If there is such thing as a must-win week 2, this would be it for Philadelphia. The Eagles come into this NFC East tilt after a heart-wrenching loss to the Atlanta Falcons. The secondary looked, well, like the secondary has looked for the past couple of seasons, mediocre at best. Maxwell was abused by Julio Jones in the loss. This is a concerning sign if he is your number one corner back. DeMarco Murray will be looking for a bounce back game as well as he carried the ball eight times for a grand total of nine yards. And the narrative all week has been that Murray is playing his former team. It is rare that you see a running back switch teams after winning the rushing title. In fact, it last happened back in 1947, when “Bullet” Bill Dudley went from the Steelers to the Lions after winning the 1946 rushing title. But when it is to a division rival, it only raises the stakes. The big question for Philadelphia is, who is going to show up Sunday? Will we see the hesitant Sam Bradford, who wants to get the ball out of his hands too quick? Or will we see the Sam Bradford that completed 84 percent of his passes? If I had to put money on it, we will see more of the second half Bradford than the first half Bradford. You should take my word for it, I am from the city known as “Negadelphia.”
The Cowboys come into their second straight division game with two big injuries. they will be without pass rusher Randy Gregory, who took a big fall in the draft. They will also be without Dez Bryant, who in my opinion is the best receiver in football. It is hard to dispute what he has done coming into his age 26 season. Nobody has more touchdowns than him since he came into the league in 2010. He also led the league in touchdowns with 16 a year ago, on a team that ran the ball 51 percent of the time. Although they won, the Cowboys did not look like themselves against the Giants. They had trouble getting anything going on offense until the fourth quarter, against a poor Giants defense. They also turned the ball over three times in the contest. But on the final drive, Romo showed why he is one of the ten best quarterbacks in the game today. He marched right down the field, through a weak Giants secondary, to squeak out a week 1 win with seven seconds to spare. It was a classic Giants collapse as well. Just the fact that Eli Manning told Rashad Jennings not to score, to put the game out of reach, humors me to no end. The Cowboys will come into this one motivated to show the Eagles why they are the class of the division.
Keys to the Game
The oldest adage in the book, the game is won in the trenches. Although it is the oldest, it is never wrong. A week ago Tony Romo was untouched against the Giants. In a 60 minute game I find that to be absolutely remarkable. For the Eagles, they had trouble creating a pass rush without sending extra men. And on the offensive side, Bradford took some big shots, especially in the first half. If the Eagles are gonna win, they are going to have to get to Romo. If they can’t, Romo is going to pick apart this secondary all game. Another key to the game is special teams. I am talking to you Cody Parkey. In divisional games especially, you have to be sharp in all three facets. We all know how explosive the Eagles return game can be. The biggest question is how reliable Cody Parkey can be in this one. Personally, I have no trust in him. I have all of the confidence in the world in Dan Bailey however. He is very reliable for Dallas.
On Tuesday, the Eagles opened up as a six point favorite in this game. That is huge for a rivalry game. As I like to say, there is a reason there are massive buildings in Las Vegas. These guys know what they are doing. Even though they have not beaten the Cowboys at home since 2011, I see the Eagles taking this one.