The storyline is set: It's the Eagles' DeMarco Murray facing his old Cowboys team. Both sides have downplayed things, though, and for good reason: At its core, Week 2 at Lincoln Financial Field is about two evenly-matched preseason contenders who have split their last four games since 2013.
A win Sunday would give the Cowboys (1-0) an early two-game division lead on the Eagles (0-1), and don't think for a second that's lost on Chip Kelly's team. Here are the gut feelings from staff writers Rob Phillips, Bryan Broaddus, David Helman and Nick Eatman.
Rob Phillips: Last season was last season, Jason Garrett reminds us. But until the Cowboys lose a road game after going 8-for-8 in the 2014 regular season, I'll keep rolling with them. It won't be easy. Aside from the challenges of supplementing the pass rush without Randy Gregory and moving the offense without Dez Bryant, the Cowboys are facing an Eagles team that's got to feel an early-season sense of urgency. Teams that start 0-2 historically have an uphill climb toward playoff contention. My gut feeling is the Cowboys take care of the ball this week – no turnovers after posting a minus-three margin in Week 1. The running backs will put on a show – Joseph Randle and DeMarco Murray will each eclipse the 100-yard mark – but in the end it'll be Tony Romo leading the Cowboys on a game-winning drive in the final seconds yet again. Cowboys 28, Eagles 27.
Bryan Broaddus: I am not really sure how the Eagles are going to play Cole Beasley in this game. If they do decide to play him with Malcolm Jenkins, that's going to make it a little more difficult on him to make plays. Jenkins in my opinion is the best secondary player that the Eagles have at this point and would be wise to put him on Beasley. My gut feeling is that with no Dez Bryant, Beasley will play a significant role in the game plan. I expect we will see plenty of option routes and screens to get the ball in his hands quickly to take advantage of his playmaking ability. Beasley ends up with 6 catches for 80 yards and one score. Cowboys win 28-24.
David Helman: We're supposed to call this our gut feeling, right? Ok, good. Because I can come up with a list of reasons why I think the Eagles can and will win this game – but, I've just kind of got this feeling in my gut that the Cowboys may well sneak out of Philadelphia with a win. It was hard to watch that Eagles-Falcons game and not come away with the thought that the Dallas defense can stymy Philly's rushing attack. And the secondary's performance against Eli Manning and Odell Beckham has to inspire some confidence that the Cowboys can contain Sam Bradford and Jordan Matthews. I think Bennie Logan and Fletcher Cox will make for some tough sledding for the ground game. But if anyone can make it work against a susceptible secondary, it's Tony Romo – even without Dez Bryant. I think it's going to be another dramatic finish, but Romo will lead the way. Gavin Escobar and Cole Beasley will step into the spotlight, and the defense will force two takeaways to help out. DeMarco Murray will rush for 78 yards and a touchdown, but I think the Cowboys win – something like 34-27.
Nick Eatman: Maybe if this was "Mind Feeling" I would pick the Eagles. But it's not. It's a Gut Feeling and something just tells me the Cowboys are going to win. I know about the injuries. I know about the fact the Eagles are going to be a desperate team. But this is a quarterback league. And I'm sorry, even before last week, I don't think you could ever get me to pick a Sam Bradford-led team to beat a Tony Romo-led team. And last week's games didn't do anything to change that. Romo is a much better quarterback and he's the reason I think Dallas will win. Also, this Cowboys defense might be really good. They were great last week and I think it continues. I think Joseph Randle rushes for more yards than any player in the game – on both sides – and look for another big game from Jason Witten. I'm predicting a touchdown by Lucky Whitehead in some capacity and I think the Cowboys and Eagles go back and forth for most of the day until Dallas puts it away with a late rushing score by Randle. Give me Dallas 31-20.