Cowboys Clinch NFC East Title After Defeating Bucs 27-20

WATCH Randy Gregory strip sack long Jaylon Smith TD recovery

WATCH Randy Gregory strip sack long Jaylon Smith TD recovery

As the playoffs continue, owners still alive likely have at least one of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers offensive players on their roster. His ability to stretch the field is going to be a real challenge for the Dallas Cowboys.

The Cowboys were led by a strong performance from their defense which included two huge fumble recoveries, one of which was returned 69 yards for a touchdown courtesy of linebacker Jaylon Smith.

The Bucs committed seven penalties for 57 yards in the first half, but the greatest example of a lost team was how Tampa Bay was unable to score despite a second-and-1 at the 2-yard line.

Trailing 7-3 and with the Bucs driving for that could have been a go-ahead score in the first quarter Winston fumbled on third-and-5 at the Dallas 35-yard line, a hard hit from Randy Gregory jarring the ball loose. Dak Prescott has played better as of late and the run game with Ezekiel Elliott is always effective. With their dominant defensive line, Dallas can halt Tampa's running game in its tracts. He is signed through 2019, and if the Cowboys are to make anything more than a cameo appearance in the playoffs, they have a lot to clean up, especially offensively.

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ARLINGTON, Texas - Turns out, the Dallas Cowboys did not need any help to clinch their second NFC East title in three seasons. The Cowboys couldn't punch it in, settling for a 20-yard field goal, although extending their lead to 20-13. And this time, the Cowboys capitalized as Prescott lofted a pass to Gallup in the back right corner of the end zone for the touchdown and a now breathable 27-13 advantage.

But Leighton Vander Esch, who finished with a game-high 15 tackles, fell on the ensuing onside kick to give Dallas the ball. They don't generate enough big plays, they don't avoid sacks very well at all, and they sure don't cash in all of their red zone opportunities.

The win improved Cowboys' record to 9-6 on the season, ensuring a winning record for the third straight year. 500 in five consecutive seasons from 2005-09.

Dallas will now await who their playoff opponent will be as they head into their final game of the regular season against the New York Giants.

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