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Talking a Little Cowboys @ Buccaneers

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Is it too soon to talk about Tampa?

Obviously, we’ve got training camp to get through. We’ve got players to waive (down to 75 on Sept. 1st; 53 by Sept. 5th), perhaps players to acquire, and almost assuredly will have injuries (hopefully minor) to account for. The fine-tuning will begin in Oakland (Aug. 13th); then, for the first game in Cowboys Stadium against the Titans (Aug. 21st). The next game against the Niners (Aug. 29th) should allow us a real look at the starters for much of the game, and then a preseason wrap-up in Minnesota (Sept. 4th) will define the roster.

Sunday, September 13th, will be Cowboy Kickoff Day. The defense will do its best to limit those pirate cannons from firing at anytime other than during the halftime show. Mike Jenkins will have the opportunity to avenge his infamous missed tackle on new Buccaneer back Derrick Ward. Gerald Sensebaugh’s return to Florida will be tested by the talented, yet oft-injured Kellen Winslow and the former towel-thrower, Antonio Bryant. Will it be Byron Leftwich trying to make the offense forget about Chucky?

More after the jump.

On the flipside, new head coach Raheem Morris posts consistency in his defensive-laden resumé:

Morris takes over a defense that has produced 36 Pro Bowlers since 1996, the most in the NFL, and finished as the NFLs top-ranked defense two times (2002 and 2005). The past 13 seasons have also seen the Buccaneers defense rank in the Top 10 on 11 occasions and in the Top 5 eight times.

Romo will have to be accurate against a good trio of Cover-2 safeties, Tanard Jackson, Jermaine Phillips, and Sabby Piscitelli. Corners Ronde Barber and Aqib Talib will be looking to corral the Cowboys receivers. Dallas’ running game and reliability in tight ends, Jason Witten and Martellus Bennett, should help keep Morris’ secondary honest.

This website has the Cowboys as 3-point favorites with the over/under resting at 42. Here’s some of what they say about the game:

Both teams have impressive running back corps and will lean on the rushing attack while the passing game works out the kinks. Totals bettors should look to the under on the 42 points, with the ground game eating up the clock.

Tampa Bay added Derrick Ward this offseason and he will share carries with Earnest Graham. The Cowboys have a healthy Marion Barber and Felix Jones behind Romo. Those two were on pace for a huge year last season before injuries took out Jones and slowed Barber.

I

t’s early to talk about Tampa and there is much work ahead. Assuming the coaches have already scouted the Bucs, we might as well brainstorm the match-up as well. It certainly beats wondering what went wrong with last season!