Cowboys / Bucs Wildcard Preview – Tough To Beat A Team 8 Times
By Gabriel Rauch for Wannamakeabet.com
The biggest game of the wildcard weekend will be on Monday night; the two biggest draws of NFL audiences going head to head: The Cowboys and Tom Brady. If there is one stat that will be making media circles above all others, it will be some version of the fact that Tom Brady is undefeated against the Cowboys in his career: seven wins, no losses. Before we preview this game, I thought it would be fun to look back and cover some historical snapshots of those games to determine if this game will be any different:
2003 Patriots 12 Cowboys 0 (Pats -4): Brady was a different type of quarterback back then, and he didn’t need to do much to win this game. He won the Super Bowl that year.
2007 Patriots 48 Cowboys 27 (Pats -5): Brady MVP Season 18-1 Patriots; no one was stopping this team in the regular season.
2011 Patriots 20 Cowboys 16 (Pats -7): Great Patriots team, Brady made it to the Super Bowl again. He played solid; good enough to win this game.
2015 Patriots 30 Cowboys 6 (Pats -9): Good Patriots team, bad Cowboys team; this game was a mismatch and not close.
2019 Patriots 13 Cowboys 9 (Pats -5.5): This was a struggling Patriots offense similar to the Bucs offense this year; still good enough to beat the Cowboys.
2021 Bucs 31 Cowboys 29 (Bucs -9): A close game that could have gone either way with two teams that made the playoffs. Brady came out on top.
2022 Bucs 19 Cowboys 3 (Bucs -2.5): A Dak injury and a Bucs team that looked like last year was able to smother the Cowboys.
*Vegas line data for the above games provided by Pro Football Reference
That last game did happen earlier this season, but things have changed…
The Bucs have been an average, inconsistent team all year,while the Cowboys have been a juggernaut, only faltering in recent weeks. Historically, whichever Tom Brady team faced the Cowboys had a better record finishing the season and was the better team, but this year that is not the case. The wisdom to not bet against Tom Brady in the playoffs has rarely been wrong, but he also needs the other 52 men to step up…plus the coach.
To state the obvious, the Bucs have a clear advantage at quarterback in Brady, the GOAT and even at his age, one of the most reliable players in football. While Brady still has a good arm, his team has not been nearly as reliable and he has suffered greatly. The Bucs have had an abysmal running game, facing a Cowboys defense that has only lost to teams who have ran the ball well against them. The Bucs have a weak offensive line, losing last year’s starters to injury and retirement facing Micah Parsons and one of the best pass rushes in the league.
Dak may have racked up the interceptions in recent weeks, but this will not be as much of an issue against a Bucs team only responsible for 20 turnovers this year; easily in the bottom half of the NFL. While the Bucs defense has come up victorious in big moments, they have been absolutely demolished when facing good offenses (look back at their games against the Chiefs, 49ers and Bengals for evidence of this). The Cowboys offense has been flying high, not scoring less than 27 points since October and their blazing receiving core will take advantage of a sluggish Bucs defense.
A Game of Firsts
As much as it pains me to even suggest betting against Tom Brady, this is anything but a normal Brady-led team. For starters, this is perhaps the first year ever that Brady has a below average coach in Todd Bowles, a man who’s bad decisions have solely cost them games this year and makes Mike McCarthy look good by comparison. The oddsmakers have the Bucs as a 2.5 point underdog, the first time Brady has been a home playoff underdog in his career. This is also the first time the Cowboys have been favored over a team that has Tom Brady on it. Lastly, this is the first time Brady has played the Cowboys in the playoffs. All of these facts are here to remind you, the wannamakeabetter, that a football team is made up of 53 men with 22 starters. The Cowboys 53 and 22 are better than the Bucs even when the Bucs have Tom Brady.
The Pick: Cowboys -2.5
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