The Buccaneers are set to travel to Dallas on Sunday to take on the Cowboys, setting the stage for one of the Bucs' biggest games in recent years. Tampa Bay holds an 8-5 record, which has them tied for the lead in the NFC South. Atlanta owns the tiebreaker, but Tampa Bay would make the playoffs as one of the NFC's two wild card teams if the season were to end today.
The Cowboys have already clinched a spot in the postseason and are on pace to claim the NFC East crown. Dallas fell in their Week 14 matchup with the Giants, but are still 11-2 on the season and currently hold the No. 1 seed in the NFC. Despite the Cowboys' success this season, two NFL Network analysts believe the Buccaneers will win their sixth straight when they travel to AT&T Stadium.
"In this game I think the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are the more motivated team," NFL Network's Bucky Brooks said on his Move the Sticks segment with co-host Daniel Jeremiah. "I think they are the hotter team in terms of finding their identity. On defense they're playing well but on offense, I think Mike Evans gives them the edge. I think he has a big game against the Dallas corners."
Jeremiah agreed, citing the Bucs' defense as the catalyst to Tampa Bay's sixth straight victory. Since Week 10, the Buccaneers have the NFL's best defense in terms of points per game, takeaways and passer rating allowed.
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"Here's the thing about the Bucs," Jeremiah said. "Their defense, man … we can talk about Jameis Winston and Mike Evans and all that (but) their defense is playing outstanding. The Cowboys defense I think is underrated as well. This might end up being a low-scoring game.
"Last week we both picked the Giants to beat the Cowboys and the Cowboys fans ended up being mad at us. We ended up being right. This week you went with the Buccaneers and I join you. I like the Bucs in this one."