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For a late season match-up between the self-declared “Dream Team” of the league and the team whose head coach guaranteed its fans a Vince Lombardi trophy, Sunday’s 4:15pm Eagles Jets’ game will showcase two of this year’s biggest disappointments in the NFL.
At 5-8, the Philadelphia Eagles come into Sunday on the verge of elimination from the NFC playoff chase. Trailing the New York Giants and the Dallas Cowboys by two games in the NFC East with three games to go, they need to win out and get some outside help in order to keep their season alive. With an ailing Michael Vick coming off anther game where he took some pretty good hits while recovering from a broken rib injury that kept him on the sidelines for three games, it’s questionable how effective he will play against a tough Jets defense that showcases a strong secondary led by cornerback, Darrelle Revis.
Expected to be a strong contender in their their division at the beginning of the season, Rex Ryan’s New York Jets find themselves outside of the AFC East battle, two games behind the Patriots with three games to play. With a small lead in the wildcard however, they still find themselves in the driver’s seat of a crowded playoff hunt. Winners of three games in a row, the Jets have been carried by an offensive resurgence that has taken advantage of three games against lesser opponents. Despite their 5-8 record, the Eagles defense will be the toughest challenge the Jets face in their last few games, giving Mark Sanchez and company a chance to prove their worth come postseason play.
The Jets’ success going down the stretch lies on Mark Sanchez’s ability to throw the ball. Coming off a season high 121.3 rating against the Kansas City Chiefs and seven touchdowns and one interception in the last three games, Sanchez needs to continue to build on that momentum with a big game that exposes the Eagles commitment to stop a Shonn Greene-led “ground and pound” rushing game. Despite the big names and contracts that make up the Eagles secondary, Sanchez will find success against the Eagles as long as his offensive line can fight off a Philadelphia pass rush that is second in the NFL in sacks.
For the Eagles to win this game and keep their season alive, they need to rely on LeSean McCoy and their rushing game. With Vick still a little beat up and Darrelle Revis looking to lock down DeSean Jackson, the Jets’ pass defense will be two much for the Eagles to score points on through the air.
In a low scoring game between two teams sharing a disappointing season, look for the Jets to pull out a win on a fourth quarter, Sanchez-led, drive down the field.