Jets vs. Eagles: 5 Things We Learned from a Philadelphia 45-19 Win

Randy JobstSenior Analyst IDecember 19, 2011

Jets vs. Eagles: 5 Things We Learned from a Philadelphia 45-19 Win

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    The Eagles started hot and overcame two special teams turnovers on their way to a route of the New York Jets, 45-19. Dion Lewis fumbled away a kickoff return, and Curtis Marsh ran into the football on a short punt that he had no business being anywhere near.

    None of that seemed to matter, as the Eagles forced four turnovers, ran the ball for 160 yards and passed for 274 yards. Mark Sanchez threw two picks on the afternoon, one off the hands of his wide receiver Santonio Holmes and another off a tipped pass. Holmes also fumbled the ball away on a hit from both Kurt Coleman and Casey Matthews. He did score a touchdown in the second quarter, but put himself in poor favor with a taunting penalty after the touchdown.

    Now the Eagles will travel to Dallas to take on the Cowboys in a pivotal divisional game. After a 4-8 start following an ugly loss to the Seahawks, the Eagles are back in the division race and are starting to play the brand of football everyone expected them to play back when the season started.

1. In 2011, the Eagles Own the Ryan Brothers

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    Buddy Ryan is one of the most popular coaches in the history of the Philadelphia Eagles. This season, his sons are even more popular in Philly. The Eagles have played each brother once this season.

    The Eagles beat up on Rob Ryan, defensive coordinator of the Dallas Cowboys, back in Week 8, 34-7. This week, the Eagles beat up on the other Ryan brother, Rex Ryan, 45-19. That's a combined score of 79-26.

    In those two contests against the Ryan brothers, the Eagles have forced four turnovers, ran for 399 yards, passed for 553 yards and have scored touchdowns in seven of their red-zone trips.

    Good news for the Eagles. They get another round with Rob Ryan and his defense this Saturday in Dallas.  

2. Eagles Lines Starting to Dominate

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    The Eagles are starting to really dominate the battle in the trenches on both sides of the football. The defensive front is making a major impact against the run, the pass rush has been unstoppable lately and the offensive line is both giving Michael Vick plenty of time to throw and opening up plenty of holes for LeSean McCoy.

    Shonn Greene started off hot, racking up 33 yards on his first four carries. He was held to just 40 yards on his final 14 carries. The Jets finished with 27 carries for 94 yards. The Eagles run defense took the Jets out of their gameplan. Mark Sanchez threw it more than Rex Ryan would like him to, and the Jets converted just three of their 13 third downs.

    Jason Babin was the star of the defensive front. He racked up three sacks for the second straight game and now has 18 on the season. The Eagles had four as a team and were in Sanchez's face all day long.

    The offensive line continued to give Vick adequate protection, as the Jets failed to record a single sack against Vick.

    With the way both Eagles lines are playing right now, an 8-8 finish is definitely not out of the question.

3. The Eagles Have a Pretty Decent Shot at Winning the Division

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    Just two weeks ago, the Eagles were coming off an embarrassing loss to the Seattle Seahawks, and many experts were speculating that some Eagles players quit on their team. Fast forward two weeks later, and the Eagles have put 71 points up against two very good defenses and their defense is playing lights out.

    The Eagles are playing their way back into the NFC East. They remain two games back of the Dallas Cowboys and one game back of the New York Giants. The Eagles play the Cowboys next week, while the Giants play a very hungry New York Jets team.

    The Cowboys will face off against the Giants in Week 17 in a game that the Giants could potentially win to propel the Eagles into the playoffs. If the Eagles win out, they would own the tiebreaker over both the Giants and the Cowboys. Philly ends their season at home against the Washington Redskins.

    The Eagles still need some help, but as wacky as a season as it has been for both the Eagles and the rest of the NFC East, would it really be so crazy if the Eagles snuck into the playoffs out of the East?

4. Michael Vick Is Still a Franchise Quarterback

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    Michael Vick has had a nightmare of a season. He has been knocked out of two games, missed three others because of a rib injury and turned the ball over 16 times. In his second game back from a painful rib injury that is clearly still bothering him, Vick showed why he can still lead a very explosive Eagles offense.

    Against a very elite Jets secondary, Vick played well, completing 15 out of 22 passes for 274 yards and a touchdown while running for another. He did throw another pick, but it was on a meaningless Hail Mary pass at the end of the first half.

    Vick, like every other starting quarterback, is essential to his team's success on offense. When he does, so does the offense, but when he is on, they are unstoppable, as evidenced by the Eagles five offensive touchdowns against the once-great Jets defense.

5. LeSean McCoy Isn't Just Great; He Is Truly an Elite Back

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    It was a special day for LeSean McCoy. Not only did he run the ball for 102 yards on eight carries and score three rushing touchdowns, he also broke two Eagles records that have stood since the mid-40s.

    Steve Van Buren was one of the great running backs in the NFL during his time with the Eagles from 1944 to 1951. Now, McCoy has broken two of his Eagles records, as McCoy now has 17 rushing touchdowns and 20 total touchdowns on the season. Both records were broken by Van Buren in 1946, and both were broken on McCoy's second rushing touchdown against the Jets in the third quarter.

    No matter what insanity has gone down with the Eagles this season, McCoy has given Eagles fans something to cheer about in every single game. He has scored a touchdown 14 games this season and had the big run to put away the Giants in the only game he didn't score in.

    No doubt McCoy is at least a top-three running back in this league. There isn't one facet of the game he doesn't excel in, and he's proving it to the rest of the league. The future is bright for the Shady in just his third year out of Pitt. Expect a big contract extension once the season is over, which, thanks to McCoy, may be a little bit later than most people thought just a couple weeks ago.