NFL to ring in '21 season with Cowboys-Bucs

May 12, 2021Jenna LaineESPN Staff Writer CloseCovered the Buccaneers since 2009 Joined ESPN in 2016TAMPA, Fla. -- The Tampa Bay Buccaneers will begin their Super Bowl defense against the Dallas Cowboys in the NFL Kickoff Game on Thursday, Sept. 9, at Raymond James Stadium, but all eyes will be on Tom Brady's return to Foxborough,…

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Would possibly well well merely 12, 2021

  • laine jenna

    Jenna LaineESPN Workers Writer


    • Lined the Buccaneers since 2009
    • Joined ESPN in 2016

TAMPA, Fla. -- The Tampa Bay Buccaneers will start up their Expansive Bowl defense in opposition to the Dallas Cowboys in the NFL Kickoff Sport on Thursday, Sept. 9, at Raymond James Stadium, nevertheless all eyes will likely be on Tom Brady's return to Foxborough, Massachusetts, on Oct. 3.

The Week 4 sport on "Sunday Night time Football" will price Brady's first assembly in opposition to the Patriots since he signed with the Bucs as a free agent remaining offseason, leaving in the help of the legacy he had in-built Fresh England, the save he performed 20 seasons and acquired six of his seven Expansive Bowl titles.

The night can even price the return of Bucs tight dwell Rob Gronkowski, who performed 9 seasons in Fresh England, successful three titles. Gronkowski, who turns 32 on Friday, retired after the 2018 season ensuing from injuries sooner than returning to play with Brady in Tampa Bay remaining season and successful his fourth ring.

Brady will enter the season correct 1,154 yards in the help of Drew Brees for the NFL's occupation passing list. With the Pats sport in Week 4, he could perhaps perhaps be in line to interrupt the cost in his return to Foxborough. At his 2020 tempo (289.6 passing yards per sport), he would construct Week 4 with 1,158 yards.

The Patriots, with Cam Newton mostly below heart, went 7-9 in 2020, missing the playoffs for the first time since the 2008 season.

This also can price the first time the Bucs will play in the Kickoff Sport, the season-opening contest that was once presented in 2002. They acquired Expansive Bowl XXXVII, then opened the next season on Monday Night time Football, defeating the Philadelphia Eagles at Lincoln Financial Discipline in 2003.

Since 2004, 16 defending Expansive Bowl champions contain performed in the NFL season opener, and these groups contain long past 13-3.

Brady and Cowboys' quarterback Dak Prescott -- who's expected to be relief from a compound rupture and dislocation of his correct ankle suffered remaining season -- will face off for correct the 2nd time of their careers. Their first matchup was once in 2019, when Brady was once peaceful with the Patriots. (Fresh England acquired 13-9.)

"9/9 can no longer attain soon ample," Brady posted in his Instagram Epic on Tuesday. "Furious to originate in opposition to 'The US's Team.'"

The Bucs, who opened as six-point favorites over the Cowboys at Caesars Sportsbook by William Hill on Wednesday, are 0-2 all time in opposition to Prescott, having fallen 27-20 in Week 16 in 2018 and 26-20 in Week 15 in 2016, with both games performed at AT&T Stadium.

In Brady's first season with the personnel, the Bucs averaged 30.19 factors per sport in 2020 -- 2nd most in the NFL in the help of easiest the Inexperienced Bay Packers. The Cowboys allowed a franchise-worst 473 factors in 2020, with historical Atlanta Falcons head coach Dan Quinn taking on defensive playcalling in 2021 and orchestrating a defensive overhaul.

Six of the 13 gamers who began and/or performed bigger than 40% of the Cowboys' defensive snaps in 2020 contain retired or are no longer any longer with the personnel, whereas the Bucs return all 22 starters on offense and defense from their Expansive Bowl LV bewitch -- the first time a personnel has performed that in the salary cap period.

Final 365 days, the Kansas City Chiefs defeated the Houston Texans 34-20 in the NFL Kickoff Sport at Arrowhead Stadium. They ended up going 14-2 in the fashioned-or-backyard season sooner than losing to the Bucs 31-9 in Expansive Bowl LV.

For the reason that Kickoff Sport was once presented, Brady has long past 3-1 in the Thursday night opener, with wins in 2004, '05 and '15 whereas with the Patriots. His lone loss came in opposition to the Chiefs at Gillette Stadium in 2017. Brady also has doubtlessly the most starts (four) and wins (three) in the Kickoff Sport of any quarterback since the NFL began taking half in such games in 2002.

Brady is 10-1 all time when opening the season at home, nevertheless it for sure will price his first time doing in relate a Buccaneer. The 42-27 loss to the Chiefs in 2017 was once his easiest defeat at home in Week 1.

The league and the Tampa Bay Sports Commission are planning a free song and soccer competition main up to this 365 days's opener. The league place of job says particulars on the musical acts will likely be unveiled this summer.

The NFL presented schedules for all 32 groups on Wednesday night. The 2021 NFL season will price the first time every personnel will play 17 traditional-season games.

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