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Cowboys another tough assignment for Bucs' Jameis Winston

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Winston not a sure thing vs. Dallas (2:05)

Field Yates, Mike Clay and Stephania Bell share their rankings for Jameis Winston. (2:05)

TAMPA, Fla. -- Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Jameis Winston enters the second leg of a two-game trip against elite defenses when he faces the Dallas Cowboys, ranked No. 5 overall, on Sunday (1 p.m. ET, Fox). Last week, Baltimore's No. 1-ranked unit held him to a career-low 157 passing yards.

Here's a closer look at Sunday's game:

New faces

It's a different Cowboys defense than the one Winston faced in 2016 when Dallas beat the Bucs 26-20. The personnel has changed. They're getting more pressure up front with DeMarcus Lawrence, who continues to grow into his role after a 14.5-sack season in 2017, as does Randy Gregory after missing all of 2017.

They also drafted linebackers Leighton Vander Esch and Jaylon Smith and defensive end Taco Charlton, who has been dealing with a shoulder injury. They also moved Byron Jones back to cornerback after he spent two years at safety.

"We just made a concerted effort as an organization to improve our defense. We played a lot of 38-35, 35-31-type games around here for a long time,” Cowboys coach Jason Garrett said.

It's paying off. The Cowboys are allowing just 19.2 points per game, fourth-fewest in the league. Their 317.4 yards per game given up is also fifth-best in the league.

Different scheme

Under new defensive backs coach/passing game coordinator Kris Richard (Seattle's defensive coordinator from 2015 to 2017), the Cowboys play a lot of Cover 3, single-high safety as opposed to a split-safety system.

How does that impact Winston?

Though Dallas has strong personnel on the back end, Dirk Koetter's four verticals passing concept does allow the Bucs to attack seam routes, and Winston's use of play-action can help get defenders out of position while putting their safety in a bind.

Not much blitzing

Unlike last week, when Winston faced a Ravens defense that blitzes more per dropback than any other team in the league (36.5 percent), the Cowboys only blitz 19.2 percent of the time (eighth fewest).

Dallas prefers to rush with four, using twists and stunts. Will that change this week after the Cowboys put very little pressure on Andrew Luck last week in a 23-0 loss in Indianapolis? There has been talk that their pass rush has faded down the stretch, but leave it to Rod Marinelli to get those guys back on track.

Limiting QBs outside the pocket

One thing the Cowboys did really well against Winston in 2016 was limit his ability to make plays outside the pocket. They're doing that this year, making it difficult for opposing quarterbacks to complete passes on the move.

Quarterbacks have a 96.3 passer rating against the Cowboys, 22nd in the league. But their 66.1 percent passer rating allowed outside the pocket is fourth-lowest in the league. The Cowboys are also the only team in the league that has not given up a touchdown thrown from outside the pocket.

If you go back to last week though, Luck was able to scramble outside the pocket for first downs, something Winston does extremely well.

Scoring challenges

Like last week against the Ravens, when Winston and the Bucs were held to 12 points and shut out in the second half, the Bucs face another defense that is good in the red zone. The Cowboys' defense has a 50 percent red zone efficiency rating, sixth-best in the league.

The Bucs will also have to be efficient with their scoring chances. The Ravens dominated time of possession last week by running the ball, and that is something the Cowboys can do with Ezekiel Elliott. The threat of wideout Amari Cooper keeps opposing teams from stacking the box against Elliott, allowing Dallas to control the clock.