After a hard fought regular season the Dallas Cowboys find themselves in the playoffs yet again for the second year in a row. This time they’ll be taking their talents down to Tampa Bay in an attempt to finally overcome The Curse of Brady. For Dallas to finally disrupt Tom Brady’s 7-0 record against them won’t be an easy task, but this season could be what Cowboys’ fans have been waiting for.
Dallas seems to be catching a break in their favor as it looks that three starters are returning from injury. Leighton Vander Esch, Jonathan Hankins, and Tyler Biadasz are all on track to return just in time for the playoffs. Their progress in practice throughout the week indicates they’re coming to make some noise for Dallas.
Adding Biadasz back in at center will be crucial to getting the ground game established against the Bucs. On the flip side Vander Esch and Hankins will be doing the opposite by returning to keep the Tampa ground game in check.
Bucs’ RB Rachaad White vs. Seahawks’ S Quandre Diggs: pic.twitter.com/JkoumCrjZg
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) November 13, 2022
Rachaad White and Leonard Fournette combined for over 1100 yards and four touchdowns this season on the ground. In the first match-up both combined for over 150 yards which helped Tampa control the tempo. The duo has much success due to their ability break tackles and gain yards after contact. If Dallas hopes to walk out of Florida with a win, they’ll have to be ready to be more physical than Tampa’s backfield.
As for Tampa, stopping the ground attack for the Cowboys won’t be a walk in the park either. Over the last 10 weeks, Ezekiel Elliott has 11 rushing touchdowns. When you add Tony Pollard’s slice of the pie, he and Zeke have combined for 24 touchdowns this season. It isn’t hard to notice that Dallas’ backfield has a great sense for getting into the end-zone.
#Cowboys Need this version of the O Line & Ezekiel Elliott for the playoffs…Here are some of Zeke's best runs for this season… pic.twitter.com/cUIvDLdIyZ
— Law Nation Sports (@LawsNation) January 14, 2023
However, it also isn’t a given that this combo will have its way with the Bucs’ defense either. In their first time around, Tampa held this duo to under 75 total yards and no touchdowns. Now that the stakes are much higher, Dallas can’t afford to have a repeat of the first meeting. Having the run game be effective early on will set the tone while opening up the passing attack for Dallas.
This game has more implications than just moving on to the next round of the playoffs. It’s time for the Dallas Cowboys to show everyone that this year is actually different. Time for the Cowboys to prove to the world that they are in fact America’s Team.
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