Opening Line: Cowboys -7
Time: 8:30 PM EST Sunday December 18, 2016 on NBC
Tampa Bay Buccaneers (8-5) vs. Dallas Cowboys (11-2)
The Buccaneers have won five in a row and they are tied atop the NFC South with the Atlanta Falcons. The reasons for the Tampa Bay win streak has been their defense, which has given up an average only 12.8 ppg in the five games. That D was even more impressive last week holding the New Orleans Saints, who ranks 2nd in the league in ppg, to only 11 points picking off Drew Brees three times.
The Cowboys had their NFC East clinching party put on hold in their last game, which was a 10-7 loss to the New York Giants. Dallas had their 11-game win streak snapped and after the loss there were rumblings that Tony Romo should take over with Dak Prescott not having a good game. However, the rookie will be under center in this game. Dallas nearly lost their previous game to the Giants and in their last two games they are a combined 2/23 on 3rd downs.
In their last games the Buccaneers beat the New Orleans Saints 16-11 and the Cowboys lost to the New York Giants 10-7.
On the season the Bucs are 8-5 ATS with an O/U record of 6-6-1 and the Cowboys are 9-4 ATS with an O/U record of 5-8.
In the Bucs big win over the Saints in their last game they had 24 fewer yards total than New Orleans, but still held them to less than 300 yards and they forced three turnovers while they did not commit any. QB Jameis Winston only passed for 184 yards with 0 TD and 0 INT and RB Doug Martin only rushed for 66 yards averaging 2.9 yards per carry. You can see with these stats that the Bucs won the game with their defense.
Tampa Bay beat New Orleans, who have one of the worst defenses in the NFL and now face a Dallas one that ranks 5th in the league in opponents’ points allowed. The Cowboys only rank 28th in the league in pass defense, but 2nd in run defense.
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The Cowboys lost an ugly game in their last one to the Giants where each team had only 260 total yards. Prescott had his worst game of the season passing for only 165 yards with a TD and he was picked off twice and sacked three times. Even in the loss rookie RB Ezekiel Elliot, who leads the league in rushing yards, had 104 yards averaging a respectable 4.5 yards per carry.
Tampa Bay’s defense came up big in their last game against the Saints, but overall they still only rank 16th in the league defending the pass and 21st defending the run.
Tampa Bay at Dallas Betting Trends
- The Bucs are 4-0 ATS in their last 4 road games, 5-0 ATS in their last 5 games overall, and in their last 4 games they have an Under record of 3-0-1.
- The Cowboys are 4-1 ATS in their last 5 home games, 9-3 ATS in their last 12 games overall, and they have an Under record of 7-3 in their last 10 games.
- The favorite is 5-2 ATS in the last 7 games between these teams.
- In the last 5 games between these teams the Under record is 4-1.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Dallas Cowboys Prediction
Tampa Bay comers into this game on a five-game win streak. The Buccaneers have been played great defense over the five games allowing a stingy 12.8 points per game. Their offense hasn’t shone, but it hasn’t had to and they do catch a break this week going up against the Cowboys’ beat up secondary. This won’t be an easy game for Dallas against the surprising Bucs and while taking the points is an option I think that the total holds more value.
Take the UNDER 46.5