Before the rematch kicks off, here are three bold predictions for Sunday night’s matchup.
1) Cowboys get consistent pressure on Tom Brady, leading to multiple takeaways for the defense
Last season the Cowboys defense led the NFL with 34 takeaways, four of which came in the Week 1 opener against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Dallas picked off Bucs’ signal-caller Tom Brady twice and recovered two fumbles.
This year, the Cowboys defense has a chance to replicate that performance, going up against a Buccaneers team with an almost completely rebuilt offensive line. Tamp Bay lost Alex Capa in free agency, Ali Marpet to retirement, and Ryan Jensen to an injury at the beginning of camp. The Bucs will look to replace these three with rookie third-rounder Luke Goedeke at left guard, 24-year-old Robert Hainsey at center, and new addition Shaq Mason at right guard.
As the season rolls on, the Buccaneers could end up having a solid offensive line as the group gains some continuity. Unfortunately, they don’t get a chance to settle in before going up against a talented Cowboys defensive front in Week 1.
The Cowboys take advantage of Tampa Bay’s movement on the offensive line and are able to get consistent pressure on Tom Brady. This forces Brady into throwing two interceptions, one to Trevon Diggs and one to Leighton Vander Esch.
The Dallas defense picks up right where they left off, forcing multiple turnovers in the season opener once again.
2) Noah Brown scores the first touchdown of his NFL career
With Michael Gallup and James Washington sidelined by injuries to start the season, the Cowboys are going to need 26-year-old Noah Brown to produce on their offense. Brown, who has just 39 receptions in his NFL career, will be Dallas’ starting number two wideout for the time being.
Although he has not had tons of on-field success during his career, Brown has earned the trust of maybe the most important person in the offensive room, his quarterback Dak Prescott.
Prescott spoke highly of Brown when asked about his progress heading into his sixth year in the league.
“Noah’s earned my trust from Day 1, and it’s only gotten greater and greater. You want to find a guy who’s the epitome of being a professional — it’s Noah Brown, on and off the field.”
The Buccaneers are going to focus on taking CeeDee Lamb out of the equation, so Noah Brown and Jalen Tolbert will need to step up if the Cowboys are going to win this game.
In his 51st game in the NFL, Noah Brown finally finds the end zone, recording his first NFL touchdown reception and playing a pivotal role in the eventual outcome of the game.
3) Cowboys flip the script from 2021, defeating the Bucs on a last-second field goal of their own
We all remember how Cowboys/Buccaneers ended in Week 1 of the 2021 season. Dallas drove down the field and took the lead on a Greg Zuerlein field goal, 29-28 with just 1:24 left.
The Cowboys were a little over a minute away from stealing one in Tampa, but as he’s made a career out of doing, Tom Brady said not so fast. Brady marched Tampa’s offense down the field and set up Ryan Succop to hit a game-winning field goal, giving the Buccaneers the 31-29 victory.
This year the same story will take place, but the roles will be reversed. Brady and the Bucs kick a field goal to take a two-point lead with a little over two minutes remaining. Dak Prescott does his best Brady impression, leading the Dallas offense down the field and giving Brett Maher a chance to send Cowboys fans home happy.
To the surprise of many, Maher nails a 41-yarder right down the middle, giving the Cowboys their first win against Tom Brady and starting off the season 1-0.