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NFL: Dallas Cowboys @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers reaction

The Dallas Cowboys eased to a 31-14 road win over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Monday to set up a Divisional Round clash with the San Francisco 49ers.

Dak Prescott upstaged Tom Brady on the night and attention swiftly turned to where the seven-time Super Bowl winner will be playing next season.

Cowboys secure crucial win

After back-to-back three-and-outs on their first two possessions, Dallas' offense found its groove and never looked back - capping four consecutive drives with touchdowns.

Prescott, who finished the regular season with a league-high 15 interceptions, played a much-needed turnover-free game.

His first TD came midway through the first quarter when he found a wide-open Dalton Schultz for a 22-yard score.

Dak capped off the Cowboys' next drive by faking a handoff and running in the end zone untouched. He finished the first half by finding Schultz again from 11 yards out to round off a 91-yard drive.

Dallas' 18-point lead ballooned to 24 on the first drive of the second half after Prescott picked out Michael Gallup in the back of the end zone for his third passing touchdown.

The Bucs showed life when Julio Jones took a Brady pass to the house, but Prescott soon connected with CeeDee Lamb to confirm the Cowboys' first playoff win since 2018.

Cowboys to face 49ers

Next up for Dallas will be their former foe from the 1990s, who scored 25-straight in the second half to defeat the Seattle Seahawks 41-23 earlier in Super Wild Card weekend.

The Niners are -185 on the Money Line for next Sunday's Divisional Round clash at Levi's Stadium.

It will be a tough test for Mike McCarthy's team as San Francisco has been building momentum since mid-season, winning 11-straight games, the NFL's longest active win streak.

Prescott will go up against arguably the best defense in the NFL, while the Niners' offense is stacked with star names like Christian McCaffrey, Deebo Samuel, and surprise rookie sensation Brock Purdy at QB.

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The Cowboys, who are 11-1 against the spread in their last 12 games, are 3.5-point underdogs against the 49ers.

Dallas will be out to avenge their home playoff defeat in last year's playoffs when San Francisco eliminated them in the Wild Card round by a score of 23-17.

Brady's last game in Tampa

The question of what's next for the NFL's greatest-ever quarterback came into sharp focus after the Bucs' defeat, which was the 48th playoff game of Brady's illustrious career - more than 23 of the NFL's 32 franchises have had in their entire history.

His contract with the Buccaneers is up and, after the stories that swirled following his retirement announcement and subsequent reversal last spring, not many are expecting him to stay in Tampa.

In May 2022, he agreed to a 10-year/$375 million deal to become Fox Sports' lead NFL analyst when he retires for good.

A handful of teams are interested in signing him in free agency, including the Miami Dolphins, whose owner was fined $1.5 million for 'impermissible contact' with Brady between 2019 and 2021.

The Las Vegas Raiders, currently coached by Brady's former offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels, are on the lookout for a new QB after giving up on Derek Carr. Patriots owner Robert Kraft, whose wedding Brady attended in October, may strive for one last season with Brady and head coach Bill Belichick.

Bowles' seat is getting hotter

Todd Bowles experienced his first-ever playoff game as a head coach on Monday, and it did not go well for him or his team.

The word from Tampa beforehand was that Bowles was safe, despite his first year after succeeding Super Bowl winner Bruce Arians being full of ups and downs.

Team owners the Glazer family have never previously fired a coach after one year. Despite finishing under .500, the Bucs managed to win the lowly NFC South in 2022-23 to clinch their spot in the postseason.

Bowles and his staff got out-thought in front of a national audience on Monday night and patience may be wearing thin among the powers that be at Raymond James Stadium.

Bucs at the back of quarterback queue

Tampa could dip their toes in the trade market for a new franchise quarterback, or try to land a serviceable starter in free agency.

Baker Mayfield, Sam Darnold and Jimmy Garoppolo all seem likely to be moving teams this offseason. This summer's NFL Draft is also projected to be one of the top QB draft classes in recent years.

By the time the Bucs pick at No.19 in the first round, highly-rated QB prospects Bryce Young, C.J. Stroud, and Will Levis are likely to be long gone.

There could still be some interesting prospects, such as Georgia's title-winning QB Stetson Bennett, available lower down but with potentially less upside in the long term.

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