Cowboys Offense vs. Bucs Defense:
I'm looking at Adams vs. Adams in this game. I think Gaines Adams and Flozell Adams is going to be a critical match-up. I think Flozell is banged up, but no one is saying just how banged up he is. He had that stinger a couple of weeks ago. And he really has struggled the last three weekends. He's had a tough time. Gaines Adams is a speed-rusher. He's very athletic and quick. I think Flozell is going to have another tough match-up as well. But it's critical for the sake of Brad Johnson. The left tackle, for a right-handed quarterback, it doesn't get any more important than that. This week, I think we need to see them get the ball out quick, a lot of three-step drops for Johnson to take the pressure off of both himself and Flozell.
Bucs Offense vs. Cowboys Defense:
Tampa Bay likes to run the football and the Cowboys have to make sure they keep their eyes on the veteran Warrick Dunn. He's a scat-back and a little shifty and different for our linebackers. I would say Bradie James and Zach Thomas are going to have to tackle very well this week. Unlike Steven Jackson, who is big and strong, Dunn is very elusive. They just need to hold onto him and get him on the ground. Last week, Jackson just broke tackles and outran angles. This week, Dunn doesn't let you hit him. He's a bit shiftier. You can't just go out there and try to knock him out. You have to grab and hold him and wait for help.
The Cowboys Win If . . .
They have a combined rushing for 140-plus yards. That could be a combination of Marion Barber and rookie Tashard Choice. If they have 140, they win the game. Against a Cover 2 team, you have to be able to run the ball against Cover 2. Defensively, they have to get after Jeff Garcia. If they have four sacks or more in this game, I think they win. If you let Garcia run around there and get comfortable, he's too accurate and he'll pick you apart. They need to keep Garcia inside the pocket.
The Bucs Win If . . .
They run the football. They are a West Coast Offense - a time control and patient offense and that doesn't mind going 70 yards. Guess what? If they're having 9- and 10-play drives, well, guess who isn't on the field? The Cowboys' offense. I think the team that rushes the ball the best, will win. On defense, they have to do what every other team has done against the Cowboys the last few weeks - contain Terrell Owens and stop the run. It seems like the Cowboys' offense has been very ineffective when T.O. is not involved and they haven't been able to run the football.
I think if the Cowboys protect the ball and run the ball, they should win. If they do what they usually do - special teams breakdowns and turn the ball over, not play good defense - I'm taking Tampa, 21-17. I have not seen it from the Cowboys. Unless they can show me they can be a disciplined football team and cut down the turnovers, I'm going to go with Tampa.
Larry's Favorite Bucs Memory:
We didn't play Tampa Bay at all when I was with the Cowboys. My first game against them was when I was in Oakland. I played them in the regular season and Alvin Harper was over there in Tampa. That's when Sam Wyche was there. We won the game; they weren't very good. Harper was really just a decoy. They didn't run a very good offense. What I remember the most about that game was that singer Montell Jordan sang the National Anthem and he did it on our sideline. They were the home team, but he was on our sideline.