The NFL season is underway, and this week, Between The Hashes, is previewing Sunday night’s matchup between the Bucs and Cowboys.
For the second year in a row, the Dallas Cowboys open the season against 7-time Super Bowl Champion Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Will they suffer the same fate as last season and start with a loss, or will Dak Prescott and the Cowboys make it out of their home stadium alive?
Bucs look to enter the Bowles Era with a win
Todd Bowles is no stranger to head coaching the first game of the season, but it’s different this time; this time, it’s not the Jets! This time he’s not coordinating under B.A. This time, it’s a sweet gig. Tom Brady, Mike Evans, Chris Godwin, Julio Jones, and Leonard Fournette are going to bring you your first ring as a head coach. With the utmost respect, Todd Bowles has the chance, with a young defense and an outstanding offense, to go do great things as the head coach of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Could Brady enter ‘God’ mode in his 23rd season?
Retired, un-retired, 11-days away from training camp, divorce–these are all topics that have involved Tom Brady since March. Very unfamiliar topics for the 45-year-old quarterback, who is entering his 23rd season in the NFL. The 3-time NFL MVP could potentially be on a whole different level this season. After throwing for over 5,300 yards and 43 TDs, and being snubbed for league MVP last season, Brady has the league on notice in his final season. With the additions of Julio Jones and Kyle Rudolph (replacing “retired” Rob Gronkowski), along with returning Chris Godwin and the only receiver to have 8 consecutive 1,000 yards seasons to begin his career, Mike Evans, look for Brady to punish NFL defenses in route to his fourth MVP award, along with his eighth ring.
Is this really Dallas’ year?
Dak and Co. will be looking to hand Brady his first-ever loss against the Cowboys, and that will have to involve the defense to make big plays against an uncertain Bucs offensive line. That’ll all start with Defensive Player of the Year candidate Micah Parsons, along with CB Trevon Diggs (who led the league with 11 INTs last year). Can Dallas’ defense find a way to keep Tampa Bay’s high-powered offense in check?
Facts and figures:
QB Tom Brady is the NFL’s all-time regular-season leader in starts (316), passing yards (84,520), completions (7,263) and TD passes (624) and postseason all-time leader in starts (47), wins (35), passing yards (13,049), TD passes (86), SB titles (7) & SB MVPs (5). He led the NFL with a career-high 5,316 passing yards and 43 TD passes in 2021, 3rd-most passing yards in a single-season all-time. Recorded most-ever completions (485) in a single season last year and passed for 379 yards & 4 TDs in Week 1 meeting in 2021.
RB Leonard Fournette had 1,266 scrimmage yards (812 rushing, 454 rec.) & 10 TDs (8 rushing, 2 receiving) and ranked 3rd among RBs with 69 receptions in 2021.
WR Mike Evans had 1,035 receiving yards in 2021 and became 1st player ever with 1,000 or moe receiving yards in each of 1st 8 seasons. He ranked 2nd last season with a career-high 14 receiving TDs. Since 2014, he leads all players with 75 receiving TDs and ranks 3rd in receiving yards (9,301).
WR Chris Godwin had career-high 98 receptions with 1,103 receiving yards & 6 TDs (5 receiving., 1 rush) in 2021. He had 9 catches for 105 yards and a TD in the last meeting.
WR Julio Jones makes Buccaneers debut. He leads all active players in receptions (879) and receiving yards (13,330). He has 59 career games with 100 or more receiving yards, tied for 3rd most in NFL history with Marvin Harrison.
LB Lavonte David ranks 2nd in tackles (1,220) and 5th in TFL (134) since 2012. He is 1 of 2 linebackers (J.J. Watt) with 50 or more PDs (54) and 25 or more FFs (26) since 2012.
LB Devin White led the team with 128 tackles in 2021. He is 1 of 3 (Jerome Baker and Demario Davis) with 300 or more tackles (359) and 10 or more sacks (15) since 2019.
LB Shaquil Barrett led the team with 10 sacks in 2021 and ranks 4th in NFL with 37.5 sacks since 2019. He had a sack in the last meeting.
CB Carlton Davis led the team with 11 PD in 2021. He had an INT in the last meeting.
A few highlights courtesy of Bucpower.com:
Chris Godwin recorded the first Buccaneer touchdown of the season
Tom Brady found Antonio Brown on a deep pass down the right sideline.
Ryan Succop had the game-winner with two seconds remaining