The Tampa Bay Buccaneers (5-9) travel to Texas this weekend for an all-NFC showdown with the Dallas Cowboys (8-6). Kickoff is set for 1:00 PM EST on December 23rd at AT&T Stadium and the game will be broadcast on FOX.
Oddsmakers opened this game up with the Cowboys listed as 7-point home favorites. That line has yet to change after early betting, as New Orleans is currently available at -7. The total for this matchup is 46.5 points. Click here for a full look at the Week 16 NFL odds and for more links to our individual game previews.
Cowboys vs Bucs Vegas Odds & Game Preview
Tampa Bay lost their second straight game last weekend, falling 20-12 on the road to Baltimore to drop to 9-5 on the season overall. The Buccaneers put up a good fight in the first two quarters, as they trailed by just a single point at halftime. However, they got outscored 10-3 in the second half as the Ravens emerged victorious in a game they needed to win to keep pace with Pittsburgh in the AFC North. QB Jameis Winston really struggled against a very tough Baltimore defense, passing for just 157 yards and failing to find the end zone. He also threw a costly interception with less than 15 minutes remaining in the game. RB Peyton Barber led the way on the ground, rushing for 85 yards and a touchdown on 19 carries. None of the receivers surpassed 25 yards on the day except for Mike Evans, who caught four passes for 121 yards. As a whole, Tampa Bay is currently averaging 24.6 points per game (12th overall) on 416.6 yards of total offense.
The Bucs have been dreadful on the other side of the ball through their first fourteen games, allowing opponents to score an alarming 28.8 points per game (30th overall) 22.6 points per game on 386.6 yards of total offense. They have been brutal against the pass, surrendering 258.5 yards per game through the air (27th overall).
Dallas saw their five game winning streak come to an end last weekend, falling 23-0 on the road in Indianapolis. The Cowboys couldn’t get anything going on offense all game long, as QB Dak Prescott went 24/39 for just 206 yards and no touchdowns. He also got picked off once, although it was with under two minutes left in the 4th quarter once the game was already out of reach. WR Amari Cooper also struggled after consecutive monster games, as he was held to only four catches for 32 yards. RB Ezekiel Elliott was also held in check for the most part, gaining 128 total yards and failing to find the end zone. Overall, Dallas is currently averaging 19.7 points per game (26th overall) on 346.4 yards of total offense.
The Cowboys have been pretty solid defensively for most of the regular season, as they are currently giving up an average of only 19.2 points per game (4th overall) on 317.4 total yards of offense. They have been extremely impressive against both the pass and the run, as they currently rank 7th and 5th overall respectively.
Free NFL Betting Prediction: Dallas -7
Dallas should be extremely motivated to have a bounce back performance here in Week 16 after a very disappointing outing against the Colts last weekend. A matchup with the Buccaneers should be just what the doctor ordered, as they have been terrible on defense for most of the year. This could easily be a spot where Dak, Zeke, and Amari all have big statistical days, as Tampa Bay gives up big plays way, way too frequently. Their offense had been bailing them out for the first half of the season but that hasn’t been the case since around mid-November, as they have scored 14 or less points in two straight games while failing to score above 30 for over a month.
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The Bucs are just 2-5-1 ATS over their last eight games against the NFC. They are also just 2-5-1 ATS in their last eight games following a loss. Dallas is a perfect 5-0 ATS over their last five games against the NFC. They are also a rock solid 4-1 ATS in their last five home games and 5-1 ATS over their last six games overall.
These two teams are definitely going in different directions, as the Cowboys are on the verge of winning the NFC East while Tampa Bay is in the basement of the NFC South. Dallas needs to win this game to stay ahead of both the Eagles and Redskins, so I have no doubt they will be ready to play from the opening kickoff. I’m going to lay the touchdown and roll with the home favorite – give me the Cowboys to cover at home.