No, not Tom Brady, who’s only 44 and as healthy as any NFL quarterback. Dak Prescott will be behind center for Dallas, returning from a gruesome ankle injury that derailed the 2020 season for the Cowboys.
There will be as much focus on Prescott on Thursday night when the schedule kicks off at Tampa as there will be on Brady.
“I’m definitely ready,” said Prescott, who sat out the preseason games with a shoulder issue. “I put in a lot of work to get to this point. Whether it was months ago, rehabbing the ankle, to the last few (weeks) keeping the feet working while I was letting my arm rest.”
At his age, many would be advising nothing but rest for Brady — as a retiree. That’s simply not him.
“I feel pretty good,” Brady said. “I feel like we have a great opportunity ahead of us and anytime you start the season and it’s the first game of the year, it’s pretty exciting.”
Important to bear in mind here is where this game very well could be decided: on defense. And that is a huge edge for the Bucs, who return all 22 starters from their Super Bowl team. Dallas had a historically inept unit last year and spent much of the draft in April trying to upgrade it.
FanDuel Sportsbook has the defending champions as a 7 1-2-point favorite. Pro Picks finds that low.
KNOCKOUT POOL: Upsets are common in Week 1, but we can’t see the RAMS, a contender in the NFC West, losing to Chicago, a likely pretender in the NFC North.
Chicago (plus 7) at Los Angeles Rams
Further proof we can’t see the Bears winning this prime-time match.