TALE OF THE TAPE

Week 3: Tampa Bay Buccaneers At Dallas Cowboys

Buccaneers
Cowboys
Tampa Bay Buccaneers v Carolina Panthers
Dallas Cowboys v New York Giants
Quarterback
After a miserable 2011 season, athletic Josh Freeman has given an indication that 2012 will be a bounce-back year for him. He has made several good throws and he led the Bucs to a win over the Panthers in the opener and nearly got it done in Week Two against the Giants. He has a strong arm but may not be as instinctive as you would like.
Winner Tony Romo is under pressure. There was some talk last week that the Cowboys were working on a contract extension for him after the Week One win over the Giants, but he is still an up-and-down quarterback who lacks consistency.
Offense
Give credit to Greg Schiano for making good use of the Bucs’ somewhat limited talent. The Bucs have a credible ground game with Doug Martin running the ball and Vincent Jackson is a big-play receiver.
Winner The passing game was firing on all cylinders in the opener against the Giants, but the Cowboys were ineffective against the Seahawks. Dez Bryant is the top Dallas big-play threat, but they also depend on tight end Jason Witten to make key plays.
Defense
The Bucs did a good job containing explosive Cam Newton in Week One, but after frustrating Eli Manning for a half the secondary fell apart against the Giants. Greg Schiano has to make sure that this defensive generosity doesn’t become a trend.
Winner The Cowboys should be one of the best defensive teams in the league, but rookie quarterback Russell Wilson got the best of them in Week Two and the Seahawks’ running game pierced them as Marshawn Lynch ran for 122 yards and a touchdown.
Special Teams
Winner Placekicker Conner Barth has a strong enough leg but it’s his accuracy that makes him a valuable asset to the Bucs. Punter Michael Koenen is a dependable fourth-down weapon and he can also boom the ball on kickoffs for the Bucs.
Felix Jones did not break any big returns against the Seahawks but he is capable of giving them a lift as a kickoff returner. Punter Chris Jones has shown some proficiency at dropping kicks inside the 20.

The Winner Is

Dallas Cowboys v New York Giants
Winner Cowboys
3 out of 4

The Cowboys pulled off a major surprise when they beat the Giants in Week One on the road and then laid an egg against Seattle. They have struggled to find consistency and this year appears no different from any recent season. The Bucs are playing hard for Greg Schiano, but his end-of-game shenanigans against the Giants when they were taking a knee may get them labeled as a dirty team.

MORE TALES OF THE TAPE

  1. EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - SEPTEMBER 25:  Odell Beckham #13 of the New York Giants breaks a tackle by Josh Norman #24 of the Washington Redskins in the second half at MetLife Stadium on September 25, 2016 in East Rutherford, New Jersey.  (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images) CHARLOTTE, NC - SEPTEMBER 25:   Cam Newton #1 of the Carolina Panthers runs the ball against Everson Griffen #97 and Tom Johnson #92 of the Minnesota Vikings in the 1st half during their game at Bank of America Stadium on September 25, 2016 in Charlotte, North Carolina.  (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
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  2. KANSAS CITY, MO - SEPTEMBER 25: Center Mitch Morse #61 of the Kansas City Chiefs prepares to snap the ball to Alex Smith #11 at Arrowhead Stadium during the second quarter of the game against the New York Jets on September 25, 2016 in Kansas City, Missouri. (Photo by Peter Aiken/Getty Images) PHILADELPHIA, PA - SEPTEMBER 25: Quarterback  Ben Roethlisberger #7 of the Pittsburgh Steelers passes against  Bennie Logan #96 of the Philadelphia Eagles in the fourth quarter at Lincoln Financial Field on September 25, 2016 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Alex Goodlett/Getty Images)
    Week 4 Tale Of The Tape: Kansas City Chiefs At Pittsburgh Steelers

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  3. ARLINGTON, TX - SEPTEMBER 25:  Dak Prescott #4 of the Dallas Cowboys throws against the Chicago Bears in the fourth quarter at AT&T Stadium on September 25, 2016 in Arlington, Texas.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images) SEATTLE, WA - SEPTEMBER 25:  Running back Carlos Hyde #28 of the San Francisco 49ers rushes for a touchdown in the fourth quarter against the Seattle Seahawks at CenturyLink Field on September 25, 2016 in Seattle, Washington. The Seahawks defeated the 49ers 37-18.  (Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)
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