Cowboys Eagles – Round One
Can the Cowboys jump out to a 2-0 record against their two biggest division rivals just two games into the season? Can they win in Philly without Dez? Did they use up all their luck in just one game against the Giants? Can their defense contain old buddy DeMarco Murray? Will they be able to get a pass rush on Sam Bradford without Randy Gregory? All of these questions should be answered by 7:00pm or so (central) this Sunday as the Cowboys will either be off to an early season two-game lead on their hated rivals, or neck and neck and back with the pack.
Without question, if Dez Bryant hadn’t broken his foot in the season opener against the Giants, the first, second and third stories revolving around this game would be DeMarco Murray. While no one was able to keep Murray in check last year as he ran for over 1800 yards with the Cowboys, Eagles head man Chip Kelly did a pretty decent job on Murray in their opening game loss to Atlanta last week, where Murray rushed for only 9 yards on 8 carries and managed only 11 yards receiving yards on 4 catches (although he did make it into the end zone twice). Whether Murray will remain as a rotating cog in the Eagles three back system (with Darren Sproles and Ryan Matthews) we’ll have to wait and see. But my guess is if Kelly is going to give Murray the lion’s share of carries in any game this year, this will be the one.
On the Cowboys side their biggest concern has to be the loss of Dez. And while they didn’t need him on their final two drives in the game against the Giants, as Cole Beasley, Jason Witten, Lance Dunbar and Terrance Williams all shared the receiving wealth from Tony Romo, it may be a different situation when the Eagles know going into the game the Cowboys will be Dez-less, and can game plan accordingly. We’ll see what the brilliant mind of Cowboys’ offensive coordinator Scott Linehan can come up with, but there’s no doubt any defense will sleep better knowing they don’t have to account for Bryant come Sunday.
Rookie defensive end Randy Gregory looked fast, skilled and every bit the steal as the 60th pick in this year’s draft in his first NFL game on Sunday. But now he’s out with a high ankle sprain, expected to miss at least 4 weeks. With Greg Hardy and Rolando McClain still sitting out due to their respective suspensions, the Cowboys will be hard pressed to generate a pass rush against Sam Bradford. If he’s able to sit in the pocket and go through his progressions without interruption, it will be a long day for the Cowboys secondary, already without their best cover corner Orlando Scandrick.
ScoreBoardTX Pick: Eagles 27 Cowboys 24