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The Cowboys face one of their toughest tests of the season right out of the gate against Tampa Bay

It may be the most important game the Cowboys play all season.

NFL: AUG 29 Preseason - Buccaneers at Cowboys Photo by Andrew Dieb/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

No one likes starting a race behind the curve. In some cases, jumping out of the blocks with a gradual pace doesn’t hamper one’s winning chances to a severe degree. We’ve all heard the old adage that marathons are won with a “slow and steady pace”, and when the race is lengthy, an intermediate tempo is oftentimes ideal for securing a victory lap.

But in the hurried drag race that is the NFL season, “slow and steady” is a perfect recipe for finishing in last place.

We’ve seen the negative consequences that come as a result of sputtered starts over the years. Coach firings, quarterback replacements, and fan uprisings have plagued franchises who’ve fallen to the league’s bottom shelves to open the season.

And for Dallas, lousy inceptions were the norm in 2020-21, even before Dak Prescott suffered his devastating setback.

The first few games were a mind-numbing collection of first-half beatdowns, followed by valiant second-half efforts that surprisingly ended in victory on a couple occasions. Prescott racked up behemoth-sized passing numbers, and the offense saw some of its best collective outputs in quite some time.

Which quite frankly, came as a result of pure necessity. For if the unit didn’t crunch together scoring drives in a jiffy, it would’ve fallen by near 50-point deficits by the close of several outings. The team is hoping to stray far away from that theme this season. #4 is back under center, its defense has been reloaded (to a certain degree), and expectations are lofty following what the Jones family would consider a successful offseason.

All things are in order for the unit to start fast, and close furiously.

Dallas sports the second-easiest schedule league-wide according to CBS Sports, which is bested only by their familiar NFC East competitor, the Philadelphia Eagles. But they’ll face arguably their toughest challenge right off the bat: Tampa Bay, who is still riding high after ascending to the mountaintop in last year’s Super Bowl. Tom Brady remains a human unicorn, undeterred by Father Time, while the team retained nearly every defensive starter from its championship run last year.

It’ll undoubtedly be an all-out slobber-knocker on primetime, and should go down as one of the most-watched game all season. And It may the game Dallas has circled with the highest sense of urgency. Stealing a win could set an emphatic initial tone on the team’s division-winning efforts.

Lose, and we’re all familiar with what happens when the Cowboys begin seasons poorly. It doesn’t make things impossible, not by a long shot, but it won’t be a welcome happenstance for all associated with the organization.

So will they be able to pull it off?

Poll

Let us know: will Dallas top Tampa Bay in the season opener?

This poll is closed

  • 58%
    They sure will!
    (507 votes)
  • 41%
    Not happening
    (357 votes)
864 votes total Vote Now