Once again, a new football season has arrived.
The Sept. 11 season opener is finally here, and the DallasBoys.com staff has been pointing to this game since its release on the schedule in May — a Week 1 battle against the Bucs in 2021.
Here we are again, with the Cowboys now facing a season-opening battle at home with Tom Brady.
The DallasCowboys.com staff gives their ‘guts’ for this Week 1 matchup between the Bucs and Cowboys.
Rob Phillips: The vibe around this game is very different from a year ago when Dak Prescott and Tom Brady combined for 782 passing yards and seven touchdowns. This year, both teams seem to have more question marks on offense than defense. For Dallas, it’s well-documented: Inexperience on the offensive line, particularly at left tackle, and a depleted wide receiver corps. That may take some time to adjust. In the meantime, I’m looking forward to watching the Cowboys defense take on the greatest quarterback of all time. Despite some changes to Tampa Bay’s offensive line and receiver depth chart, Tom Brady is still Tom Brady. But there’s also real confidence surrounding the Cowboys’ defense — confidence in their speed, depth and scheme. I’ll take the Cowboys with more of a defensive battle at this point, something like 20-17.
Patrick Walker: Yes, the Cowboys have question marks on their offensive line with Zach Martin at receiver and left tackle, but the Buccaneers lost two starters on their O line — a Pro Bowler in Ali Marpete and also Alex Capa — and now have two players with zero combined NFL starts. That means rookie second-rounder Luke Godeke and second-year center Robert Hainsey are in the lineup. It may also be without speed expert Chris Godwin and / or slot threat Russell Gage, adjusting the playing field for Dallas. This game will play out just as it did in Week 1 of the 2021 season. The Cowboys offense will need to get creative, but their incredibly talented defense has the personnel and coordinators to give Tom Brady a bad day, and I believe they will. I’ll take the Cowboys, 28-21.
Nick Eatman: I’m not 100 percent sure what you think of the Cowboys as a whole this season, but I’m thinking they’ll hold their own for this game. And I think they will dominate this game from the start. Honestly, an early lead would benefit both teams, but I think the Cowboys will get off to a fast start — something that didn’t happen in January against the 49ers in the playoffs. This Cowboys defense, with Micah Parsons flying in, is ready to take off. I think Parsons will give Tom Brady some issues and the Bucs will have trouble trying to shut down the middle. The Cowboys are going to get some turnovers – KaVontae Turpin will make big plays on offense and on special teams and I feel like we’ll see Noah Brown do a lot of post-game interviews, maybe after a seven-catch, 85-yard day and a touchdown. Overall, the Cowboys come out of the gate with a big win. I’ll take Dallas, 31-14 after going out in the fourth quarter.
Kyle Youmans: With plenty of questions up front for both offensive lines, whichever defense has the better pass rush will have a chance to win Sunday night. It’s hard to say that a Dallas defense with plenty of weapons to choose from for Dan Quinn won’t take advantage of this Tampa Bay lead. It’s important to get off to a fast start, but I think Dallas will do it. Micah Parsons brings an extra element that Tampa lacked on defense last season. Give me the Cowboys to open the season, with a defensively dominated game and a 19-17 win over the Bucs.
Mickey Spagnola: Padding the big boy for these bold predictions. Be aware that No. 9 starter Ka’Vontae Turpin will be around when you watch this season opener, and expect Turpin’s time. He probably won’t be a return man, as Tampa Bay will remember his skills after his preseason game against the Chargers. But a big reason why he was named the USFL’s Most Valuable Player this year was as a wide receiver who caught 44 passes for a league-high 540 yards and four touchdowns with 316 yards after one catch. And because he made his presence known, the Cowboys won, the Cowboys won, 23-21.