The Dallas Cowboys are 3-point favorites for their Wild Card showdown against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. They’re one of just two road favorites, and that shouldn’t surprise anyone given they rattled off 12 wins during the regular season while the Bucs clinched the lowly NFC South by the skin of their teeth.
You just know former Cowboys like Dez Bryant, Jason Garrett and DeMarcus Ware will be pulling for their former squad.
Luckily, the game will be broadcast on ESPN, so Garrett won’t get the chance to jinx Dallas like he tried to before the team’s Sunday night clash against the Colts back in Week 13. You might remember the NBC analyst predicting “Cowboys by 40” only for his former team to sleepwalk for the first 45 minutes of regulation before putting together a historic fourth quarter when they outscored Indy 33-0.
In the end, Garrett’s prediction wasn’t far off, but Cowboys fans won’t be losing sleep that he won’t be covering the playoff game.
That said, Garrett and the “Football night in America” crew had plenty to say about Cowboys-Buccaneers this past Sunday. In previewing the game, Garrett pinpointed a sneaky, yet prominent flaw of Mike McCarthy’s side.
That flaw? Playing on grass, specifically the defense.
Jason Garrett believes the Cowboys’ defense could struggle on the Buccaneers’ grass playing field.
Garrett striking another dagger in the hearts of Cowboys fans? That’s not new, but the former head coach brings up a salient point.
Following Sunday’s loss in Washington, Dallas dropped to 1-4 (!) on the season in games played on grass. While they beat the Titans in Week 17 and the defense showed out, Tennessee started a quarterback in Josh Dobbs whom they signed eight days earlier.
Regardless, the Cowboys came up short in road games against Washington, Philadelphia, Green Bay, and Jacksonville. Each of those teams have a natural playing surface. From a defensive perspective, the Commanders and Jaguars losses in particular were two of Dallas’ worst displays of the campaign.
The Cowboys’ poor track record on grass extends beyond 2022, too. Per Patrik Walker of DallasCowboys.com, the club has a losing record on grass since 2017. Get a load of these stats from film analyst Brett Kollmann.
The numbers, sadly, don’t lie. The silver lining is the Buccaneers’ offense, though piloted by Tom Brady, shouldn’t scare anyone. They scored more than 23 points twice all season, while the Cowboys eclipsed that total in 10 of the 12 games Dak Prescott started. The only exceptions were Week 1 and Week 18.
Who knows what to make of the grass vs turf debate. It seems meaningless in the bigger picture, but the numbers indicate it actually holds some weight.
At the end of the day, Dallas should beat Tampa, and no one is going to feel sorry if they lose because they had to play on natural surface.