The Tampa Bay Buccaneers (3-5) will look to start the second half of the season on a winning note Sunday when they welcome the Dallas Cowboys (2-6) to Raymond James Stadium. Here are a few individual matchups that could play a key role in determining the outcome of the first Bucs-Cowboys matchup in three years:
QB Jameis Winston vs. S J.J. Wilcox
Wilcox is the only member of the Cowboys secondary with a takeaway through eight games this year. The team as a whole has just one fumble recovery and three interceptions. Winston comes in with four-straight INT-free games. Continuing his clean streak will help keep the Cowboys' offense off the field.
LT Donovan Smith vs. DE Greg Hardy
In just four games this season, Hardy has racked up a team-leading four sacks along with one forced fumble and one interception. Smith will work to keep Hardy away from Winston. According to Pro Football Focus, Smith has not allowed a sack in four straight games. Winston has been sacked just once in the last two games.
RB Doug Martin vs. Cowboys LBs
Three Cowboys linebackers (Anthony Hitchens, Sean Lee and Rolando McClain) were injured last week and limited in practice this week. With injury concerns and uncertainty if they can play, the Cowboys depth at the position will be tested by Martin and fellow running back Charles Sims. The Bucs have surpassed 100 rushing yards in five straight games.
WR Mike Evans vs. WR Dez Bryant
Evans had 152 yards last week, his second 150+-yard game in three weeks. Bryant returned from injury two weeks ago, and posted his first 100-yard game and score of the season last week. Both star receivers will look to continue their 2015 emergence in this contest, which could result in two impressive stat lines by the final whistle.
DT Gerald McCoy vs. C Travis Frederick
Frederick was named a second-team AP All-Pro last year, his rookie season. PFF has him as their third-ranked center through the first half of this season and have credited him with zero sacks allowed. He'll be tasked with limiting McCoy, who has 4.5 sacks on the season. Since taking over three weeks ago, Cowboys QB Cassel has been sacked six times.
CB Sterling Moore vs. QB Matt Cassel
Last season, Moore led the Cowboys with 12 passes defensed. This week, he'll face his former team coming off a game in which he was credited with three PDs and hauled in his first interception as a Buccaneer. Cassel has thrown four interceptions in three games this season.