Cowboys vs. Buccaneers NFL Week 1 Thursday Night Football Picks

Tom Brady #12 of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.  Bob Levey/Getty Images/AFP
Tom Brady #12 of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Bob Levey/Getty Images/AFP


The Dallas Cowboys travel to Raymond James Stadium to take on the defending Super Bowl champions, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers for a primetime Thursday night football showdown, marking the first week of the brand new NFL season. NFL is finally here! Rejoice!

In this column, we preview the matchup and provide a prediction along with a recommended NFL pick based on the current NFL market.


Dallas Cowboys vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Thursday, September 9, 2021 – 08:20 PM EDT at Raymond James Stadium


Dallas Cowboys Aim To Rebound in 2021

Suffice it to say, Mike McCarthy’s first season as the head coach of the Dallas Cowboys was a forgettable one. Disaster is a word that springs to mind too. Everything and anything that could go wrong did. And the advent of an unimaginable global pandemic only exacerbated the plight of the embattled Cowboys as they whimpered to a 6-10-0 finish on the season.

By the end of the season, it was debatable whether the 4-10-0 Philadelphia Eagles were worse than Dallas Cowboys. Both had started the season as the top two favorites in the NFC East with multiple top-rated sports betting sites but finished in the division’s basement.

The pressure on McCarthy is enormous as he attempts to lead the Cowboys on a comeback trail. Granted Dak Prescott’s injury played a factor in Dallas’ ultimate decline. McCarthy had to trot out four different quarterbacks over the course of the season as injuries and coronavirus ravaged his pool of quarterbacks. Nevertheless, in the first four weeks of the season, with Dak Prescott as the starter, the Cowboys mustered up just one solitary win. And that was an iffy win, too. The result of a fluke play that gave Dallas the 40-39 win over the Atlanta Falcons. Prescott was littering the stat sheet with some insane numbers, but the Cowboys weren’t winning games.

Why the Cowboys struggled to win games when Prescott was in fine form is the source of much debate. Was it an issue of lack of preseason play due to the pandemic? Was it the lack of familiarity with McCarthy’s playbook? Was it poor game coaching and decision-making? Was it all of the above and then some?

It’s impossible to know for certain the answer to these questions. What is certain though, the new season should be illuminating. Prescott is expected to start in Dallas’ Week 1 showdown with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, despite missing last month’s preseason games with a shoulder injury.

There’s excitement and optimism within the Dallas locker room and the books seem to be optimistic in general, tipping the Cowboys as the team to beat in the NFC East. As per DraftKings Sportsbook, the Cowboys are favored to win the NFC East at +150.

Unfortunately, the cheery bonhomie doesn’t apply to week 1 of the NFL. For their opening game of the season against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, the Cowboys opened as the 7.5 point road underdogs. Moreover, since open doors, the NFL line has moved against the Cowboys and they’re now trading as the 8-point road underdogs.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers Kick-Start Title Defense Campaign

It was a magical season for Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers from start to finish, even though there were trials and tribulations along the way. It wasn’t all smooth sailing. Amidst great victories, there were some worrisome losses over the course of the 16-game regular season. However, down the stretch, the Buccaneers righted the ship and reeled off five straight wins to finish 11-5-0 and secure a wildcard spot . In the playoffs, the Buccaneers clinched three straight road wins against tough NFC opponents before dominating the Kansas City Chiefs 31-9 in Super Bowl 55.

Teams dream of winning Super Bowl at the start of the season, but for the Buccaneers that was more of a realistic possibility than a fanciful dream. Thanks to the organization’s shrewd move to snap up Tom Brady in free agency, a move that instantly elevated Tampa Bay’s NFL odds in futures betting markets.

The idea that there were teams that passed on the chance of having the greatest player of all time on their roster is mind-blowing. That’s according to Tom Brady, who ultimately had the last laugh as he pulled off the unthinkable during one of the most extraordinary years in our lifetimes. To win a Super Bowl with a new team is a tough ask under most circumstances. To do it during a pandemic, with no preseason camps or exhibition games and amidst a litany of restrictions on weekly training, practice and team interaction over the course of the season…there’s just no hyperbole to describe what Brady and the Buccaneers accomplished.

So, it’s no surprise to learn that the organization is returning all 22 Super Bowl starters this season for another hurrah. It’s also no surprise, therefore, to learn that the Buccaneers are the second-best bet to win Super Bowl 56 after the Kansas City Chiefs. DraftKings Sportsbook tips the Buccaneers at +600 to win SBLVI. And that favor has transcended week 1 NFL betting markets as the Buccaneers are laying 8-points to the Cowboys in their season home opener.

NFL Betting Predictions and Picks

The Dallas Cowboys are a big question mark for 2021. As America’s favorite team – or one of a few these days – they’re regularly hyped up. But what have they actually accomplished in recent years? Put it another way, what have they accomplished with Dak Prescott as the offensive pivot? The simple answer, not much save for divisional glory.

The Cowboys “fully expect” Prescott to start in week 1 against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, according to multiple media sources. Serving up the assurance as if it’s going to make a huge difference. This is the same Buccaneers side that nullified the high-octane Kansas City Chiefs offense and made Patrick Mahomes look pedestrian for the first time in his career.

The current NFL line is quite high for a season opener. If it involved any other team, there would be reasonable hesitation. However, seeing as it’s really hard to buy what the Cowboys are selling right now, the Buccaneers emerge as the choice NFL pick. And with a bit of line shopping, some top online sportsbooks can be found with the Bucs at -7.5

NFL Picks: Bucs -7.5 (-110) with Bet365

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