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Super Bowl champion Buccaneers set to kick off 2021 NFL season against Cowboys

(AP Photo / Tyler Kaufman)

The NFL’s Schedule Release Day has turned into the equivalent of a national holiday over the years, and the league gave fans a great gift for the first game of the 2021 season.

The league set May 12 as the date for the release of the 2021 regular-season schedule, and fans woke up like children in December looking to see what Commissioner Roger Goodell and company had given them.

>>RELATED: Matchups to look out for ahead of 2021 NFL schedule release

While the full schedules would be announced later that night, the league’s broadcast partners released bits and pieces of the schedule throughout the day, including the full slate for Week 1 of the 2021 regular season.

Kicking off the year? A top-tier matchup between the reigning Super Bowl champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the Dak Prescott-led Dallas Cowboys on Thursday, September 9.

The game will be Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady’s sixth career game against the Cowboys, and Dallas will look to hand Brady his first career loss against America’s Team.

Meanwhile, the NFL’s kickoff game will serve as Prescott’s return from a devastating injury that ended his 2020 campaign after just five weeks.

>>RELATED: ‘Hard Knocks’: Each eligible NFL team for HBO’s 2021 season

A Week 1 battle on September 12 between the Chicago Bears and Los Angeles Rams will kick off the league’s Sunday Night Football schedule. Wrapping up Week 1, the Baltimore Ravens will take on the Las Vegas Raiders in the season premiere of Monday Night Football on September 13.

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