Dallas Cowboys vs Tampa Bay Buccaneers Prediction, Pick and Preview, September 9 (9/9): NFL Week 1

Dallas Cowboys vs Tampa Bay Buccaneers Prediction, Pick and Preview, September 9 (9/9): NFL Week 1

Credit: photo by Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

Time 8:20 p.m. EST
Cowboys money line +340
Cowboys spread +8.0
Buccaneers money line -370
Buccaneers spread -8.0
Over / under 52.0


2020 season stats
  Cowboys Buccaneers
Record 6-10 11-5
Road / home record 2-6 5-3
Points per game 24.7 30.8
Points allowed per game 29.4 22.2
Pass yard per game 260 289
Rush yards per game 112 95
Total yards per game 394 393
Total yards allowed per game 398 350
Turnover ratio -3 8



The much-anticipated NFL season opener kicks off on Thursday Night Football, as Dak Prescott and the Dallas Cowboys head to Tampa Bay to meet Tom Brady and the Buccaneers.  These teams last played each other in the regular season in Dallas, before the arrival of Brady, where the Cowboys won 27-20.

The Cowboys finished the 2020 season 6-10 after Dak Prescott had a season-ending injury in the 5th game of the season.  They were only 2-3 with Prescott playing.  He was replaced by Andy Dalton, who actually carried the team well and they had some impressive wins later in the season.  Second year head coach Mike McCarthy will have his team healthy for one game, at least.

The Buccaneers of course hoisted the Lombardi Trophy after a stellar 11-5 regular season.  They are the first team ever to retain the entire starting lineup from last year.

Offensive matchup

Dak Prescott is back, and has fully recovered from his training camp ankle injury and his sore shoulder from August.  Zack Martin, Tyron Smith, La'el Collins and Blake Jarwin are back, albeit Martin is out due to Covid Thursday night.  Prescott has Amari Cooper, CeeDee Lamb and Michael Gallup to throw to, all electrifying receivers in their own right.  Ezekiel Elliott has reportedly shed 10 pounds and is looking to be a workhorse again.  With a strong rushing game, Prescott and his receivers should get plenty of yards this season.

Brady is back, and is looking to win back to back Super Bowls.  Mike Evans, Chris Godwin and Downtown Antonion Brown line up at receiver, with Rob Gronkowski at tight end.  Leonard Fournette and Ronald Jones II will take the ball on the ground, and Giovani Bernard has joined as a pass-catcher out of the back field.

Defensive matchup

Dan Quinn comes in as new defensive coordinator for the Cowboys.  DeMarcus Lawrence was rested in preseason, but should be hungry to get after Brady.  The #12 overall pick in the 2021 draft, Micah Parsons, takes point at middle linebacker and will be calling the defense.

The Buccaneers defensive line is scary, with Shaq Barrett, Jason Pierre-Paul, and 32nd pick Joe Tryon-Shoyinka, who had three sacks in the preseason.  Add Ndamukong Suh and Vita Vea, and Dak and the Cowboys should be in for a long night.


Zack Martin is out due to Covid, just want the Cowboys didn't need against the Buccaneers' strong pass rush.  Dak is likely to have very limited time to get the ball out, forcing him to do a lot of dinking and dunking.  A lot of the workload will go to Ezekiel Elliott, but will he have anywhere to run?  Brady and his offense are all back this season, so they should settle right into the groove.  He'll have had more time with Antonio Brown, and with Mike Evans and Chris Godwin out there as well, Brady should have a big passing day.  We think the Buccaneers will dominate the Cowboys' offense on the line, and Brady and crew will roll up at least 30 points, winning by 10+.

PICK: Buccaneers -8.0 (-110)

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