Cowboys vs. Bucs in Week 1 Set; Tom Brady vs. Patriots in NE Reported for Week 4

Mike Chiari@mikechiariFeatured ColumnistMay 12, 2021

ARCHIVO - En imagen de archivo del domingo 24 de enero de 2021, el quarterback Tom Brady, de los Buccaneers de Tampa Bay, festeja después de ganar un boleto al Super Bowl con una victoria sobre los Packers, en Green Bay, Wisconsin. (AP Foto/Matt Ludtke, archivo)
Matt Ludtke/Associated Press

The reigning Super Bowl champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers will open the 2021 NFL regular season with a home game against the Dallas Cowboys in Week 1.  

Tampa Bay Buccaneers @Buccaneers

🚨 KICKOFF GAME SET 🚨 We'll open the season at home against the Cowboys on Thursday, Sept. 9. #GoBucs

Bleacher Report's Master Tesfatsion first reported the news, and he noted the New England Patriots will host the Bucs on Sunday Night Football in Week 4.

Here is a rundown of the full Week 1 NFL slate, per John Breech of CBS Sports:

John Breech @johnbreech

The NFL's Week 1 schedule is officially out, mark your calendars now. Some highlights: Cowboys at Buccaneers (Thursday opener) Bears at Rams (Sunday night) Ravens at Raiders (Monday night) #NFLSchedule #Cowboys #Raiders #Buccaneers https://t.co/OTY6QBnuMA

When the Bucs and Pats clash in Week 4, it will mark the first game between Bucs quarterback Tom Brady and Patriots head coach Bill Belichick, who teamed up together in New England for 20 years and enjoyed an unprecedented run of success.

While Week 1 will primarily be about Brady and the Bucs celebrating their 31-9 win over the Kansas City Chiefs in Super Bowl LV, the Cowboys will bring plenty of cachet.

In addition to the fact that Dallas is the most valuable and arguably the most popular team in the NFL, Week 1 will mark the return of quarterback Dak Prescott.

Prescott was on a record-setting pace in terms of passing yardage last season before a fractured and dislocated ankle ended his year just five games in.

Despite the injury, Prescott received his massive contract extension this offseason, and there would be no better way for him to remind everyone of his worth than by upsetting Brady and the defending Super Bowl champs on the road.

Arguably the biggest marquee matchup for the 2021 season is the Buccaneers vs. the Patriots, and it has everything to do with the relationship between Brady and Belichick.

As a tandem, they won six Super Bowls in New England, which no quarterback-coach combination had ever accomplished.

It seemed as though the partnership would continue until one or both of them retired, but Brady shocked many by leaving New England to sign with the Bucs last offseason.

Brady won his seventh Super Bowl with the Buccaneers, while Belichick and the Patriots struggled to a 7-9 record and missed the playoffs for the first time since 2008.

Brady will be a visitor at Gillette Stadium for the first time in his career in Week 4, and while one can only assume he will receive a warm welcome from the fanbase that enjoyed six Super Bowl wins due in large part to his play, it isn't outside the realm of possibility that he could get booed.

Adding to the intrigue is the fact that Brady could be going head-to-head with the heir to his quarterback throne in New England in the form of Mac Jones.

Even if Cam Newton begins 2021 as the Patriots' starting quarterback, Jones may well supplant him by Week 4 after New England took him with the No. 15 pick in the 2021 NFL draft.

The former Alabama Crimson Tide signal-caller has faced plenty of pressure during his young career, including playing in the College Football Playoff National Championship Game last season, but facing Brady in Foxborough would be an entirely different proposition.