Every week during the season, we’ll scout out the Cowboys' next opponent. This week, that opponent is the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
The Opponent: Tampa did an overhaul this offseason, bringing in Greg Schiano as coach and signing a couple of big ticket free agents to help wipe the taste of the Raheem Morris out of thier mouths. The team has certainly shown more aggressiveness in the first two weeks, although that wound up creating some problems for the team at the end of their matchup with the Giants.
The Line: Cowboys by 7, which seems a bit large given everything that we've seen from both teams in the first two weeks of the season.
Last Game: It looked like the Bucs were going to do the Cowboys a solid in the Meadowlands when they took a 27-13 lead over the Giants in the third quarter on Sunday. They couldn't stop Eli Manning and his receivers in the fourth quarter, though, and wound up 41-34 losers with a performance that looked like a vintage Cowboys loss to the Giants.
The Coach: What is it about NFL coaches named Greg or Gregg? Gregg Williams was the great villain of the Saints bounty scandal and now Greg Schiano has opened up a basket of criticism with his decision to have his team charge the Giants line on the final kneeldown on the Week Two loss. Now we know why Greg Gumbel went into broadcasting.
The Offense: Signing Vincent Jackson was a masterstroke. He's the kind of No. 1 receiver who can take a 50-50 ball and improve the team's odds of a completion significantly. That's the right kind of receiver to team with Josh Freeman, a guy who keeps plays alive long enough to throw up a lot of those kinds of passes. We'll see how drafting Doug Martin turns out, although we have our doubts that any running back in the current NFL is worth trading up to get in the first round.
The Defense: It looked very good in the win over Carolina, but the secondary was hideous in the Giants loss. Getting more pressure on the quarterback would help, but it feels like the defense is going to lag behind the offense in Tampa when it comes to turnarounds. Defensive tackle Gerald McCoy has shown signs of making good on his lofty 2010 draft status, something that would help a tremendous amount.
Key Matchup: DeMarcus Ware vs. Donald Penn - The Cowboys linebacker was much too quiet in the loss to the Seahawks and Dallas isn't going to win unless Ware successfully disrupts the offense more often than he did in Week Two. Penn is a good left tackle, so there should be a fair amount of one-on-one matchups for Ware to try to win this Sunday.