If there’s any doubt that the Dallas Cowboys are still “America’s Team”, recent news about how the NFL has chosen to kick off their regular season likely seals it. The league has decided that the first game of the upcoming 2021 regular season will feature the Cowboys against the reigning Super Bowl champions.
That’s right. A team that finished last season with a 6-10 record has been chosen to play in the season opener against the champs who finished 11-5 in 2020.
The Cowboys will kick off Week One of the NFL regular season on Thursday night, September 9, on NBC. Dallas will travel to Flordia to face the defending Super Bowl champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers according to NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport.
It should be a marquee matchup of two of the league’s top quarterbacks in Tom Brady and Dak Prescott. The latter suffered a season-ending ankle injury in Week Five last year that sent the playoff-worthy Cowboys into a downward spiral. Dallas lost six of their following seven games without Prescott starting under center.
Despite the injury, Prescott was signed to a massive four-year, $160 million contract this offseason to remain at the helm of America’s Team. He’s expected to return to the Cowboys at full strength to lead them to a divisional championship in a very winnable NFL East this upcoming season.
The last time the Cowboys faced off against the Bucs in the regular season was Week 16 back in 2018 at AT&T Stadium. In that matchup, Dallas faced Bucs quarterback Jameis Winston, who threw for 336 yards and one score. While Prescott completed 20 of his 25 passes for 161 yards and had two total touchdowns (one through the air, one on the ground) in a 27-20 victory.
A key defensive play in that previous matchup against Tampa Bay was a strip-sack by defensive end Randy Gregory on Winston that resulted in a 69-yard scoop and score by linebacker Jaylon Smith late in the first quarter.
The Dallas Cowboys are also set to play the Las Vegas Raiders on Thanksgiving Day, Thursday, November 25 at AT&T Stadium. The NFL Network will release the entire 2021 NFL regular-season schedule on Wednesday night at 7:00 p.m. CT.