The NFL 2021 season is fast approaching and will kick off with a match with the Dallas Cowboys going to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. As is customary, the reigning champions will start the season off and are one of the favorites to reach the Super Bowl once again.
On September 9th, the opening game of the season will take place at the Raymond James Stadium in Tampa on Thursday Night Football with fans ready to return to their seats with the stadium set to be filled.
Preseason games are a chance for coaches to see how their players are taking on information from camps. For the players, they get an opportunity on the field to show their value and fight for starting positions come September. For rookies, this will be their first taste of NFL-level football and a way to prepare themselves for the regular season.
The preseason is also beneficial to fans and bettors of the game. They can help determine who is likely to perform well in the upcoming season. Many NFL fans across America can now place legal online sports bets as many states have now legalized such activities. Even in Canada, bettors will soon be able to place single-match bets after law changes. With both countries making law changes on betting on matches like the NFL, the explosion of new bookies to the market has increased as each competes for punters to place a bet on one of the most-watched sporting events.
A look at the preseason matches
Although the preparation for the season is the most valuable part of the preseason, it is also good for morale to get some wins on the board.
So far, things haven’t gone exactly to plan for the Buccaneers who have lost their first two preseason matches. A close defeat to the Bengals was followed up with a massive 34-3 defeat to the Tennessee Titans.
In the opening preseason match with the Bengals with many starters being rested, there was a chance for some of the rookies to shine.
Tom Brady took his first snaps of the preseason and Kyle Trask got his chance to show what he could do. Trask only completed four of 15 passes for 15 yards, but head coach Bruce Arians stated that he liked Trask’s poise and where he is at.
With their game against the Titans, Arians chose to rest many usual starters due to the physicality of the joint practices between the two teams.
With the chance to shine, some takeaways from preseason have been:
- Right guard position is still closer between Alex Cappa and Aaron Stinnie.
- Ke’Shawn Vaughn has shown great strides in his second year at running back.
- TE Tanner Hudson once again is showing solid performances in the preseason, grabbing four receptions for 48 yards on seven targets against the Bengals.
- Joseph Jones looks a strong acquisition and managed to snatch an interception and run 15 yards into the end zone for a touchdown over the Bengals.
- Pat O’Connor earned his spot at defensive tackle going into week one.
As the Buccaneers go into their final preseason game there is still work to be done for Bruce Arians to get his side ready for the 2021 season.
What do the Bucs need to do?
Though their starting line-up is one of if not the best in the NFL, their depth on either side of the ball is a worry. Arians and his staff have a lot of work to do in improving his squad players ahead of the season.
There were limited long-term injuries last season which helped Tampa Bay to their Super Bowl success, but will this continue for two seasons in a row?
The Buccaneers have struggled to move the ball on offense and have been poor with their tackling on defense. As well as this, being overrun by Tennessee’s backups will give Arians plenty to ponder.
Some players have stepped up, like Vaughn, giving Arians some positives amongst his running back committee.
How are the Cowboys performing?
The Cowboys have been getting themselves set for the opener with the Buccaneers with defeats of their own. With three games played, Dallas has fallen to defeat in each.
Worry for the Cowboys continues to surround Dak Prescott’s health, with the QB struggling to reach full fitness in time for the new season.
Garrett Gilbert is now the QB2 after Andy Dalton moved north to Chicago, meaning that if Prescott goes down, Mike McCarthy no longer has a seasoned veteran ready to step in.
With the season opener coming up, both sides will be looking to turn around their form after disappointing pre seasons.
Turning it around
Dallas is coming off of a disappointing season last year. They now have weapons all over the offense which will be a concern to Bruce Arians despite his strong defense.
Despite the poor performances, many regular starters have been able to sit and rest through preseason games, just making limited snaps to ensure they are up to speed for the Buccaneers.
With the risks of Prescott’s fitness and their poor run last season not changing, the Buccaneers will go into the tie as favorites. Fans will be in the stands with expectancy for a winning start to the season.
Preseason has given fans a chance to get back in the mood for the regular season, and the most popular sport in the US is ready to welcome them back.
With Tom Brady under center and an electric Cowboys offense, there are plenty of areas for fans to analyze before the season kicks off. Punters will likely back the reigning champions who have a full roster to start their defense.
Both sides will be looking to get off to a strong start; the Buccaneers can show their abilities with a win over the Cowboys. It could set them off for a dominant season once again.
NFL fans will be excited to see the season begin while being able to be part of it once again. To have the atmosphere coming from the stands, stars like Brady will be ready to entertain fans once again.