The Dallas Cowboys and Tampa Bay Buccaneers are set to kick-off the 2021 NFL season on Thursday at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida.
The Buccaneers are looking to defend their title after becoming the first team in NFL history to win the Super Bowl at home last season.
The Cowboys are looking to rebound from a disappointing 2020 season where they finished 6-10 in an injury-plagued season. Dak Prescott will be playing in his first NFL game since suffering his season-ending injury on October 11, 2020.
Keys to victory for the Dallas Cowboys
How do the Cowboys stop the Bucs' offense?
For me, this is the biggest question of the game for the Cowboys. There are still questions about the Cowboys secondary and pass rush. If the Cowboys are unable to get pressure on Tom Brady, it will be a long night.
I have high expectations for Trevon Diggs in Year 2. However, I don't know who else steps up in the secondary for Dallas. Mike Evans, Chris Godwin, and Antonio Brown are probably the best set of receivers in the league.
Will the Cowboys be able to block the Bucs' defensive line?
We saw what the Bucs' can do to a team that is struggling on the offensive line in the Super Bowl. That's why the Zack Martin news over the weekend was so big. Martin isn't expected to play on Thursday after testing positive for COVID-19 on Saturday. La'el Collins is battling stingers so there are questions on whether he will be able to finish the game.
Buccaneers - Antonio Brown
According to reports, Brown is looking like Antonio from "4-5 years ago." If that is true, that is bad news for the entire NFL. When Brown was in peak form, Brown was the best WR in football and I am not sure it was close.
Cowboys - Keanu Neal
Keanu Neal is a big reason why I think the Dallas defense can be Top 10 in scoring defense in 2021. His speed and playmaking ability stood out in his limited preseason snaps. The Dallas linebackers are the best group of the defense and will be the reason why Dallas wins, if they are to win this game.
Bucs - 34
Cowboys - 27
I expect the Cowboys to keep this game somewhat close throughout. But in the end, I expect the Tampa defense to get one more stop than the Cowboys and win a close game.