Forget about the NFL Playoffs; the Dallas Cowboys simply hope to avoid tying the franchise record for most consecutive losses by beating the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in their Week 10 game today.
As ESPN noted, they will look to end that losing streak by beating Tampa Bay for the sixth consecutive time; but, once again, the Cowboys are without Tony Romo. Inspired by Tampa Bay lineman Logan Mankins, Dallas lineman Zack Martin will have to help clear a path for Cowboys running back Darren McFadden to make up for Romo’s absence.
On the defensive side of things, the Cowboys likely hope that rookie quarterback Jameis Winston plays more like he did the first four games of the year (when he gave up a total of seven interceptions) and less like the last four Bucs games (when he threw a total of zero interceptions).
However, if Winston and the 3-5 Buccaneers can pull off a win against the 2-6 Cowboys, they will have successfully doubled their total number of 2014 wins. The sidelined Romo and home field advantage are working in Tampa Bay’s favor. Dallas has failed to win a game this year without Romo starting, and the Bucs hope that trend continues today. They look for their second home win of the season, their first since beating the Jacksonville Jaguars on October 11.
As Bleacher Report notes, Tampa Bay quarterback Jameis Winston appears to be getting better every week. Free of turnovers for the last four weeks, the Winston-lead Bucs have the fewest three-and-outs of any team in the NFL. Running backs Doug Martin and Charles Sims have helped make Tampa Bay the seventh best rushing team in the league. On the other side of the ball, Tampa Bay’s defense is suffering from several injuries and failed to record a single sack last week against the New York Giants.
While both teams are at the bottom of their division, their position for a potential playoff berth are drastically different. For the Dallas Cowboys in the NFC East, anything is possible. Despite being in last with a 2-6 record, a win today would put them just two games behind the first place New York Giants (5-4). The Tampa Bay Buccaneers, however, bring up the rear in the NFC South, which is lead by the undefeated Carolina Panthers. Even if the Panthers lost the next eight games, the Bucs would have to win five of the next eight just to tie them. With the Atlanta Falcons currently at 6-3, even second place would be incredibly difficult at this point.
If you have a fantasy football team with any Cowboys or Buccaneers on your squad, here are some interesting projections for today’s game, according to standard scoring at NFL.com’s fantasy site. Dallas back-up QB Matt Cassel (16.70) breaks into this week’s Top 15 projected quarterbacks at No. 14. Jameis Winston (12.48), on the other hand, owns the seventh worst projection of the league’s starting QBs.
Dez Bryant (18.70) — the Dallas receiver who just returned from injury before blowing up at the media — is the highest projected scorer of either team’s offense, and the third highest non-QB offensive player in the league. Tampa Bay’s wide receiver Mike Evans (16.00) is the highest projected scorer for the Bucs this week, and the No. 6 overall receiver in the league. Darren McFadden is projected to bring in 15.70 fantasy points, while Doug Martin is looking at just 13.90. Along with 16 other kickers, both Dan Bailey (Dallas) and Connor Barth (Tampa Bay) are tied for first with a projected 11 fantasy points. Neither defense is expected to do much today, with the Cowboys projected at five and the Bucs at just 4.50.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers host the Dallas Cowboys for Week 10 of the 2015 NFL regular season. The game begins at 1:00 PM EST and airs on Fox. The Dallas-Tampa Bay game can also be streamed with a subscription to NFL Game Pass.