In his Football Morning In America column on Monday morning, NBC Sports’ Peter King predicted that the Bucs will open the 2021 NFL season at Raymond James Stadium against one of two teams: the Buffalo Bills or the Dallas Cowboys.

It’ll be the first time in franchise history that the Bucs have opened an NFL season, as they play host to a road foe following their 2020-2021 Super Bowl Championship campaign. Facing the Cowboys would mean a clash of high-powered offenses and maybe the best two receiving corps in the league squaring off. Dak Prescott’s return to the field after a gruesome leg injury to face Tom Brady trying to go back-to-back for the second time in his illustrious career would certainly attract plenty of viewers, even if there isn’t much rivalry element to this match-up.

Still, the Cowboys are also trying to piece together a new-look defense after finishing 2020 with one of the league’s worst units. While the NFL certainly hopes they’ll return to playoff competition given their massive fanbase, the Cowboys haven’t been to the playoffs since 2018 and finished 6-10 last year. It’s a risky choice by the league if they pick Dallas to open Week 1 on the road, but obviously the payoff is huge if the game stays competitive for four quarters.

The Bills are a much safer pick, and the NFL would get the storyline of Brady against a team he is 32-3 against in his career. Many in Buffalo view overcoming Brady and the Super Bowl champion Bucs as one of the next steps in the process of going from a quality team to the best in the league. Add in the Bills being a consensus top 4-5 team in the NFL and the Bucs being in the top two, and you’ve got all the makings of a ratings bonanza and a marvelous football game.

As for the Saints, there is no doubt they will still be a challenge for the Bucs to overcome this season, but would the NFL really put a team without a clear starting quarterback on the schedule for Week 1? The Saints will let Jameis Winston and Taysom Hill battle it out for the QB1 spot during training camp, but right now the NFL would be betting on Winston seizing the job and playing the game of his life against his old squad. The storylines are there going into the game, however it’s a huge risk by the league if they opt for Saints-Bucs to open the season.

The Pewter Report staff offered their opinions on what team the Bucs should face in Week 1 during Sunday’s PR Roundtable.

On Wednesday at 8pm EST the 2021 NFL schedule will be revealed. The Pewter Report Podcast will be LIVE 7:30 pm to 8:30 pm for our annual schedule release show, breaking down each game on the Bucs’ 2021 slate as it is announced.

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About the Author: Jon Ledyard

Jon Ledyard is's newest Bucs beat writer and has experience covering the Pittsburgh Steelers as a beat writer and analyzing the NFL Draft for several draft websites, including The Draft Network. Follow Ledyard on Twitter at @LedyardNFLDraft
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1 month ago

I don’t care who we play on opening day. I just want a competitive and exciting game. Bills, Cowboys, Pats, Saints, or Rams, bring ’em on!
Go Bucs!!! Current Champs!

1 month ago

A “ratings bonanza” would have to feature the Bucs facing a very large market team, and the Buffalo Bills are, along with the Green Bay Packers, among the smallest of small markets. The Bucs are considered only a middle-sized market. For instance the Super Bowl matchup between the Bucs and the Chiefs was a ratings loser, compared to most Super Bowls … two small to mid-sized market teams, a snoozer as far as the ratings points are concerned. So if the NFL wants lots of eyes bolted to the tube and to their devices, the logical opponent for the Bucs… Read more »

NC Greenbeard
Reply to  Naplesfan
1 month ago

I get your point about the markets, but the rams and pats would be road games, and don’t think the NFL would do that to us this time. It’s opening night of the NFL season… I’m sure plenty of people will tune in to either cheer on Brady or hope he gets beat down. Dallas is the better market for the game but Buffalo is the better game. In the end it doesn’t matter, we have to play all 17 at some point. I’d like the Bills personally. Whichever one we don’t open with is likely a prime time game… Read more »

1 month ago

No matter who the opponent, I just want our “home” stadium filled with Bucs fans. Hopefully, the season ticket holders and businesses, who often sell their tickets on the various aftermarket sites, refrain from selling them to the enemy at least this game. No other 6-10 team would get the undeserved pimping like the Cowboys. Even during the Draft, we were subjected to Jerry (Facelift) Jones front and center, on camera, high-fiveing with his butt-kissing entourage after every pick. No doubt they all think the “Dak is Back” theme will resurrect the Cowboys to be able to challenge the Super… Read more »

1 month ago

They should make it Bucs/Pats in Primetime so that we can just get all those storylines outta the way.