Bucs linebacker Shaquil Barrett said it's extra motivation to be at his best this season after hearing the New Orleans Saints are being picked to win the division. But, the Bucs won't have to think about the Saints until Week 2.
Their focus now is on America's team, opening the season for a second year in a row against the Dallas Cowboys. This time, though, it will be on their turf under the national Sunday night spotlight.
"I'm so happy real football is back, not preseason," said Carton Davis III. "I've been watching the college games just like amped up all day like ‘wow, can it be our turn.’"
All eyes will be on the Bucs and Cowboys, which will be the lone game on Sunday night.
"That's what we came here for," said Bucs running back Leonard Fournette. "Great players want to play against great players and that's what we expect."
The Bucs have struggled against the Cowboys in Dallas winning just once in 2001 in 11 tries. Tom Brady, however, has never lost against the Cowboys and remains undefeated 6-0.
This Bucs team is ready to start the season with a lot of confidence.
"I don't care what anybody says outside our team," said Barrett. "We know what we have. We know what we can do. What we can be. If we put our work in day in and day out the chips are going to fall where they are supposed to for us."
With Tom Brady at the helm, the Bucs will kick off the season as the oldest team in the NFL. After a five-month buildup, the Bucs are ready for the real games to begin.