The Tampa Bay Buccaneers travel to Dallas to face-0ff against the Cowboys on Sunday Night Football. Kickoff is set for 8:20 p.m. This is a familiar matchup for both teams as they were week one opponents last season, with Tampa winning 31-29.
But this time last year, the Bucs were defending Super Bowl champions looking to prove they could do it again. This year, they look for revenge after a heart-crushing loss in the Divisional round last season to the LA Rams.
Our work is unfinished. So let's get to it.
— Tampa Bay Buccaneers (@Buccaneers) September 5, 2022
One can’t talk about the Bucs without mentioning Tom Brady. Brady has been a recluse this off-season with lots of buzz around his whereabouts. The last time fans saw Brady was in a deflating 27-10 loss to the Indianapolis Colts in the preseason. After the game, he addressed the media and explained that his time away from the team had been due to personal reasons.
The Bucs have suffered a few losses over the past year, including tight end Rob Gronkowski and wide receiver Antonio Brown. Tampa Bay almost lost Brady, as well. Shortly after the Bucs season ended, he decided to retire but ultimately wanted to comeback for one more season.
The Bucs also had plenty of new talent arrive, such as wide receiver Julio Jones and tight end Kyle Rudolph.
But at a more micro level, the offensive line has injury issues and is missing key players including Ryan Jensen, who injured his knee during camp. Because of this, the offensive line has had to be restructured, especially the center three. The new offensive linemen are veteran right guard Shaq Mason, center Robert Hainsey and rookie left guard Luke Goedeke. Goedeke will start his first NFL game on Sunday.
Dak Prescott said yesterday that Tom Brady is the greatest of all time, and it’s obvious that he and other young quarterbacks should look to him as the blueprint.
Dallas is a team that also lost in terrible fashion last postseason, losing to the San Francisco 49ers 23-17 in the Wildcard round.
The Cowboys have lost a few key players, including star wide receiver Amari Cooper and some offensive linemen. But just like the Bucs, the Cowboys have a Pro Bowl quarterback in Dak Prescott.
Offensively on paper, the Cowboys have strong weapons to choose from, including receiver Ceedee Lamb, running backs Ezekiel Elliot and Tony Pollard and Prescott under center. But of these stars, Elliot has been a problem productively since his breakout season, and Prescott has struggled with injuries while trying to stay in his quarterback prime.
Another Cowboys star, Micah Parsons, will be Tom Brady’s nightmare matchup on Sunday. The linebacker turned edge rusher and cornerback Trevon Diggs helped the Cowboys defense make a huge splash last season. But fall camp has some fans worried as Diggs has shown a lack of effort on deep route coverage and man coverage in practice.
The defense will be the deciding factor between the two teams as both offenses are set to face off in primetime on Sunday.