IRVING, Texas –Most people wouldn't have predicted the Cowboys going into New York to knock off the defending champs, and after doing that, hardly anyone saw them losing to Seattle.
It never goes just how you think it will. But the goal of the Cowboys starting this week against Tampa Bay is to find some consistency. DallasCowboys.com's writing staff is ready to weigh in with some final thoughts on the Week 3 home opener against a feisty Buccaneers team. Here is the gut feeling of Nick Eatman, Josh Ellis, Bryan Broaddus and Rowan Kavner:
Nick: Coming off last week's loss, and in the fashion that it went down, this one kind of smells like a near blowout to me. Of course, the Cowboys rarely blow anyone out, so that makes me a bit hesitant to say it'll be like that. I think Tampa Bay will be tougher on defense than in the past. I still think they will have a hard time covering the pass. Tony Romo has been huge against Tampa Bay in the past, and I'm guessing Dez Bryant will get back on track this week, as will Jason Witten. I see it being somewhat high-scoring, but the Cowboys will have some success and get the job done.
Josh:The way they were beaten up in Seattle – players and coaches can say whatever they want, but they didn't match the Seahawks physicality – I'm going to have a hard time picking the Cowboys until they prove they can stand up in a fight. I guarantee you the Buccaneers sensed some softness when they watched the film, and will try to bring the same intensity on Sunday as Seattle had in Week 2. They seem a little thuggish under Greg Schiano. If the Cowboys hit them back, they'll be OK in the home opener, but there's no way I can say this team has that mentality right now.
Bryan:My gut feeling this week against the Buccaneers is that Rob Ryan decides he is going to take Brandon Carr and match him up the majority of the game against Vincent Jackson to try and offset the production that he has had these first two weeks. Jackson is a veteran receiver that is an outstanding route runner which would give Morris Claiborne problems if he had to deal with him the majority of the day. Claiborne has more than enough talent to handle him, but in not having a great deal of experience against this type of player, it would be a struggle for him. The Buccaneers want to get the ball down the field and Jackson has been their guy for that. Carr knows Jackson's game from battling him in Kansas City for the last four seasons, so it's a matchup where the Cowboys will have a little bit of an advantage.
Rowan:The Buccaneers can create takeaways, having picked off five passes through two games. But one of the reasons they're in position for interceptions is because teams are throwing on them efficiently. Eli Manning finished with 510 yards through the air, one week after Cam Newton threw for 303 yards. While defensive injuries might make life tougher on that side of the ball, Dallas' passing attack should rebound from a poor overall offensive display and do enough at home to keep the Cowboys ahead, with Dez Bryant as a focal point. He won't have three catches for 17 yards again.