Cowboys vs Bucs Preview & Free Pick [January 16th 2023]

Dallas (12-5) at Tampa Bay (8-9)
When: Monday, January 16th 2023
Where: Raymond James Stadium,
Tampa, FL
Time: 8:15 ET | TV: ESPN
Opening Odds: Dallas -3/45

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The final game of Wild Card Weekend is a marquee matchup between America’s Team and the GOAT. Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers will host the Dallas Cowboys on Monday Night Football for the right to advance to the Divisional Round. In his Hall of Fame career, Brady has a 35-12 playoff record, which equals the number of postseason wins the Cowboys have in franchise history. Brady also has seven Super Bowl rings. Dallas has had 11 consecutive playoff appearances without a trip to the conference championship – the longest streak in NFL history.

These teams have opened the past two regular seasons against each other and the Bucs have won both. Back in September, Tampa Bay came through with a strong defensive effort and a 19-3 victory. Dallas had just 244 yards and lost starting QB Dak Prescott to a thumb injury. He would go on to miss five full games and has struggled since coming back. Brady threw for 212 yards with a TD and a pick, and is 7-0 in his career vs. Dallas. The Cowboys, who were four games better than Tampa Bay, are 2.5-point road favorites against the NFC South champions. The road team is 4-0 against the spread in the past four meetings.


Dallas ended the regular season with an awful 26-6 loss at Washington. Dak Prescott had an interception returned for a touchdown and has thrown a pick in seven straight games. He tied for the league lead with 15 interceptions on the season despite missing five games. Overall, the offense has been playing great since his return, but the defense isn’t as ferocious as it was early in the season. The Cowboys are 1-4-1 ATS in their past six on the road and have only covered the spread once in their last five games overall. Ezekiel Elliott (876 rushing yards, 12 rushing TDs) and Tony Pollard (1,007, 9) are a formidable duo and helped carry the offense when Prescott was out. Dallas was second overall with 1.4 rushing touchdowns per contest and ninth with 135.2 rushing yards per game. The Cowboys are 10-1 against the spread in their last 11 games after a loss.

At age 45, Brady finished third in the NFL with 4,694 passing yards and broke his own 2021 league record with 490 completions. Tampa Bay threw 78 percent of the time due to a lack of a running game. The Bucs generated only three gains of 20-plus yards this season on the ground. They finished dead-last in the league with just 76.9 rushing yards per contest and were also last in yards per carry at 3.4. Brady played just over a quarter in last week’s loss to the Atlanta Falcons, as the Bucs had already locked up the division. The Bucs finished 8-9 this year, Brady’s first-ever losing record and no team in history has reached a conference championship game after finishing the regular season with a losing record. Wide receivers Chris Godwin and Mike Evans each finished with over 1,000 yards receiving. Evans had 10 receptions for 207 yards and three TDs in the division-clinching win over Carolina on Jan. 1.

If the Dallas defense was playing like they did early in the season, I would take them. But with a struggling defense and a quarterback who keeps throwing interceptions, I just can’t. Brady has never lost to Dallas and I would take him over Prescott any day of the week.

Wild Card Weekend Staff Selections

Pick: Bucs +2.5