The 2021 NFL season is here. The reigning Super Bowl champion Buccaneers are hosting the Cowboys on “Sunday Night Football” to kick off the season Thursday night.
The Buccaneers are coming off their second Super Bowl win and first with Tom Brady at the helm. Brady helped lead the Bucs on a run to the Super Bowl as the No. 5 seed in the NFC. Brady threw the ball well during the postseason, but it was the team’s defense that was most responsible for the team’s 31-9 win over the Chiefs back in February.
Brady, now 44, is looking for his eighth Super Bowl title, and the Bucs are favored to win the NFC. It’s easy to understand why; they are the first team in the salary cap era to return all 22 of their Super Bowl starters. They have the continuity, chemistry and talent needed to make another playoff run.
Meanwhile, the Cowboys are coming off a disappointing campaign that saw them sputter when Dak Prescott went down with an ankle injury after five games. Prescott has returned and is expected to play despite nursing a shoulder injury that sidelined him during the preseason.
Dallas is hoping that Prescott’s return will help spark the offense, but the team really needs its defense to step up after allowing 29.6 points per game last year. That ranked fifth-worst in the NFL.
The Cowboys hired Dan Quinn to serve as the new defensive coordinator and spent its first six draft picks on defensive players, including first-round selection Micah Parsons. They’re hoping those changes help, but they face a tough task containing a Bucs offense that features Brady, Mike Evans, Chris Godwin, Antonio Brown and Rob Gronkowski.
Sporting News is tracking live scoring updates and highlights from Cowboys vs. Buccaneers on Thursday night. Below are the key moments from the 2021 NFL season opener.
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Cowboys vs. Buccaneers score
Cowboys vs. Buccaneers live updates, highlights from Thursday night football
(All times Eastern).
8:15 p.m. — The Buccaneers just unveiled their new Super Bowl banner (or sign) and took the field. The 2021 NFL season is almost here.
8:09 p.m. — Every NBC pregame analyst picked the Bucs to beat the Cowboys. Can Dallas pull off the upset? It might be hard if Tom Brady is as locked in as he looks.
8:05 p.m. — Just 15 minutes until kickoff. Football is almost here!
8:01 p.m. — Ezekiel Elliott looks ready to eat. Will he be able to against a Buccaneers defense that was No. 1 against the run last year?
7:58 p.m. — In case you missed it, Ed Sheeran was chosen to be a part of NFL Kickoff and performed a concert in Tampa Bay. Needless to say, football fans were confused about the choice.
7:56 p.m. — Drew Brees just spoke about the weather in Tampa Bay. He said that often, the center for his team had to change pants at halftime to make sure the ball was as dry as possible when the QB gets it. So, if there’s any haywire throws early, it may have to do with the QBs adjusting to the wet ball.
7:54 p.m. — The Cowboys seem focused and ready to take on the Buccaneers.
7:50 p.m. — Drew Brees and Tom Brady caught up before the game. Brees is now working for NBC’s broadcast team after retiring from the NFL. His final game was an NFC Divisional Round loss to Brady’s Bucs during the 2021 NFL playoffs.
7:45 p.m. — If you’re looking for a last-minute prediction for Cowboys vs. Buccaneers, SN’s Vinnie Iyer has you covered. Here’s his pick for the game and all the matchups to watch and trends to know ahead of kickoff.
7:39 p.m. — Tom Brady is making his 300th NFL start today. He’s still as hyped as ever as he enters his 22nd NFL season.
7:35 p.m. — JaQuan Hardy mimicked Dak Prescott’s pregame routine. He gets a 10 for this one.
7:33 p.m. — Dak Prescott put on his usual display in pregame warmups, with his twists and shoulder rotations. That’s a good sign considering that he was dealing with a shoulder injury during the preseason.
7:30 p.m. — Rob Gronkowski is on the field for the Buccaneers. He’s looking good in pregame warmups.
What time is the NFL game tonight?
The Cowboys and Buccaneers will square off at 8:20 p.m. ET with NBC’s pregame coverage of the contest and NFL kickoff beginning at 7 p.m. For Cowboys fans, the contest will begin at 7:20 p.m. with pregame coverage at 6 p.m., as Dallas is in the central time zone.
Throughout the season, all Thursday night games will kick off at 8:20 p.m. ET. The only Thursday with day games will be Thanksgiving, per usual.
Cowboys vs. Buccaneers will be played at Raymond James Stadium, both the home of the Buccaneers and the location at which they won Super Bowl 55.
What channel is Cowboys vs. Buccaneers on today?
Cowboys vs. Buccaneers will be broadcast on NBC. Al Michaels (play-by-play), Cris Collinsworth (color analyst) and Michele Tafoya (sidleine reporter) will be on the call as NBC’s “Sunday Night Football” team for 2021.
And yes, though this game is being broadcast on Thursday night, it still is, technically, considered a “Sunday Night Football” game. Why? Because Fox owns the rights to “Thursday Night Football.” So, don’t be confused if they refer to the program as “Sunday Night Football” throughout the evening.
Below are the top TV markets in the United States and the NBC affiliate/TV channel for each.
Streamers will be able to watch the game via NBCSports.com, the Fox NBC Sports app or by using fuboTV, which comes with a seven-day free trial.
Meanwhile, viewers in Canada can watch the game exclusively on DAZN with a subscription.
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