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Who could Tom Brady, Bucs face to kick off 2021 season?

Super Bowl LV ended as so many have in the past 21 years, with Tom Brady hoisting his seventh Lombardi Trophy. The Greatest Of All Time now has more Super Bowl wins than any single NFL franchise.

The 2020 season concluded in Tampa Bay. The 2021 season will kick off in the same building.

With the G.O.A.T., Bruce Arians, Rob Gronkowski, et al. planning on returning for another run, it's never too early to turn our attention to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers' title defense.

The Bucs will open the 2021 season in their home building. Based on their current 16-game slate of opponents (the NFL has not yet formally adopted a 17-game schedule for 2021), Tampa will host the following eight teams next season: Atlanta Falcons, Buffalo Bills, Carolina Panthers, Chicago Bears, Dallas Cowboys, Miami Dolphins, New Orleans Saints, and New York Giants.

Let's take a gander at our top three favorite matchups to kick off 2021 in Tampa.

Buffalo Bills

Josh Allen, Sean McDermott, and the Bills were one of the best stories of the 2020 campaign. After making a run to the AFC Championship Game, 2021 will be about taking the next step. Allen represents the new-age QB. Like the rest Brady has knocked off while stiff-arming Father Time, pitting old-school vs. new school would continue the trend of the NFL getting young its young, face-of-the-franchise QBs on the Opening Night slate. With Allen, Stefon Diggs, Tre'Davious White and others, the Bills have marketable stars to matchup with Brady, Mike Evans, Devin White and the rest of the Bucs. Putting the Bills in Opening Night versus the Bucs would underscore the league's belief that Buffalo is here to stay, and 2020 wasn't a one-off season in Western New York.

New Orleans Saints

While the NFL usually likes to save divisional opponents until later in the campaigns, this NFC South matchup sticks out when perusing the Bucs schedule. The Bucs have opened the season against the Saints in two of the past three years. Why not make it three of four? Sure, Drew Brees is expected to retire, taking some sizzle out of a Hall of Fame QB matchup. However, New Orleans still has the foundation to keep them a division competitor regardless of who is under center in 2021. The defense, led by Cameron Jordan, Demario Davis, etc., should remain solid next season. Alvin Kamara brings explosiveness on offense. And the head-coaching matchup between Sean Payton and Bruce Arians is one networks could plug in the lead-up to Opening Night. If Jameis Winston ends up Payton's pick to succeed Brees, that dynamic would make the Bucs-Saints matchups even more intriguing.

Dallas Cowboys

The Cowboys should always be considered a contender to play in the biggest spots. If the NFL decides they don't want to save this matchup for later in the season to goose ratings, it would make sense to put Jerry Jones' club on kickoff night. With Dak Prescott expected to return to Dallas, that provides an obvious storyline with the star QB coming back from injury. Before Prescott went down, the Cowboys were an explosive offense. Pitting those Dallas weapons versus a Todd Bowles defense that just shut down Patrick Mahomes is an enticing on-field matchup. Then there is a Dallas defense that got shredded trying to slow a 44-year-old Brady.

Whichever matchup the NFL decides to kick off 2021, the one consistent remains: Brady will once again be on Opening Night starting the chase for his eighth Super Bowl ring.

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