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Dallas Cowboys release full schedule, will open NFL season against Tampa Bay on Thursday Night Football

Tom Brady and Dak Prescott will both take the field to open the NFL season on Sept. 9.

DALLAS — The Dallas Cowboys will begin the 2021 season in front of a nationally televised audience on Sept. 9. Dallas will visit Tom Brady and the World Champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the NFL's season opener.

The game will kick off the inaugural season of the league's new 17-game schedule. The rest of the NFL schedule was released at 7 p.m. central time Wednesday on an NFL Network special.

Check out the full schedule below:

  • Sept. 9 — @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers (Thursday Night Football)
  • Sept. 19 — @ Los Angeles Chargers
  • Sept. 27 — Philadelphia Eagles (Monday Night Football)
  • Oct. 3 — Carolina Panthers
  • Oct. 10 — New York Giants
  • Oct. 17 — @ New England Patriots
  • Oct. 24 — BYE WEEK
  • Oct. 31 —  @ Minnesota Vikings
  • Nov. 7 — Denver Broncos
  • Nov. 14 — Atlanta Falcons 
  • Nov. 21 — @ Kansas City Chiefs
  • Nov. 25 — Las Vegas Raiders (Thursday Night Football)
  • Dec. 2 — @ New Orleans Saints (Thursday Night Football)
  • Dec. 12 — @ Washington Football Team
  • Dec. 19 — @ New York Giants
  • Dec. 26 — Washington Football Team
  • Jan. 2 — Arizona Cardinals
  • Jan. 9 — @ Philadelphia Eagles

RELATED: NFL 2021 schedule released

The Cowboys look to rebound from an 8-8 season in which they missed the playoffs. Dak Prescott is expected to return from a fractured ankle suffered last season against the New York Giants in Week 5. 

Prescott had started each of the 69 games that the Cowboys had played during the beginning of his young career.

The primetime Thursday night game will also serve as the first test for new defensive coordinator Dan Quinn. During the off-season, the Cowboys expressed that they were already pleased with the former Atlanta Falcons coach. 

"Dan, in my view, has some great skins on the wall," Cowboys owner, president and general manager Jerry Jones said. "He’s got great experience. He is people-skilled. When you’re around him, you’ll see that. He’s certainly a dedicated football coach, and he’s covered a lot of ground. We have a lot of tape, so to speak, if you were talking about a player."

RELATED: Cowboys already impressed with new defensive coordinator Dan Quinn

Jones also mentioned that the club had information on how Quinn fit their roster. Given that the roster is still primarily composed of players built for the Tampa-2 scheme, which Dallas ran from 2013-19, Quinn is a natural fit. 

The Cowboys also just drafted eight defensive players including linebacker Micah Parsons out of Penn State. Parsons is a 6'3, 246-pound linebacker with blazing speed, and the ability to play in multiple roles within Quinn-led defense.

"[Dan Quinn said he] was going to send me on a lot of blitzes and have me man a lot of backs and tight ends," Parsons said during an April 30 news conference, explaining how he expected to be utilized, based on conversations with the Dallas coaching staff. 

"I’m going to match up well with a bunch of good running backs in our division. I’m excited to do that for [Quinn] and compete at a high level," he said. 

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