It’s opening night in the NFL and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are hosting the Dallas Cowboys. Tampa Bay is still riding a wave of excitement from last season’s successful Super Bowl run from a fan’s perspective, but on the field will be another story.
Who will shine under the lights? He will be the talk all over town following Thursday night?It’s a new season, but we’re bringing you more bold predictions for 2021 so check out which Bucs Nation staff writer makes the boldest claim for opening night below!
Bailey: I feel really good about this game—and this team. Dallas has the chance to be a very good squad this year, especially with Dak Prescott back and feeling healthy. However, with Zack Martin out on Thursday night and Prescott having not played since October of last year, I’m not so sure that this will be the best night for the Cowboys’ offense. In fact, my bold prediction is that Prescott doesn’t get the warmest welcome back and is instead sacked by the Buccaneer defense four-plus times while turning the ball over at least twice.
James: Well, I’ve been pumping his tires quite a bit on the Locked On Bucs podcast so we might as well lean into it for week one. My prediction is that Antonio Brown leads the team in targets, receptions, and touchdowns against the Cowboys Thursday night. The Cowboys could be lulled into a false sense of security when it comes to AB, believing he is older and not as effective as he used to be and that their resources are better utilized focusing on Mike Evans and Chris Godwin. Sadly, they would be mistaken. Bruce Arians came out and said that he looks like the Antonio Brown from four or five years ago in Pittsburgh and from what I’ve seen of him, I tend to agree. The Cowboys are going to see a whole lot of booming business Thursday night.
David: Even if Zack Martin rejoins the Dallas Cowboys for Week 1 it’ll be at the last possible moment. While that might be an emotional plus for the team, the missed practices for such a crucial player on the offensive line aren’t going to be good when you consider how little this team has really worked with Dak Prescott since he got hurt last season. That being said, I think this pass rush is going to feast Thursday night and every starting member of the front seven will come away with at least half a sack.
Mike: I’ll be focused on the defense Thursday night as this unit looks to assert itself with authority and pick up where it left off in the Super Bowl. My prediction is that the Buccaneers will intercept Dak Prescott at least twice, sack him at least four times, and hold Ezekiel Elliott under 75 yards rushing. Zack Martin, the best guard in the NFL, is unavailable due to COVID protocols, and that makes an already-tough situation even worse for the Cowboys. They’ll get some scores in, but I see it being a struggle for them to find consistent offensive cohesion in a jam-packed Raymond James Stadium. Look for Vita Vea, Antoine Winfield, Jr., and Devin White as standout performers.
Editor’s Pick by Gil Arcia: There is a lot of defensive of optimism here tonight. Rightfully so. However, I don’t think the defense will be as bold as the predictions are. With that said, I have to go with James. We all know how much Tom Brady loves him some Antonio Brown. I think the notion will be Brown isn’t the guy he used to be and with the attention the younger guys Mike Evans and Chris Godwin will get, the door is wide open for Brown to go off.
Which bold prediction do you like most for Week 1?
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4+ TB sacks, force 2 Dak turnovers
Brown leads in targets, receptions, TDs
Bucs front seven feasts
Prescott, Elliott, DAL offense stonewalled