Back in September, when we wrote a long feature about Michael Vick for GQ magazine, 2011 seemed destined to be the year of Michael Vick and the Eagles. They'd signed all the hot free agents, they inked Vick to a huge contract, and they had all the momentum, to the point that free-agent backup quarterback Vince Young infamously referred to them as a "Dream Team." The statement was obviously a mistake the second he said it, and you knew, when the Eagles inevitably failed to live up to expectations, that it'd become the mocking moniker by which history would remember these Eagles. It's been a disaster down there. And now that disaster stands between the Jets and the playoffs.
The Eagles are not officially eliminated from the playoffs — we found a way to get them in right here — but no one in Philly is kidding themselves. But just because they haven't been able to get it together this season doesn't mean they're not still talented and extremely dangerous. When you looked at the Jets' schedule at the beginning of the season, "at Philadelphia in Week 15" looked like one of the toughest, if not impossible, games of the year. Now it's one the Jets are expected to waltz through, one that they desperately need.
It's not the ideal scenario. The Jets have looked more playoff-worthy the last few weeks, but none of those wins came against teams with near the talent as Philly. And the Eagles looked competent last week in a win over Miami, thanks largely to Vick, who looks pretty healthy for a guy who has broken ribs.
It's going to be another one of those games in which the Jets need to eliminate turnovers, run the ball/control the clock, and avoid giving up big plays: In other words, it's how the Jets always win, and, frankly, how every NFL team wins. Fortunately, Shonn Greene is finally looking like the back the Jets having been waiting for him to become. Still, it's a little easier against the Chiefs than it is against the Eagles. They're a very scary 5-8. The Jets can't clinch a playoff spot this week, but they can put themselves in a ideal situation for one. (Also, Jets fans should cheer for Detroit over Oakland and Indianapolis over Tennessee.) The Eagles are only spoilers now, but they're not spoilers in the way that the Colts or the Rams are spoilers. The Eagles are actually good, even if they rarely play it. Be concerned. The Jets have minefields waiting for them in Philly on Sunday.