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Out Of The Chute: Cowboys at Bucs

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Out Of The Chute: Cowboys at Bucs

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Josh Freeman of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers attempts a pass during the game against the Jacksonville Jaguars.

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Every week during the season, we’ll scout out the Cowboys next opponent. This week, that opponent is the Tampa Bay Bucs.

The Opponent: The Tampa Bay Bucs. This is the team I picked to win the NFC this season. My bad.

Record: 4-9.

The Line: Cowboys by 6.5.

Last Game: A 41-14 beatdown from the 4-9 Jaguars. The Bucs led in this game 14-0 before letting the Jags rip off 41 unanswered points. MJD scored four times against this defense. Just to emphasize how bad a loss this was, consider that the Jags had failed to score more than 20 points all season long before encountering the Bucs. Tampa has now lost seven games in a row, and they've allowed 79 combined points in their last two games. They're pretty much the perfect opponent for Dallas right about now.

The Coach: Raheem Morris. Don't get too used to seeing him here.

The Offense: Josh Freeman has regressed terribly in his third season. He's thrown 12 picks in his last six games, and he has 18 picks on the season to go with just 12 touchdown passes. Freeman threw six picks all of last season, so his fall from grace has been both swift and utterly inexplicable. Remember, this is a team that beat both Atlanta and New Orleans earlier in the season. Then October hit and they fell apart completely. I don't understand it at all. Wideout Mike Williams has also struggled along with Freeman. About the only bright spot in this dreadful Bucs season has been LeGarrette Blount, who can be quite effective when he isn't punching people.

The Defense: 29th overall. Horrible against the run. Horrible against the pass. Morris has been chastised this season for keeping cornerback Aqib Talib around despite Talib's arrest in the offseason. If the Cowboys can't have their way against this sorry lot, then you know they're finished.

Key Matchup: The Cowboys vs. the fourth quarter. The Cowboys should win this game. But if the Bucs keep this thing close going into the fourth quarter... Well, you and I both know that bad things can and will happen.

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