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Bucs opponent preview: Cowboys, Week 15

When they play: Week 15 (Dec. 18) in Dallas

2015 record: 4-12

Last time vs. Bucs: The Bucs beat Dallas 10-6 in Tampa last year, thanks to stellar defense and a Jameis Winston 1-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter. Dallas was held to 228 yards of total offense in the loss.

2016 outlook: Tony Romo's back injury puts a major question mark over the season -- how much can rookie Dak Prescott accomplish after a promising preseason? The team with perhaps the best offensive line in football continues to be hampered by quarterback injuries -- Cowboys QBs other than Romo are 1-13 since 2011.

Player to watch: TE Jason Witten remains ageless, now with more than 1,000 catches and 11,000 yards to go with 60 touchdowns. He's played 192 games in a row going back to his second year in 2004. He's never caught a touchdown against the Bucs in five career games, however -- the only team he's played more without a score is the Saints, with seven.

Rookie to watch: RB Ezekiel Elliott is everyone's Rookie of the Year favorite, having rushed for 1,800-plus yards in each of his last two years at Ohio State, with a combined 41 touchdowns. His success will keep pressure off Prescott to not have to do so much, which should help lessen his turnovers.

Key matchup: Romo vs. recovery. By Week 15, Romo could be back and well settled -- he's 4-0 all-time against the Bucs, with 11 career touchdowns and only one interception.

Familiar face: There aren't many, but former Tampa Catholic and Gators offenive lineman Chaz Green will be the backup right tackle after not playing a snap as a rookie last year due to a hip injury.

Cool stat: Dallas was a terrible team in turnover margin last year, with an NFL-worst minus-22 margin in 2015, with only 11 total takeaways against 33 turnovers. Last year's 4.2 percent interception rate is high, and Prescott will have to rein himself in to avoid challenging that in his rookie season.

Bucs opponent preview: Cowboys, Week 15 09/08/16 [Last modified: Thursday, September 8, 2016 10:37pm]
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