The NFL season hasn’t even started but there’s already been a lot of talk about the offenses that the Dallas Cowboys and Tampa Bay Buccaneers will be bringing to the field. And after yesterday, with the signing of running back LeSean McCoy by the Buccaneers, they are now being touted by some as the team loaded with the most talent on offense. But are they really better than the Cowboys?
Let’s compare the two by position and see who really has the upper hand.
Quarterback Dak Prescott vs. Tom Brady
Looking at their history in the NFL and tallying up all the accomplishments you’d have to give the nod to Brady, but that was when Brady was on the New England Patriots, and he knew the offense inside and out. He’s not there anymore, and he’s now in Tampa Bay where they have receivers that are known for their deep receptions. Brady hasn’t been the best deep ball thrower, coming in 14th last season with a 40.2% completion percentage, averaging 11.7 yards per attempt, with a 102.1 Passer Rating and now that he’s in Tampa his arm is going to be put to the test with Mike Evans and Chris Goodwin and an offense known for its use of the deep ball.
On the other hand, Prescott is coming into a situation where he has the same offense around him and was able to gain another young and talented receiver in CeeDee Lamb. An while Brady struggled at times making the deep ball pass, Prescott thrived coming in as the fourth-best deep ball passer with a 46.1% completion percentage, averaging 15.2 yards per attempt, with a 110.2 Passer Rating according to PFF.com. Prescott also has something else that Brady doesn’t and that’s an effective running game that teams focus on, giving him more opportunities to hit the deep pass than Brady does.
Edge – Cowboys (Advantage throwing the deep ball off play-action)
Running Back – Ezekiel Elliott and Tony Pollard vs. LeSean McCoy and company
This one is really a no-brainer. When you stack these players up side-by-side, most are going to choose Elliott over McCoy. Since entering the league Elliott has been one of, if not the, most dominate running back in the NFL while McCoy is up in years, has bounced around, and been injured plenty. The Cowboys also have Pollard whose style is more in line with the way that McCoy use to be in his prime.
Overall, the Cowboys have a better stable with just those two running backs than the Buccaneers do with McCoy and what looks to be a running back by committee set up in Tampa Bay. Both Cowboys running backs can run between the tackles, or bounce it outside, while also becoming a threat on passing downs. The Buccaneers will most likely have to mix and match to get what they want out of their running back group.
Edge – Cowboys (Better all-round running back talent)
Wide Receiver – Amari Cooper, Michael Gallup and CeeDee Lamb vs. Mike Evans and Chris Goodwin
The Cowboys have two very good receivers in Cooper and Gallup and a rookie that many are projecting to be one of the best in this draft class in Lamb, while the Buccaneers have two established receivers in Evans and Goodwin who by themselves carried the Buccaneers offense last season. The problem for Evans and Goodwin will be if they can create enough of a rapport with new quarterback Tom Brady. They will also have to get use to running shorter routes if Brady can’t get the ball deep to them which will effectively negate the advantage that Evans has which was his height against shorter defenders.
The Cowboys will have some difficulties as well. They will have to learn some new route combinations under new head coach Mike McCarthy. But they will also have the advantage with Cooper and Gallup, who already have a good rapport with Prescott, and can help carry the load while Lamb and Prescott build on theirs. Each can also run deep routes just as well as the underneath routes.
Edge – Cowboys (Rapport with the quarterback and more effective running shorter routes)
Tight End – Blake Jarwin vs. Rob Gronkowski, Cameron Brate, and O.J. Howard
The Buccaneers clearly have the advantage at this position, not just because of Gronkowski (injury prone) but the abundance of talent at the position. This by no means is a knock on Jarwin, but he isn’t going to be able to put of the number that this trio will. Especially with a quarterback as fond of targeting tight ends as Brady. Even Pro Football Focus has the Buccaneers ranked as the fourth best group in the NFL while the Cowboys are ranked 25th.
Edge – Buccaneers (Better overall talent at the position and depth)
None of these other positions matter if the quarterbacks don’t to have time to throw the ball and running backs can’t hit the hole running. According to Pro Football Focus, the Cowboys have the third best offensive line in the NFL while the Buccaneers have the 13th at this point. Now the Cowboys have a few big questions going into this season at the center and left guard positions while the Buccaneers are bringing in a rookie to play right tackle. With those questions it’s hard to believe the Cowboys are going to have a better season without Pro Bowl center Travis Frederick in the mix.
Until they are able to figure out who will be manning that position along with the left guard you’d have to give the nod to the Buccaneers who improved a lot last season. But if the Cowboys offensive line can build some continuity then they have a chance to be just as dominate as they have been in the past, but for now I’m giving this one to the Bucs.
Edge – Buccaneers (To many unknowns on the Cowboys offensive line)
Overall Edge – Cowboys
The Cowboys just have younger and more talented players on their roster compared to the Buccaneers.
Who do you think will have the better offense this season?
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
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