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NFC Wild Card Preview: Cowboys overcome struggles towards Brady, Buccaneers?

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Except for a pair groups that by no means drifted removed from the highest of the divisional or convention standings, the NFC was far wider open this season than many soccer followers and pundits had predicted.

The defending Tremendous Bowl champion L.A. Rams had been riddled with accidents and got here nowhere near sniffing the playoffs and forming a dynasty, whereas Inexperienced Bay and defending back-to-back MVP Aaron Rodgers missed the post-season for the primary time within the Matt LaFleur period, and never a single staff within the NFC South completed above .500 a lot to the chagrin of non-playoff groups Detroit and Washington that had higher information than Tampa.

It took Philadelphia three tries to formally clinch the No. 1 seed and a first-round bye, however the Eagles locked up prime spot and are resting up whereas the six groups beneath duke it out.

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With the San Francisco 49ers’ dominant victory over the Seattle Seahawks and the New York Giants’ surprising upset towards the Minnesota Vikings, right here’s a have a look at the ultimate recreation slated for Tremendous Wild Card Weekend.

COWBOYS (5) @ BUCCANEERS (4) | Monday 8:15 p.m. ET

How Dallas obtained right here: Thanks partially to Cooper Rush, Dallas’s playoff hopes by no means wavered regardless of a giant harm to their beginning QB. The staff’s backup admirably went 4-1 filling in for Dak Prescott after Prescott sustained an harm within the season opener towards these Bucs. The twin-threat dashing assault of Tony Pollard and Ezekiel Elliott, plus CeeDee Lamb’s profession yr was the catalyst for the Cowboys’ high-scoring offence.

How Tampa Bay obtained right here: By the pores and skin of their tooth, actually. They had been kings of the NFC’s worst division, limping their technique to a house playoff recreation regardless of by no means profitable greater than two in a row and having the league’s Thirty second-ranked dashing assault. This staff does know find out how to win low-scoring video games and is more healthy now than they had been earlier within the season.

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Storyline to observe: Are stars aligning for Brady and Bucs?

Regardless of the Cowboys having 4 extra wins than the Bucs they’re those that needed to hit the street due to the NFC South being so awful within the common season. Not solely do they not have home-field benefit, Dallas went 4-4 on the street whereas the Bucs may’ve completed beneath .500 however 5 of the staff’s eight wins had been at dwelling. Tom Brady, who usually performs his greatest within the playoffs, is an ideal 7-0 in his profession towards the Cowboys. Mike Evans is coming off his ninth consecutive 1,000-yard season after posting 203 yards and three TDs within the division-clinching recreation vs. Carolina.

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Matchup to observe: The turnover battle

Each quarterbacks enter this recreation having thrown a number of multiple-interception video games down the stretch. Brady had loads of uncharacteristic outings this season however the future Corridor of Famer lit up the Panthers Week 17 to remind the NFC precisely what he’s nonetheless able to. Dak Prescott, in the meantime, has thrown a choose in seven straight video games and has three interceptions in 4 profession playoff video games.

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