TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach Todd Bowles has preached about reaching the playoffs, while his team faced one challenge after another on a tough quest to clinch the NFC South.

The first step is now complete. The Bucs are indeed in the postseason, even with an 8-9 record. Now, anything can happen.

On Monday, Bowles was joined by News Channel 8’s Dan Lucas for their weekly ‘Bucs with Bowles’ interview and the regular season finale took a backseat to the road ahead, a Monday night matchup against the Dallas Cowboys.

The game will be the third meeting between the two teams in two seasons. The first two games were both opening night contests with the Bucs winning both.

After a 19-3 opening night victory, the Bucs set off on an injury-riddled, difficult stretch to begin the season, a 2-2 record after four games and inconsistent production on offense.

The Cowboys lost quarterback Dak Prescott in that opener but then went on a four-game winning streak.

While both teams have evolved over the past four months, the points of emphasis for the Bucs remain the same.

On opening night, Cowboys’ linebacker Micah Parsons was a matchup nightmare, sacking quarterback Tom Brady twice. The Bucs used running backs to help block Parsons, finally buying enough time for Brady to work. Tampa Bay finished the game with just one touchdown, a highlight reel catch by Evans.

Bowles is confident in his defense heading into the playoffs, but Prescott is back for the Cowboys and will target one of the top wide receivers in the league, CeeDee Lamb, who played in all 17 games for Dallas, hauling in more than 1,300 receiving yards.