Dallas Cowboys (1-0) vs Philadelphia Eagles (0-1); Game Preview

September 19th, 2015 by Ryan Waterman | Filed under Eagles, Football, General, NFL.

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Dallas Week is upon us;  my fellow Eagle fans! Fresh off of a disappointing start to the season, the Birds must quickly focus on their hated division rival. Philadelphia opened up their season on Monday night, with a puzzling 26-24 loss to the Atlanta Falcons. When I say puzzling, I mean it was rather perplexing. The team just never really seemed, to get it going.

The offense came out flat, and never recovered, the defense over-pursued and got burned on many occasions. It just seemed like the entire team was totally out of sync. It was those reasons, that allowed the Falcons to escape the Georgia Dome with a two-point victory. Now, the team must put the loss out of their minds, and focus on the Dallas Cowboys.

The Cowboys meanwhile, are coming off of an emotionally draining victory against the division-rival New York Giants on Sunday Night Football. In the midst of that victory, the ‘Boys lost their prized possession, and meal ticket in all-pro wide receiver Dez Bryant. Bryant was diagnosed with a broken foot during Sunday Night’s game, and was initially provided with a 4-6 week recovery period.

However, that timetable was disputed on Monday afternoon, by ESPN’s Dr. Mark Adickes who said to Adam Schefter “[four to six] weeks was an aggressive time frame, and a more likely time frame for Dez Bryant’s recovery is [eight to twelve] weeks.” Needless to say, that a Dez Bryant-less Cowboys offense, won’t be anywhere near as explosive, as when they have Dez.

Injury Report:

Dallas Cowboys-

Dez Bryant (Foot)- OUT
Randy Gregory (Ankle)- OUT
Greg Hardy (Suspension)- OUT
Rolando McClain (Suspension)- OUT
Tony Romo (Back)- Probable
Ronald Leary (Groin)- Questionable

Philadelphia Eagles-

Marcus Smith (Hamstring)- Probable
Seyi Ajirotutu (Concussion, Elbow)- Questionable

Game Preview:

This game has been circled on the calendars of both Eagle and Cowboy fans, since the season schedule was released.  Every year there is anticipation for the Eagles-Cowboys games, as they never really fail to entertain.  In recent years though, there has been more anticipation than normal.  Both teams have been mainstays atop the NFC East, and often times the winner of the Eagles-Cowboys season series, would be the team to hold the NFC East crown. This game, much like this season shouldn’t differ from much of the past, as the road to the NFC East is expected to roll through whichever team wins this game. 

The big storyline headed into this game, surrounds former Cowboy DeMarco Murray, who signed with the Eagles back in March.  By doing that, he became the first player in NFL history, to lead the league in rushing and switch teams, the following season.  Murray has publicly said that “it’s just another game”, but we all know deep down, that DeMarco Murray is looking to show the Cowboys’ front office why he was worth the money that we paid him. In the first meeting between these two teams since last November, a lot has changed on both ends.  Dallas will walk into the Linc on Sunday afternoon with some major question marks, having lost DeMarco Murray to the Eagles in free agency, then losing Dez Bryant to a devastating injury last Sunday. They will roll out a Running Back By Committee, that consists of Joseph Randle, Lance Dunbar, and Darren McFadden.  They’ll send out a wide receivers corp, consisting of Terrance Williams, Cole Beasley, and Devin Street.  Not exactly an intimidating offense, eh?  

Well, while Dallas has their share issues to deal with, so do the Eagles.  Philly will have serious questions, surrounding the team chemistry.  They didn’t seem to gel well on Monday Night, and that has led many to wonder that if this week of practice will allow for some addition chemistry to be built up.  In addition, there are the ongoing concerns about the defense.  Last season, they thought Cary Williams and Bradley Fletcher could handle the duties of cornerback.   Boy, were they wrong.   So, they went out and spent the money to land prized free-agent Byron Maxwell. Unfortunately, that experiment hasn’t put any of the chatter to rest, as Maxwell was torched time after time by Julio Jones, as was the rest of the Eagles secondary.  This will come as an understatement, but the fact that Dez Bryant is out of action, could not have come at a better time for an unsure Eagles secondary.   The lack of an elite option on the outside, could serve as just the confidence boost that this defense needs.

Staff Predictions:

Amy McCormick-  Am I allowed to preface this with something? Dallas fans are insufferable. The Cowboys squeaked past the Giants last Sunday at the last second, but if you ask a Dallas fan, the rest of the NFC East might as well cancel the rest of the season. We’re only entering Week 2, and I’m already beyond sick of that fan base.

The Cowboys’ win came at a cost: Dez Bryant (foot), Randy Gregory (ankle), and Ronald Leary (groin) all suffered injuries. Bryant and Gregory should miss several weeks; Leary is day-to-day. (Keep in mind that Dallas is also without cornerback Orlando Scandrick this season, as he’s recovering from surgery for a torn ACL and MCL.) You might assume that losing top receiver Bryant would cripple the Cowboys, but Tony Romo seemed to complete his passes last week to Jason Witten and Lance Dunbar without a problem. Dallas will be coming into Philadelphia, where the Eagles have won ten of their last 13. The Birds will really need to put consistent pressure on Romo this Sunday – he avoided being sacked last week, and I’d like to put an end to that streak. Immediately.

If you’re like me, you’re eager to see DeMarco Murray face his former team for the first time. It’s not every day that a Cowboy sets a franchise record for rushing yards and signs with the Birds two months later for $42M/5. I feel confident that the Murray-Sproles-Mathews trio can be successful this week as long as the Eagles don’t fall behind early (it killed them in Atlanta). While Bradford performed decently well last week, that review comes with some qualifiers: decently well considering it was on the road, his first game in some time, a new offense, etc. If we can see the Sam Bradford we saw in last week’s second half (along with the improved protection), then the Cowboys’ defense (who performed pretty well against the Giants) will have a difficult time keeping up.

The Cowboys use a lot of zone defense, which I think should result in Sproles having a solid game. I think Bradford will wrap up the game with around 225 passing yards and three TDs. (I should also note that I want to see Murray handle the ball more than he did in Week 1.)

I’m predicting a close game, with Philadelphia’s offense prevailing in the end.

Eagles 35, Cowboys 31

Sam Shipley-  TBD

Chris Leomporra-  Eagles 37 – Cowboys 31

Kyle Lutz-  TBD

Joseph Anthony-  TBD

Ryan Waterman- The ‘Boys are “riding high”, coming off of an emotionally draining victory over the Giants.  However, that victory came at a steep, steep price.  Linebacker Randy Gregory, and offensive guard Ronald Leary both left the game with injuries.  But, the biggest blow came, when Dez Bryant was diagnosed with a broken foot.  Meanwhile, the Eagles are on the lowest of lows.  They opened the season on Monday, with a loss to Atlanta.  The offense played flat, the defense (mostly…) played uninspired.  Fast forward to this week, and the stage is set.  Dallas is coming in beaten up, the Eagles are coming home pissed off, and the stadium will be absolutely bonkers!   All signs point to a dominating performance by the Eagles, but we all know that everything doesn’t work out as planned. With that said, I’m going to go with my gut, and say that the Eagles will destroy the Cowboys on Sunday.

The Cowboys are limping into the Linc, down five key players (Greg Hardy, Bryant, Gregory, Orlando Scandrick, and Rolando McClain), and are emotionally drained, following the Giants game. On the flip side, the Eagles are coming back home, and they are going to be pissed.  Suffering an embarrassing loss on Monday Night Football, the Birds know that this game is a must-win, and are well-aware of the ramifications this bout holds.  With the team calling for a “Black Out” on Sunday afternoon, I’m comfortable in saying that Sunday will be a bloodbath.

Eagles 38, Cowboys 14


How many Games will the Eagles Win??

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