The schedule-makers didn’t do the Dallas Cowboys any favors, did they? Starting off the 2021 season against the defending Super Bowl champions isn’t the ideal way to get the season off on the right foot, but the Cowboys are up against Thursday night when they hit the road to take on Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
This is a game that is setting up to be an exciting one. The Cowboys and Buccaneers have two of the more talented offenses in the entire league, led by two extremely talented QBs. As such, we could see a shoot out type of game to get the 2021 season started.
As exciting as this game may be, someone has to come out on top. Someone is going to be the victor Thursday night, but to do so they may need to win certain matchups. Today, we will take a look at a few of the more problematic and advantageous matchups the Dallas Cowboys might have to overcome if they want any chance of getting that “W”.
Tom Brady vs. Cowboys defense
Tom Brady is a seasoned veteran who has seen and done it all in the NFL. He’s fully aware of the Cowboys defensive struggles last year and is probably licking his chops for this Week 1 matchup. Outside of maybe DeMarcus Lawrence, who hasn’t played at all this preseason, there’s really not a single Cowboys defender TB12 probably fears. Hopefully Dan Quinn has something up his sleeve to throw Brady off his game just a little bit, otherwise the future Hall of Famer is probably looking forward to having his way Thursday night against one of the leagues worst defenses just a season ago.
Mike Evans vs. Anthony Brown
Anthony Brown’s days as a starter may be numbered if he’s forced to cover Mike Evans for the majority of the game Thursday night. This has matchup problem written all over it, which is why Bruce Arians and Tom Brady will probably be doing everything in their power to get these two players squared off against one another. Brown just doesn’t have the size or skill set to match up very well against Evans’ 6’5” frame or strength. Dan Quinn better have a game plan in place to get AB all the help he can, otherwise TB12 is going to pick him apart and lead the Buccaneers to an easy victory.
Ndamukong Suh vs. Cowboys’ IOL
News broke Sunday that the Cowboys will be without their All-Pro right guard Zack Martin against the Buccaneers due to testing positive for COVID. That’s a huge blow to Dallas’ interior offensive line and an opportunity for Tampa Bay. Although he’s not the player he once was, Ndamukong Suh still has ability to disrupt the Cowboys rushing and passing attack if not contained or slowed down. That job will partially fall on the shoulders of Tyler Biadasz and Connor McGovern, two players with very little starting experience in the NFL. And, if worrying about Suh wasn’t enough, they also have to worry about Vita Vea as well. OUCH!
Dak Prescott vs. Tampa’s secondary
Just as Tom Brady is probably licking his chops to go up against Dallas’ secondary, Dak Prescott is likely doing the same waiting to take on Tampa Bay’s. Prescott has a plethora of weapons at his disposal to pick apart the Buccaneers secondary at will in the season opener if he has time to throw the ball. Protection could unfortunately be an issue without Zack Martin in the lineup Thursday night. Because of that, No. 4 may have to get rid of the ball sooner than he wants. However, if he has the time he needs he should be able to do quite a bit of damage in the passing game.
Micah Parsons vs. the Tampa Bay offense
If we learned anything about how the Dallas Cowboys and Dan Quinn plan on using Micah Parsons this year based on his utilization in preseason, it’s that he will be lined up all over the place. Parsons was quite impressive playing a variety of roles in the few defensive snaps he played in four preseason games. Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay offense are going to have to account for No. 11 on the field at all times. The former Penn State linebacker has an innate ability to be a game=wrecker from a variety of alignments, and as such, could be a thorn in the Bucs side Thursday night. In need of more playmakers, that would be great news for the Dallas defense.