Who’s Picking the Eagles: Week 2

Who thinks the Eagles will bounce back against Dallas?

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports.

After opening the season with a loss in Atlanta, the Eagles face the Cowboys on Sunday in a high-stakes game for Week 2.

Here’s how an assortment of media think the home opener will play out.

Grantland’s Bill Barnwell chooses the Eagles in the early NFC East showdown.

The Eagles feel like a very bad matchup for the Cowboys as presently constructed. As we saw against Atlanta, the best way to stop Philly is going to be to generate a steady pass rush and force Sam Bradford into rushing his throws. The Cowboys may not have that rush, given that they lost Randy Gregory to a high-ankle sprain and won’t have Greg Hardy back for a few more weeks.

The Cowboys are also built around their dominant offensive line, but Philadelphia is one of the few front sevens deep and athletic enough to match up with Dallas’s front five. And while the obvious equalizer for the Cowboys last year was Dez Bryant and his evisceration of Bradley Fletcher, Bryant is out with a broken foot. Things will be different when the Cowboys host Philly in Week 9, but right now, the needle favors the Eagles.

Over at Sports Illustrated, Don Banks thinks the Eagles beat their division rivals, 31-25.

No Dez Bryant for a while, and DeMarco Murray now plays for the Eagles—no one in Dallas envisioned this situation the last time the Cowboys visited Philadelphia, for that big 38–27 win in Week 15 which basically won the NFC East for Jerry’s team. But that’s the reality of things in 2015, and that means advantage, Eagles.

Philly couldn’t quite close the deal on that almost-comeback-win in Atlanta on Monday night, but Chip Kelly’s team showed how quickly it can rally once Sam Bradford starts getting in a groove. Dallas will put up a decent fight, but the Eagles know winning this game will start charting their path to a division title.

NFL.com’s Elliot Harrison believes the Eagles shake off last week and beat Dez-less Dallas, 30-24.

The loss of Randy Gregory for the Cowboys means Sam Bradford should be able to stand in a cleaner pocket. Still, the Eagles can’t fall in love with the aerial attack against Dallas. Philadelphia’s 16:52 run-to-pass ratio Monday night in Atlanta was beyond atrocious and telegraphed what the offense was going to do. Even tired pass rushers are faster when they know what’s coming.

You know DeMarco Murray is going to be as motivated as, say, a league-leading rusher playing a former team that didn’t pay him and thought the offensive line was the primary reason for the running game’s success. Tony Romo delivers scores to Terrance Williams and Jason Witten, but not the W. Eagles win.

Fox Sports’ Pete Schrager believes in the Eagles, picking them to win 31-24 despite their unseemly Week 1 performance.

Well, that wasn’t how Byron Maxwell’s debut was supposed to go. The former Seahawks corner, brought in to be the No. 1 in Philadelphia, was targeted 11 times Monday night against the Falcons. Opposing receivers caught 10 balls for 178 yards. Yuck. I’m not giving up on the Eagles just yet (they’re my Super Bowl pick), but they absolutely have to win this one. I think they will.

Seven of eight CBS Sports experts have the Eagles topping the Cowboys.

Ten members of ESPN’s 13-person panel predict the Birds to beat Dallas.

Here’s how the guys over at Pro Football Talk see it:

MDS’s take: This is about as close as it gets to a must-win game in Week Two for the Eagles: Lose, and Philadelphia falls two games behind Dallas already. Unfortunately for the Cowboys, I think their offense will struggle without Dez Bryant, and their secondary will struggle with the fast-paced attack of the Eagles. Philadelphia wins this one comfortably.

MDS’s pick: Eagles 31, Cowboys 16.

Florio’s take: There’s no such thing as a must-win game in the middle of September. For any team with designs on winning a division title, however, a visit from the defending division champion really is a must-win, because losing sets the stage for being swept. With Dez Bryant out, that task becomes easier.

Florio’s pick: Eagles 27, Cowboys 24.