Once again, a new football season has arrived.
The Sept. 11 season opener is finally here and the staff of DallasCowboys.com has been pointing to this game since it came out on the schedule back in May – a rematch of the Week 1 battle with the Bucs in 2021.
Here we are again, as the Cowboys now get to face Tom Brady at home for a season-opening battle.
The DallasCowboys.com staff gives their 'gut feeling' for this Week 1 matchup between the Bucs and Cowboys.
Rob Phillips: The vibe around this game is much different than a year ago when Dak Prescott and Tom Brady combined for 782 passing yards and seven touchdowns. This year both teams seemingly 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 sort out. In the meantime, I'm looking forward to seeing the Cowboys defense fly around against the greatest quarterback of all time. Tom Brady is still Tom Brady, even with some changes on Tampa Bay's offensive line and receiver depth chart. But there's also a real confidence around the Cowboys defense – a belief in their speed, depth and scheme. I'll take the Cowboys in more of a defensive battle this time around, something like 20-17.
Patrik Walker: Yes, the Cowboys have glaring question marks at both receiver and left of Zack Martin on their offensive line, but considering the Buccaneers lost two starters on their O-line -- a Pro Bowler in Ali Marpet and also Alex Cappa - and are now fielding two players with zero combined NFL starts, i.e., rookie second-round pick Luke Goedeke and second-year center Robert Hainsey. It's also possible they'll be without speedster Chris Godwin and/or slot threat Russell Gage, leveling the playing field for Dallas. This game will come down to execution, much like it did in Week 1 of the 2021 season. The Cowboys offense will need to get creative but their insanely talented defense has the personnel and coordinator capable of delivering a bad day to Tom Brady, and I believe they will. I'll take Cowboys, 28-21.
Nick Eatman: I'm not sure 100 percent sure what I think about the Cowboys this season as a whole, but for this game, I'm thinking they're going to handle their business. And by that, I think they control this game from the start. Honestly, getting an early lead will benefit both teams but I think the Cowboys will start fast – something that didn't happen in the playoff loss to the 49ers back in January. This Cowboys defense, with Micah Parsons flying around, is ready to take off. I think Parsons will give Tom Brady some issues and the Bucs will have problems trying to block the middle. The Cowboys are going to get some turnovers – KaVontae Turpin will make a big play on offense and special teams and I feel like we'll be seeing Noah Brown doing a lot of interview after the game, maybe after a seven-catch, 85-yard day and a touchdown. Overall, the Cowboys will get out of the gate with a big win. I'll take Dallas, 31-14 after they pull away in the fourth quarter.
Kyle Youmans: With so many questions up front for both offensive lines, whatever defense has the best pass rush will have a great chance at winning on Sunday night. It's hard to say Dallas' defense, with so many weapons for Dan Quinn to choose from, won't take early advantage of this Tampa Bay front. Getting off to a quick start will be imperative, but I think Dallas will do just that. Micah Parsons brings an added element to the defense that Tampa never got a chance to defend last season. Give me the Cowboys in a sloppy, defensive-dominated game, and a 19-17 win over the Bucs to open the season.
Mickey Spagnola: Putting the big boy pads on for these bold predictions. Just know when you are watching this season opener that No. 9 out there will be rookie Ka'Vontae Turpin and watch out for Turpin Time. Maybe not so much as a return guy, since Tampa Bay certainly will be mindful of his ability after what he did in that preseason game against the Chargers. But a big reason he was named the USFL Most Valuable Player this year was his production as a wide receiver, catching 44 passes for a league-high 540 yards and four touchdowns, with 316 of those yards gained after the catch. And because he makes his presence known, the Cowboys win, Cowboys win, 23-21.