The Dallas Cowboys kick off their season of redemption against the defending champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers in this highly anticipated season opener. The Cowboys, with a returning Dak Prescott, are coming into this game looking to prove that last season was a fluke and that this team is ready to make a run. Meanwhile, the defending champions led by Tom Brady are looking to continue their dominance. Both teams come in with talent on both sides of the football and it will come down to which defense can hold up against the other talented playmakers on the other side of the football.
Let’s see what some media types are saying about the Cowboys week one matchup against the Buccaneers.
SportingNews (Bill Bender): Buccaneers 31, Cowboys 24
Tom Brady played in the NFL kickoff game four times in New England, and the Pats had a 3-1 record in those games. The Buccaneers have almost their entire core back from last year, and that pass rush will keep Prescott off balance in the first half. Dallas rallies to make it interesting, and the defending Super Bowl champ typically wins here. It’s a big spread, and we still think the Cowboys sneak in a back-door cover.
Pick: Buccaneers 31, Cowboys 24
Looks like he’s expecting the Buccaneer to come out guns blazing.
CBSSports (John Breech): Buccaneers 31, Cowboys 20
As for the Buccaneers, I’m not worried about Tom Brady at all, but maybe I should be, because he’s also had some health issues this offseason: Not only did he undergo knee surgery in February, but he also tested positive for COVID at some point in the same month. If this was any other player, I would be slightly concerned about all that, but Brady is literally the healthiest person on the planet. His knee probably healed three hours after surgery and COVID probably willingly left his body after realizing it had a zero percent chance of surviving in there. That kind of recovery is what happens when you drink kale milkshakes every day for nine straight years.
Brady also drank himself silly at the Super Bowl parade, but I have to think he’s recovered from that at this point. Of course, even if he still hasn’t even completely sobered up from the parade, I would still pick the Buccaneers to win because I don’t think Tampa Bay needs a completely sober Brady to beat the Cowboys. Super Bowl champs hosting the kickoff game are 13-2 since the NFL started letting them host the Thursday night opener in 2004 and although the Cowboys do have one of those two victories — they beat the Giants in 2012 — I think the Buccaneers are going to roll.
The pick: Buccaneers 31-20 over Cowboys.
Beyond Brady, many like the Bucs roster over the Cowboys.
ProFootballNetwork (Ben Rolfe): Buccaneers 27, Cowboys 24
The uncertainty around the Cowboys due to their injuries makes this a challenging game to pick. If Dak Prescott, Amari Cooper, and La’el Collins can hit the ground running, the Cowboys have the talent to push the Buccaneers.
However, Tampa Bay is an outstanding team. While the Cowboys could get close, winning on the opening day of the season on the road is tough. We have the Buccaneers leaving the contest victorious, but the Cowboys should be within a touchdown.
This outcome would be a positive for the Cowboys in some people's eyes.
SportingNews (Vinnie Iyer): Buccaneers 34, Cowboys 24
The Buccaneers will be amped to celebrate their Super Bowl 55 ring to start the season. Tom Brady returns to a powerhouse that didn’t lose any key players from last season and will go to work against an overhauled Cowboys defense, led by former Falcons coach Dan Quinn. Dallas has another big question mark right away regarding the health of Dak Prescott with mystery about his shoulder injury. The visitors have plenty of firepower, too, but Tampa Bay will turn them away in key spots, flexing again on all three defensive levels.
Pick: Buccaneers win 34-24 and cover the spread.
The Tampa Bay defense may just be too much for the Cowboys to overcome,
CBSSports (Pete Prisco): Buccaneers 28, Cowboys 24
The Bucs return all 22 starters as the defending champions, which makes this a tough, tough road challenge to open for Dallas. The Cowboys do have Dak Prescott back, but the Tampa Bay defense will be better this year and Dallas will be without All-Pro guard Zack Martin. Something tells me the Cowboys will do enough on offense to hang around in this game. It’s close, but the Bucs will win it.
Pick: Bucs 28, Cowboys 24
Similar story to many predictions, but the Cowboys keep it close.
SportsIllustrated (Zach Goodall): Buccaneers 31, Cowboys 20
SI Betting lists Tampa Bay as the 7.5-point favorite over Dallas on Thursday with the over/under set at 52. While I think the Buccaneers will cover the spread, I think the Bucs defense will be able to hold the Cowboys to two field goals on drives in scoring position with big plays on third down.
Offensively, I’d figure the Buccaneers’ passing game will pick up right where it left off in 2020 and have little-to-no issues moving the ball. The biggest question, for me, is what the Bucs’ rushing attack will look like and if it can develop a flow between three meaningful contributors in Ronald Jones II, Leonard Fournette, and Giovani Bernard. I’m thinking Jones will look like the most impressive of the three in week one.
To keep the Joe Tryon-Shoyinka hype rolling after his productive rookie preseason, I bet he records a sack as one of Tampa Bay’s big third-down plays on the night.
SportsIllustrated (Jason Beede): Buccaneers 27, Cowboys 21
I have this game finishing a little closer than Zach and Evan, but I think that’s mainly because it’s a season-opener and there can be a lot of unknowns in a game like this.
We all saw last year how the Bucs struggled in the first quarter during stretches of the season, but I have a feeling this team will come out and jump out to an early lead. That’s in large part due to a normal offseason for veteran quarterback Tom Brady, who now has a better understanding of Tampa Bay’s playbook compared to last September.
The one concern I have is Tampa Bay’s secondary handling CeeDee Lamb and Michael Gallup in Dak Prescott’s first game back after returning from injury. Safety Antoine Winfield Jr. and cornerback Carlton Davis III will have their hands full Thursday night.
SportsIllustrated (Evan Winter): Buccaneers 32, Cowboys 23
I literally had the same score as Zach going in to Thursday night, so instead of Wheel Of Fortune-ing him, I’ll just add a couple of points because we all love more points, right?
This game is Tampa’s to lose. The Bucs outmatch the Cowboys in most areas and there is simply more consistency on both sides of the ball for the Bucs. The Cowboys are not only getting back a Dak Prescott who hasn’t seen live action in basically a year, but they’re also breaking in a brand new defense under new coordinator Dan Quinn. In all, the Bucs simply have too much going for them to lose this game.
I think Ronald Jones II has a monster game, rushing for over 150 yards and at least one touchdown on opening night.
Looks like it’s a clean sweep for the Bucs.
There doesn’t seem to be a lot of faith in the Cowboys pulling off the upset victory tomorrow. But this is the NFL and anything can happen, so we’ll all have to just wait and see.