Who at the start of the season would have thought at the beginning of the season that this would be the biggest game of week 15?
Tampa Bay Buccaneers- Tied win Atlanta for first place in the NFC South, the Bucs are one of the hottest teams in football with wins over the Chiefs, Seahawks, and Saints in the last three weeks. The defense has led them way during the Bucs five-game winning streak. The leaders of the defense have been defensive tackle Gerald McCoy, linebacker Lavonte David and cornerbacks Brent Grimes and Vernon Hargreaves. The Bucs have ranked as the best defensive unit in the NFL since Week 10 in points allowed (12.8), takeaways (14, including a league-best ten interceptions), touchdowns allowed (six) and opposing passer rating (62.5).
Dallas Cowboys- The Cowboys have been led this year by the best offensive line in the NFL and two of the best rookies Dak Prescott and Ezekiel Elliott. The Cowboys only two losses have been to the New York Giants, including a 10-7 nail bitter last Sunday night.
Keys to the game
Can Dallas score TD’s in the Red Zone?– The Bucs defense has been stingy in the Red Zone over the last five games only giving up two red zone touchdowns in those five games. For the Bucs to stop the Cowboys inside the 20 they need to take away TE Jason Witten.
Can the Bucs establish the run?- A lot of Tampa’s offensive problems scoring in the last five games can be blamed on not being able to move the ball on the ground.Martin, who signed a five-year, $35.75 million deal in the offseason, has struggled this season, he has missed six games due to a hamstring injury. Martin gained only 66 yards on 23 carries against the Saints on Sunday. For the season, he has just 379 yards on 128 carries. His 2.87 yards per carry is a career-low.
Winston vs. Prescott- This game will probably hinge on which QB can make a big play or two. They both have struggled recently, but they each have a stud receiver to throw to in Tampa’s Mike Evans and Dallas’s Dez Bryant.
This game should be a slugfest between two up and coming teams. If the Bucs can slow down Elliott just a little bit, they can force Prescott to beat them with his arm. Make no mistake the unflappable rookie will hear boo’s if he gets off to a slow start. He shouldn’t after the year he has had, but he will. Both teams are contenders to make a deep run in the playoffs, but I think I am going to take the Bucs in a close one. They are just playing better football right now, and I do not believe that Prescott will be able to have a big enough game against the Bucs talented secondary to pull this one out. Buccaneers 20 Cowboys 17.