FRISCO – The Dallas Cowboys hope to continue their reign as NFC East Champions by beginning the year with a rematch of last season’s thrilling – but losing – Week 1 game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
The plan is a bit different this time around … besides the obvious fact that the quarterback Dak Prescott-led Cowboys plan on winning.
Oh, and the Cowboys do plan on winning.
“I feel if we play our best football,” coach Mike McCarthy said on Thursday, “we will win.”
Is that “bragging”? Not in the sense that the Bucs surely feel the same way.
Also a bit different: Dallas, which lost to the Bucs on a late field goal by a score of 31-29, enter today’s Thursday practice here inside The Star with a fairly clean bill of health, as McCarthy noted in his morning session.
At this moment, the betting odds have the Cowboys as 1.5-point underdogs at home at AT&T Stadium on Sunday night. That shows respect for Tom Brady (“a superhero trying to kill you!”) and the Buccaneers.
But the Cowboys have been saying for days that they are “ready,” as McCarthy has also said.
“I’ve seen the Hulk get beat up. I’ve seen Thor get beat up. I’ve seen Captain America get beat up. But they always get back up. … (Brady) gets beat up, but he gets back up.” – Micah.
Peters is far from the first notable Eagle to come over from The City of Brotherly Love.
While the receivers are intrinsically connected, it seems the “88 Club” recently met in person for the first time.
And Jourdan Lewis (working through a hamstring issue) would certainly help there.
But if it comes down to the Cowboys offense? Michael Gallup will not be available (maybe not until Week 3), but running back Ezekiel Elliott will – and while the club is talking about Zeke and Tony Pollard as “two No. 1 running backs,” owner Jerry Jones has noted the importance of Elliott … who needs to succeed despite the absence of Tyron Smith, with rookie Tyler Smith taking over at left tackle.
“He’s had a really good two weeks of practice,” McCarthy said of Tyler. “I feel really good about him.”
But a year ago, there was some pre-game drama because All-Pro guard Zack Martin was dealing with COVID, and it kept Dallas’ plan in limbo to some degree. Martin did not play in that game, surely a contributing factor in the loss.
This time around, the Cowboys’ plan figures to be in place – and the plan is to win.
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