Photo: Nicole Cordero
Two weeks after crushing the Falcons in Atlanta and one week after being flattered by the score in a six-point loss to the 49ers at home, the Eagles head to Dallas for the first of two annual renewals of a rivalry that matters more to Eagles fans than it probably should.
How will this one turn out? The Philly Frenetics will tell you; Joe will go first.
Joe (2-0-0): Remember when this game was an important one? Not just in the NFC East, but like, in the NFC? In the entire NFL? Remember the Pickle Juice game we talked about a couple weeks ago? Remember Jeremiah Trotter going the distance for a pick-six? Remember Donovan McNabb scrambling for something like two and a half quarters before launching a long pass to Freddie Mitchell? Remember Jeff Garcia leading the Eagles to a season-saving win on Christmas? Remember Brian Westbrook wrecking thousands of fantasy playoff games? “Eagles at Cowboys” used to be a capital-G Game.
And now it’s Week 3 fodder, with the rematch in Philadelphia set for Week
17 18, when there’s a fairly good chance it won’t matter. Oh, how the mighty have fallen.
That said, on Monday Night in Jerry World, we’ll learn a lot about this Eagles team, unless we don’t. But I think we will. Brandon Graham is done for the season; how will the defense respond to losing its heart and soul? The shine of the quarterback’s Week 1 performance is gone as well; who is the real Jalen Hurts? Is he the guy who was beyond reproach in Atlanta, or the guy for whom any throw downfield seemed beyond his capabilities against San Francisco? It’s probably somewhere in between, and that’s how I’d describe the Dallas Cowboys: they’re not as bad as the Falcons, and they’re not as good as the 49ers. They’re somewhere in between.
I said on the season preview podcast that they would lose this game, and John and I both alluded to having a pessimistic outlook on it after Week 2. Actually, I alluded to a pessimistic outlook, while John straight up said they would lose. Despite that, I thought about how it might be a good opportunity for a bounce-back game for the offense, and how the defense might band together in Graham’s honor and make the night a miserable one for Dak Prescott.
But then I saw Nick Sirianni in a “Beat Dallas” t-shirt at his media availability and I thought, “there is no way the Eagles are winning this game.” It looks like he bought it for five bucks from a guy with a shopping cart full of them outside the Linc after Sunday’s game; maybe he even got two for eight dollars. Mike McCarthy isn’t wearing a “Beat Philly” t-shirt to a press conference, I can promise you that. Mike McCarthy looks like he couldn’t spell “Philly” if you spotted him “P-H-I-L,” but he’s not showing up in a screen-printed t-shirt that the local dive bar gives away on Quizzo night, either.
This also comes after the weird Jalen Hurts t-shirt he sported last week. Sirianni’s pandering is so obvious that it’s insulting; it’s like when Bryce Harper got to town and spent every waking second of his first year wearing Phillie Phanatic cleats and bowing to the fans and buying kids ice cream, except Bryce Harper is objectively much, much, much better at his job. Can’t wait for next week’s “#GrahamStrong” or “Patrick Is Not My Mahomes-boy” shirt. Cowboys 23, Eagles 16.
Offensive Standout: Dak Prescott
Defensive Standout: Alex Singleton
John (0-2-0): The Cowboys’ lackluster defense can turn any game into a shootout. After last week’s dud against San Francisco, it’s obvious that the Eagles will be walking into Dallas with only three rounds in the chamber. The Cowboys offense, however, has a pair of fully-loaded six-shooters that will ultimately overwhelm Philly’s offense.
This will be the biggest test yet for the Eagles defense. The unit gave Nick Sirianni ample opportunity to get his offense going in the home opener. Ultimately, they failed to steal an underdog win. We’ll see if the rookie coach and Jalen Hurts can bounce back. Ultimately, I don’t see the Eagles scoring at the volume they will need to compete with the Cowboys. They have too many targets.
As much as it pains me to say it, Tuesday morning is going to be dreadful and the Eagles have very little chance to win. I might get the score wrong, but I’ll guarantee PTSD from seeing Jerry Jones’ wry smile on Monday Night Football. Cowboys 33, Eagles 20.
Offensive Standout: CeeDee Lamb
Defensive Standout: Jayron Kearse