for the tendencies of each team and game dynamics.

  • Mike Evans has notched quite a few more air yards this year (117.0 per game) than he did last year (102.0 per game).

  • The Sharp Model projects Mike Evans to accumulate 0.40 receiving touchdowns in this contest, on average, putting him in the 89th percentile among wide receivers.

Betting Trends

  • The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have scored first in 4 of their last 5 games at home (+2.70 Units / 39% ROI)

  • The Dallas Cowboys have hit the Moneyline in 12 of their last 16 games (+6.15 Units / 10% ROI)

  • Tom Brady has hit the Rushing Yards Under in 9 of his last 10 games (+7.00 Units / 45% ROI)