The Tampa Bay Buccaneers will host the Dallas Cowboys in a first-round playoff showdown on Monday night.

Tampa gets to host a playoff game, despite finishing with a losing record, by virtue of winning the NFC South.

ESPN thinks the Bucs will make the most of their home playoff game. They have Tampa eliminating the Cowboys from the playoffs via a 20-13 win.

From ESPN:

If there’s a reason to think the Bucs might be back, it’s not the offense. It’s the defense. Todd Bowles’ unit forced just five turnovers over an 11-game span in midseason. It should be no surprise that the Bucs improved once they started forcing those turnovers again, having created six in wins over the Cardinals and Panthers. They could force a couple of more against the Cowboys and pull off a home upset. Prediction: Buccaneers 20, Cowboys 13.

Buccaneers
Jan 8, 2023; Atlanta, Georgia, USA; Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady (12) throws a pass against the Atlanta Falcons in the first quarter at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

If the Bucs beat the Cowboys, it could mean that Dallas ends up in the market for a new head coach.

Mike McCarthy has yet to win a playoff game as the Cowboys’ head coach. Another fruitless postseason could have Dallas owner Jerry Jones ready to make a move (especially with former Cowboys assistant Sean Payton available).

As for whether or not the Bucs win this game, I think it’s more than possible. I know Tom Brady isn’t the same vintage Tom Brady that won the Super Bowl two years ago. But he’s still Tom Brady. And when it comes playoff time, I’m not betting against him. I don’t care what the regular season record was — all bets are off when we’re talking about Brady and the playoffs.

Featured image via Nathan Ray Seebeck-USA TODAY Sports

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