2022 Record: 8-9
Last Meeting: Week one 2022 (19-3 Buccaneers victory)
Head Coach: Todd Bowles (34-50 as a head coach)
Key Additions: WR Russell Gage, S Logan Ryan, LB Keanu Neal
Key Departures: TE Rob Gronkowski, S Jordan Whitehead, RB Ronald Jones
This was not the NFC South’s best year by any stretch. Clearly demonstrated by the fact the Tampa Bay Buccaneers were able to secure the division crown at a meddling 8-9 record on the season. Nonetheless, Tom Brady and company’s performance was enough to garner them a home playoff game and a date with the 12-5 Dallas Cowboys.
The goal every year is to get to this point and give yourself a chance to win the whole thing. Records mean very little at this point. Regardless of how you got to this point, the fact remains you are one of the 14 teams vying for the Lombardi Trophy. The Cowboys will have their hands full as Brady always finds a way to be a tough out in the playoffs, and this Buccaneers defense has already proven to be an issue for this Cowboys offense once before.
Player to watch… Tom Brady
If it’s playoff time and you are squaring off against Tom Brady in his element, he will most certainly always be the player to watch. Adding to the intrigue of this playoff game is the fact Brady has never lost to the Dallas Cowboys franchise and finds himself very comfortable through seven outings versus Dallas. In order for the Cowboys to get the proverbial monkey off their back, they will need to find a way to disrupt Brady and his rhythm.
Whatever steps Brady may have lost over the years, he has made up for with intelligence and understanding. He knows exactly what he sees out on the football field, and he knows precisely what defenses are going to try to do to him. Nobody is better at picking out an opponent’s weakness and exploiting it for gain than Tom Brady. This Buccaneers team is very beatable, but it is going to take a full team effort for them to slay the postseason giant that is Tom Brady.
Don’t forget about… Chris Godwin
Everybody knows Chris Godwin is a play-maker and needs to be accounted for on every snap. What makes him a player to watch has more to do with who may be covering him on Monday night. The Cowboys are banged up in the secondary and although it looks like DaRon Bland is good to go for the playoff matchup, even with him out there it was going to be a tough battle stop this quarterback and this receiving group.
Trevon Diggs will try to take Mike Evans out of the game, but where the Cowboys will need to excel is finding a way to make life hard for Godwin and Russell Gage. There is a realistic possibility that Brady likes the other matchups so much that he doesn’t even entertain looking Diggs way. While that seems like a comforting thought to have a player that commands that type of respect, it certainly presents a challenge for this group of inexperienced cornerbacks. How Chris Godwin and company fare on Monday night may very well tell us the story of this game come Tuesday morning.