Tampa Bay Buccaneers vs. Dallas Cowboys: Unit vs. Unit Breakdown

Tom EdringtonSenior Writer ISeptember 22, 2012

Josh Freeman needs to be wary of DeMarcus Ware.
Josh Freeman needs to be wary of DeMarcus Ware.Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images

This is getting the Groundhog Day feel.

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are on the road, facing a talented NFC East opponent and they're a 7.5-point underdog.

The Dallas Cowboys, just like the Giants were last week, are in a foul mood after eating from the dung-pile of defeat at the hands of the Sleepless in Seattle Seahawks.

We know that didn't leave a very good taste.

The Cowboys now return to The Palace That Jerry Built for their home opener and the 1-1 Buccaneers are once again up against a lot of talent.

Without further delay so as not to confuse the replacement refs, let's get right to it with the breakdown.



Quarterback: Tony Romo vs. Josh Freeman

Romo's got the edge in experience and has had nothing but great results against the Buccaneers. Our only hope is that he might be overconfident after watching what Eli Manning did against the the Buccaneer secondary last Sunday.

Advantage: Cowboys


Running backs:  DeMarco Murray, Lawrence Vickers vs. Doug Martin, LeGarrette Blount, D.J. Ware, Erik Lorig.

Don't know why we put LeGarrette Blount on the list—apparently as far as Greg Schiano is concerned, he's the Invisible Man.

Advantage:  Cowboys


Wide receivers, tight end:  Dez Bryant, Miles Austin, Kevin Ogletree, Jason Witten vs. Vincent Jackson, Mike Williams, Arrelious Benn, Dallas Clark.

Apparently Josh Freeman knows about Jackson and Williams and Clark in the fourth quarter. The Dallas crew is simply more talented overall.

Advantage: Cowboys, big advantage.


Offensive line: Tyron Smith (LT), Nate Livings (LG), Ryan Cook (C) (Phil Costa listed as out), Mackenzy Bernadena (RG), Doug Free (RT) vs. Donald Penn (LT), Carl Nicks (LG), Jeremy Zuttah (C), Ted Larsen (RG), Demar Dotson (RT).

Dallas starting center Phil Costa is out and left tackle Tyron Smith has proven vulnerable. Tampa is solid, giving Josh Freeman time last week against a great Giants D-line.

Advantage: Buccaneers.



Defensive line: Marcus Spears (DT), Josh Brent (NT), Jason Hatcher (NT) vs. Adrian Clayborn (RDE), Gerald McCoy (DT), Roy Miller (DT), Michael Bennett (LDE).

Defensive tackle Jay Ratliff is out, as is defensive end Kenyon Coleman. The Bucs didn't touch Eli Manning last Sunday. They'd better touch Romo early and often or it could get ugly again. 

Advantage:  Push


Linebackers: Anthony Spencer, Bruce Carter, Sean Lee, DeMarcus Ware vs. Lavonte David, Mason Foster, Quincy Black.

Better not let DeMarcus Ware get off. He's a total sacking beast.

Advantage:  Cowboys


Secondary: Brandon Carr (LCB), Morris Claiborne (RCB), Danny McCray (FS), Barry Church (SS) vs. Aqib Talib (LCB), Eric Wright (RCB), Ronde Barber (FS), Mark Barron (SS).

Dallas may be without free safety Gerald Sensabaugh. We get to see Claiborne, the player the Bucs passed on in favor of Barron. After last week, you would think the Buccaneer secondary is shell-shocked.

Advantage: Cowboys



Chris Jones (P), Dan Bailey (K), Dez Bryant (PR), Felix Jones? (KR) vs. Michael Hoenin (P), Connor Barth (K), Jordan Shipley (PR), Arrelious Benn (KR).

Advantage: Buccaneers, slight advantage.

Overall, it's going to be a real tough challenge for the Buccaneers.

Last week created a lot of doubt.


Prediction:    Dallas 24, Tampa Bay 20.