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Cowboys news: Examining the week one matchup against the Bucs

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NFL: DEC 18 Buccaneers at Cowboys Photo by Andrew Dieb/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

What do We Learn From Cowboys Updated 2021 Depth Chart? - Jess Haynie, Inside The Star

Going up against the defending champs is probably the best way to evaluate your team.

Defensive Tackle

Carlos Watkins is currently on the 1st-team defense along with rookie Osa Odighizuwa. This puts Brent Urban as a backup; surprising given how he and Watkins first joined the team.

Urban and Watkins got nearly identical 1-year contracts from Dallas but with an important distinction. Brent’s contract was fully guaranteed while Carlos’ had minimal guaranteed money. That indicated the team was higher on Urban back when both were signed as free agents.

Now a depth chart listing may not mean much once you see the actual snap counts and how much either guy was on the field. But to now see Watkins listed as a starter over Urban may tell us that something shifted during camp.

Linebacker

Jaylon Smith is still listed as a starter along with Micah Parsons and Leighton Vander Esch. Is that veteran deference or a sign that the coaches aren’t as down on him as 99% of Cowboys fans?

As was just mentioned, we’ll see down the road how much Smith actually is on the field over Keanu Neal and Jabril Cox. NFL teams spend most of the game in nickel defense now and we’ve heard that Parsons and Neal will be the primary pair for that scheme.

If Jaylon is only “starting” in the base defense then his snap count may be pretty low when all is said and done.

Zack Martin out with COVID: Jerry Jones says Cowboys OL could still play - Riley Gates, 24/7 Sports

If Martin can somehow get into this game that would be a huge boost for this team.

The Dallas Cowboys got handed some tough news this week with the update that starting right guard Zack Martin would miss the Thursday night season opener against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers due to a positive COVID-19 test. While that has been reported widely, team owner and general manager Jerry Jones left the door open to Martin possibly playing when he joined ESPN’s First Take on Monday morning.

“He’s going to be testing right up until game time,” Jones said on the show. “Maybe we can get a couple of negative tests out of him. I’m always looking for that pony in there somewhere. … If he can get two negatives over the next couple of days, then he could play. Don’t hold out for that. Don’t hold out for that.”

The 16th overall pick out of Notre Dame in the 2014 NFL Draft, Martin has been stellar for the Cowboys during his NFL career. Martin has played seven seasons in the NFL, being All-Pro six times in that stretch. Martin has also made it to six Pro Bowl rosters and has served as crucial protection for quarterback Dak Prescott.

That protection will be needed even more this season, as Prescott is coming off of a fractured ankle suffered last October. Prescott is also battling a shoulder injury that flared up during the team’s training camp this summer. Prescott clearly needs all the protection he can get while on the field this year, especially against a Tampa Bay defense that rattled Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes in last year’s Super Bowl. Jones made it clear just how important Martin is to the Cowboys’ success on the field.

Cowboys Game Thursday: Cowboys vs Buccaneers odds and prediction for NFL Week 1 game - Luis Tirado Jr., The Landry Hat

Pretty sure everyone has the Cowboys taking a loss this week.

The Buccaneers, on the other hand, enjoyed an 11-5 season that ended with a huge Super Bowl championship. It’s amazing the impact a quarterback can have on an entire organization as Tom Brady once again proved he’s one of the greatest football players to ever play the game. This Week 1 matchup will be the first regular season football game played to kick off the new NFL season.

Cowboys vs Buccaneers Odds Week 1

The Week 1 betting odds on WynnBET have the Buccaneers as 7.5-point favorites at home. The Buccaneers have -360 moneyline odds, while the Cowboys are the underdog at +280. The total for the game is set at an over/under of 51.5 points.

Cowboys vs Buccaneers Prediction Week 1

Things aren’t looking too good for the Cowboys entering this Week 1 matchup. They have two big pieces of their starting offensive line that bring huge question marks for the positional group to be at full strength.

Offensive guard Zack Martin is officially out due to landing on the Reserve/COVID-19 list and offensive tackle La’el Collins could be listed as probable due to a neck injury sustained in training camp. Considering that the Cowboys’ offensive line in the past has dealt with several injuries, it already doesn’t bode well for quarterback Dak Prescott to be given the time and protection he needs to do what he does best.

Ezekiel Elliott Calls Zack Martin Cowboys’ Best Player on Offense - Timothy Rapp, Bleacher Report

Zeke says Martin is the best.

Elliott’s assessment of Martin might surprise some people on an offense loaded with stars at the skill positions like himself, Dak Prescott and Amari Cooper. But it was Martin who was the highest-ranking Cowboy on Pro Football Focus’ ranking of the top 50 players in football this summer, coming in at No. 13.

As Sam Monson wrote, “The Dallas offensive line fell apart last season, but Martin was still playing his best football right up until getting injured, even when he kicked out to right tackle. Martin earned a PFF overall grade of 91.3 at the time of his injury, allowing just 13 total pressures across 10 games. He has now allowed just one sack in two years for the Cowboys.”

So Martin’s absence on Thursday against the defending Super Bowl champions—he’s reportedly vaccinated, but still requires a five-day absence in the league’s return-to-play protocols—is a major loss for a Cowboys team with major aspirations of their own this season.

As regular seasons go, is Bucs-Cowboys hottest ticket in Tampa Bay history? - Joey Knight, Tampa Bay Times

Cowboys are always a hot ticket.

TAMPA — As expected, tickets for the Bucs’ regular-season opener are selling at postseason rates on the secondary market, making Thursday night’s contest potentially electric and historic.

The prime-time showdown against the Cowboys at Raymond James Stadium could be the most coveted regular-season ticket in local sports history.

As of early Monday afternoon, a pair of lower-level seats behind the Bucs sideline — as well as two second-level club seats on the home side — were selling for more than $2,200 apiece on StubHub. A pair of lower-level tickets behind the Cowboys sideline were going for slightly more than $1,500 each on SeatGeek.

Some upper-level seats (section 300) were priced at $1,957 each on vividseats.com.

Thursday’s nationally televised contest will be the first Bucs regular-season home game open to a full-capacity audience (65,890) since Dec. 29, 2019. The team announced in June that all eight 2021 regular-season contests at Raymond James Stadium are sold out.

Cowboys-Buccaneers Injury Report Sept. 6: Jordan Whitehead Remains Out - Carmen Vitali, Buccaneers.com

Not too many players are injured and the biggest name still remains Zack Martin.

Should Whitehead be unavailable, it would likely be safety Mike Edwards that would step in alongside safety Antoine Winfield Jr. Because of the extended absence of Whitehead, Edwards has gotten nearly a full camp with the first team and performed well. It will also be his third year in the Bucs’ system and with familiar faces around him.

“Super comfortable,” Arians said of potentially having to start Edwards or cornerback-turned-safety Ross Cockrell. “Ross has had a hell of a camp and obviously made the transition easily for us. Mike is a ballhawk. So, I’m very, very comfortable with where we’re at there.”

Eight players appeared with designations for Dallas, including quarterback Dak Prescott as he battles back from his right shoulder injury. He was a full participant on Monday, though. In fact, the only player that didn’t participate fully for Dallas was tackle Ty Nsekhe, who was limited.

Read below for the full injury report for both teams:

Buccaneers

RB Giovani Bernard (ankle) – Full Participation

WR Antonio Brown (knee) – Full Participation

S Jordan Whitehead (hamstring) – Did Not Participate

Cowboys

DE Tarell Basham (ankle) – Full Participation

T La’el Collins (neck) – Full Participation

DE Chauncey Golston (hamstring) – Full Participation

CB C.J. Goodwin (hamstring) – Full Participation

T Ty Nsekhe (foot) – Limited Participation

QB Dak Prescott (right shoulder) – Full Participation

S Donovan Wilson (groin) – Full Participation

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