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Buccaneers will kick off the season against the Dallas Cowboys

The defending Super Bowl champions will take on the Cowboys in Dak Prescott’s return to open the 2021 NFL season

NFL: FEB 07 Super Bowl LV - Chiefs v Buccaneers Photo by Cliff Welch/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The 2021 NFL schedule will be released tonight, but leaks will trickle out throughout the day. As a bit of an appetizer, the week one schedule has been released already and the stage is set; the Tampa Bay Buccaneers will return to the site of their last game to take on the Dallas Cowboys on Thursday, September 9.

This marks just the second time that Tom Brady will face off against Dak Prescott as well as Prescott’s return from that gruesome leg injury he suffered in 2020. Brady and the New England Patriots won the lone meeting between the two back in 2019.

The Bucs are opening at home as defending Super Bowl champions for the first time in team history. Back in 2003, when the Bucs opened the season with a win over the Philadelphia Eagles, the NFL had not yet begun the tradition of the champions opening in prime time at home. With a rematch of the NFC Championship as well as the opening of Lincoln Financial Field, the match-up was too good to pass on for NFL schedule makers.

As Carmen Vitali pointed out on Twitter, since 2000 the defending champions hold a 18-3 record in week one the following season, which bodes well for the Buccaneers. Meanwhile, the Bucs have an all-time record of 4-13 against the Cowboys with their last win coming in 2015 where the Bucs won 10-6 at home thanks to a rushing touchdown by Jameis Winston in the fourth quarter. That’s the Bucs’ lone victory in the last eight meeting between the two franchises.

Greg Auman also pointed out that this is the first time the defending champions have opened the season against a team that had a losing record the previous year since 2005 when the defending champion New England Patriots hosted the (then) Oakland Raiders.

The game will be played Thursday, September 9 on NBC as well as being the first game to also stream on NBC’s PeacockTV platform.

More schedule leaks are sure to come throughout the day and we will have a full schedule recap later on right here.