If you told the Cowboys all they would have to do to win the division title is beat the 5-9 Buccaneers and the 5-9 Giants, they would have gladly taken those odds.
But a shutout defeat at the hands of the Indianapolis Colts has players using words like “embarrassing” or “hurting”. As they get ready to host Tampa Bay, the question to be answered is whether the team uses the experience as a lesson to fix their flaws or not.
Tampa and New York own two of the most generous defenses in the league, but both have playmakers and have picked things up in recent weeks.
Baltimore’s defense had their way with Jameis Winston and the Buccaneers last week, but their offense couldn’t put the game out of reach until late.
Tampa Bay players have nothing to play for. Well, except for their futures and livelihoods. That is no small beans when it is no secret a new coaching and management regime will be in charge next season. That makes them as dangerous as any team in the league.
While Amari Cooper wants to put last week’s game out of his mind with a bounce-back effort, Mike Evans will undoubtedly put on a show after being snubbed for a Pro Bowl spot despite his second-best statistical line.
Injuries and notes
For the Cowboys, wide receiver Cole Beasley (foot), tight end Geoff Swaim (wrist), and right guard Zach Martin (knee) are questionable but expected to play. Tavon Austin could miss another game.
DeSean Jackson remains questionable with a thumb injury. Tampa Bay also put safety Justin Evans (toe) on injured reserve.
Jameis Winston’s recent play lifted the Buccaneers into a competitive entity, but it is too late for Dirk Koetter. Tampa Bay area sports outlets are already full of conjecture over who the next head coach will be. Koetter arguably mishandled the quarterback situation, but he might convince someone Ryan Fitzpatrick was a better bet to lead his team to the playoffs and land another top job down the road.
It’s no embarrassment to lose to Andrew Luck and the playoff-contending Colts at this point, but to get shut out by their defense was enough to restart rumors and calls for Jason Garrett’s removal. Don’t bet on it unless his team collapses against the Buccaneers or Giants and lets the Eagles or Reskins sneak away with the NFC East.
How to watch the Cowboys-Buccaneers game
Fox Sports will handle the broadcasting responsibilities for this game, which means you can watch it for free on Fubo TV.
Fubo TV is a leading internet TV provider, offering all the local and national networks you need to follow your favorite team through the playoffs.
When there is no game, you can follow dozens of other sports, movies, and entertainment channels for the low price of a monthly, no-contract-required, subscription.
Fubo TV, DirecTV Now, and Sling TV are growing fast as loads of savvy NFL fans cut the cord with expensive cable and satellite companies to save hundreds of dollars while still enjoying their favorite networks and shows.
Check out the websites of Fubo TV, Sling TV, and DirecTV Now to see what they can do for you.
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Who will win the Cowboys-Buccaneers game?
Tampa Bay is as dangerous as any other team in the league, especially the week after Pro Bowl selections when a few of their players feel forgotten or under-appreciated.
But Dallas knows they can’t take any team lightly if they are going to maintain control of their playoff destiny. Garrett puts calls for his departure to rest for another week with the overwhelming victory the Cowboys need to fix their mojo.