Here's a look at the two big matchups I have my eye on in this game against Tampa Bay.
Dallas Cowboys OT La'el Collins vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers DE Carl Nassib
Carl Nassib is in his first season with the Buccaneers after being claimed off waivers from the Cleveland Browns. New Browns general manager John Dorsey didn't draft Nassib, so he felt that he didn't fit into their plans and parted ways with him. Nassib could never quite get things going with the Browns. He only started 15 games, which resulted in modest numbers in both quarterback hits and sacks.
The Buccaneers put a claim in for Nassib at the final cut and were awarded him. What has been impressive about Nassib is how quickly he started. He had only 5.5 sacks and 15 quarterback hits in two seasons with Cleveland. For the Buccaneers, he has totaled 6.5 sacks and 14 quarterback hits just this season.
At 6-7, 275 pounds, Nassib is not an easy guy to handle due to his length. He is quick off the ball and when he gets his hands on the blocker, he has the ability to keep them off his body. The first thing a tackle wants to do when blocking is to get those hands inside to control the rusher. When this doesn't happen, we've seen guys like La'el Collins struggle with his hand placement -- which tends to result in poor technique or holding calls. Bad hands are generally the death of Collins.
If Collins does have an advantage, it's that at 275, Nassib is not the strongest guy. He doesn't have the upper body power to go toe-to-toe with Collins and do much good. Nassib is going to do everything in his power to make Collins have to move in order to work by him. He knows that if Collins gets his hands on him that he's in trouble. Who is quicker with their hands in this matchup will likely win the battle.
Dallas Cowboys CB Anthony Brown vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers WR Adam Humphries
Adam Humphries might not be the best slot receiver that Anthony Brown has faced this season, but I have a sneaky feeling about him in this game. Humphries is the Buccaneers' version of Cole Beasley. He's short and crafty which makes him difficult to defend. He's similar to Beasley in how he executes his routes. There is plenty of work underneath, with that occasional shot down the middle of the field working inside. Humphries is one of the more sure-handed receivers the Buccaneers have on their roster. He is generally not a high target player, but when they've gone in his direction he's come up with some clutch receptions.
Anthony Brown has to be ready for a receiver that takes his routes all over the field. Brown must guard against Humphries' ability to get lost in traffic. He is not afraid to go anywhere for the ball, so Brown will likely be in chase mode the entire time. I would expect Brown to play him tight and get right up on top of him. There were some snaps where defenders had success knocking him around to make him fight for the ball. Brown needs to make Humphries make as many contested catches as possible.
Brown can be physical with Humphries due to the fact that he matches up well size-wise and he needs to take advantage of that. Brown just needs to play his technique and be careful not to get those holding calls that tend to plague him when he gets lazy.