Dallas Cowboys vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Where the Game Will Be Won

Jessica Montoya Coggins@JessicaMCogginsContributor ISeptember 21, 2012

SEATTLE, WA - SEPTEMBER 16:  Quarterback Tony Romo #9 of the Dallas Cowboys shouts instructions to Miles Austin #19 during a game against the Seattle Seahawks at CenturyLink Field on September 16, 2012 in Seattle, Washington. Seattle won the game 27-7.  (Photo by Stephen Brashear/Getty Images)
Stephen Brashear/Getty Images

Watching the Cowboys muster only seven points against the Seattle Seahawks last weekend certainly quieted any notions that the team will be an offensive powerhouse. It also raised some serious concerns about just how quickly turnovers can put this team in a hole it can’t climb out of.

10 points came to Seattle from major special teams goofs, and afterwards, the Cowboys looked out of sync and unfocused, reminding us all why they went 8-8 last year. 

Tampa Bay initially throttled the Giants in the first half of their matchup by capitalizing on turnovers. It’s pretty easy to imagine the scenario could unfold again. But would the Cowboys be able to bounce back? If they want to secure the win, the Cowboys are going to have to rely on Romo’s arm. 

Though Tampa Bay entered the fourth quarter of its game against the Giants up by two touchdowns, the Bucs ultimately allowed Eli Manning an astonishing 510 passing yards. The week prior in their win against the Carolina Panthers, Cam Newton threw for over 300 yards.

Romo is fully capable of throwing somewhere in that vicinity. If he can target Kevin Ogletree or Miles Austin, like he did week one, then the Cowboys can win this game easily.

A major source of concern, however, is tight end Jason Witten, initially unsure to play Week 1 because of a lacerated spleen. To sum it up so far, he is totally out of rhythm with Romo. It’s hard to imagine how much longer the team can handle the rest of the season if Witten doesn’t come back to his full strength. In addition to being Romo’s favorite target, he’s also a great blocker.

DeMarco Murray has yet to score a touchdown for the Cowboys this season, despite running well the last two games.

Blocking for the run has been one of the few things the Buccaneers offense has handled masterfully. Last week, Tampa Bay held Andre Brown to 71 yards, but he scored the game-winning touchdown and proved very effective in short yardage situations. If Murray can get his game going, except him to clock at least one touchdown Sunday—but don’t except a major run offense from the Cowboys. 

Against the Cowboys, rookie quarterback Russell Wilson went 15-of-20 and threw for just over 150 yards. Those aren’t exactly marquee numbers, but where the Cowboys really faltered was against Marshawn Lynch. It’s inexcusable for the defense to allow him to run for 122 yards.

For Tampa Bay, Doug Martin has been the featured the running back, with LaGarrette Blount barely getting any looks. There are obviously lingering concerns about the Dallas defense, but it is simply not going to allow Martin to get the same type of yardage as Lynch got.

Tampa Bay is an emboldened team, almost totally remade from the turnover-prone franchise of last year, with new head coach Greg Schiano. This game won’t be a blowout, but if the Cowboys run a smart offense and Romo targets his receivers like he did against the Giants, this should be a win for Dallas.