The Dallas Cowboys will take on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the first Sunday Night Football game of the year. It’s hard to doubt Tom Brady, but is this the year when he starts to struggle?
Tampa Bay Buccaneers vs. Dallas Cowboys
Sunday, September 11, 2022 – 08:20 PM ET at AT&T Stadium
What You Should Know
We’ll likely be watching these two teams in the postseason later. After all, both teams will probably reach the postseason this year after winning 25 games last season.
However, some are starting to think that Tampa Bay’s star quarterback, Tom Brady could potentially regress while Dallas’ Dak Prescott can take a giant leap forward.
If Prescott outplays Brady in Sunday’s game, would that be enough for the Cowboys to get the win?
Tampa Bay Buccaneers Analysis
How Is the Offense This Year?
This year, Tom Brady has more targets to pass the ball to. He’ll have Leonard Fournette at running back and exciting receivers between Mike Evans, Chis Godwin, and newcomers such as Russell Gage and Julio Jones.
It’s hard to know what we might get out of Julio Jones this year. But veteran receivers often had the opportunity to play with Brady and flourish when they got that chance. With Jones being a third of four options for Brady, he could play a major role this season, especially early on.
If you look at last year’s team, the Buccaneers were terrific on offense. The passing game was led by Brady and even when he didn’t have many options, he still found a way to win with backups and washed-up veterans.
This year, he’s going to have a worse offensive line. But if these guys don’t perform, they’ll be chewed out by Brady. That should force them into having good games at the line of scrimmage.
How Can the Bucs Beat the Cowboys?
Last year, the stats prove that the Cowboys were terrible at stopping the run. There were plenty of missed tackles that didn’t help either. But in the passing game, the Cowboys stepped up with many turnovers and a great pass rush.
The only way for Tampa Bay to find success against Dallas is to get the running game going early. Can they with a different offensive line and an old running back in Fournette? I’m not so sure.
Dallas Cowboys Analysis
How Is the Offense This Year?
The Cowboys are already going to lack depth at wide receiver. Add on that Michael Gallup is likely unavailable and things get a little worse in that regard. Rookie receiver, Jalen Tolbert, will be starting alongside CeeDee Lamb in this game if Gallup remains out.
That’s not a good sign knowing that the Buccaneers have a defense that has cohesion already.
The running game should still be solid and maybe even better than last year. Ezekiel Elliott and Tony Pollard are in the backfield and it feels like Zeke gets so many touches that he can have such a better year moving forward.
How Can the Cowboys Beat the Bucs?
The Bucs struggled with tacking at times and weren’t all that special against the run defensively. The Cowboys certainly have the better offensive matchup knowing that their run game will be much better than Tampa Bay’s this season.
I know Elliott regressed last year, but there’s reason to believe he can get back to the level he’s previously played at. He’s still a quality pass catcher and is getting many reps along with Pollard, who averages more yards per carry. It’s a solid duo.
Buccaneers vs. Cowboys: Game Prediction
Neither team has the defense to stop the run. Dallas can run more consistently in this game and see results more than the Buccaneers will. Tampa Bay will look to check the ball down more and might not be able to complete long plays down the field.
The Cowboys have the ability to do that with a mobile quarterback like Dak Prescott.
At this point, I’m not sold on Tom Brady at quarterback this year. This could be the season where things start to flip for Brady due to his age and the personal problems he’s dealing with at home.
NFL Week 1 Betting Pick
I’m going to look at taking the Cowboys at +1.5 at home over Tampa Bay. A Dallas win in this spot would really set the tone early for the Cowboys this season.
This game will tell us a lot about both teams and where each team is headed. The Cowboys looked poised to make it into the playoffs while the Buccaneers could start to take a step back.
I’m never one to doubt Brady, but I have my doubts this year. For your NFL picks, back the Cowboys.
NFL Pick: Cowboys +1.5 (-118) at MaximBet